- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2000

Scrapping missiles

The Slovak Republic next week will begin eliminating its Soviet-made SS-23 missiles as a sign of good will to the West, according to Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan.

Mr. Kukan, on a visit to Washington last week, told Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright of Slovakia's plans to begin the elimination of its missile stock, which numbers no more than 10, the Slovak Embassy said yesterday.

Mrs. Albright, in turn, assured Mr. Kukan of U.S. support for Slovakia's desire to join NATO.

"She said the question is not 'if' but 'when,' " the embassy said.

Mr. Kukan, in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations, said Slovakia believes the future of the trans-Atlantic alliance must be built on "Europe plus America, not Europe vs. America."

He also explained that Slovakia wants to join NATO and the European Union because they are "complementary institutions fulfilling complementary roles."

"This is the reason why we aspire to become a member in both and hate to see the undertakings where our interests are portrayed as an 'either-or option.' Joining each of them is a realization of a historic chance that has been given to all of us when the Berlin Wall came down a chance to build a new Europe, a Europe whole and free," he said.

"There is ample evidence that Slovakia can contribute and not solely consume security," he added. "It shows that it will be a reliable ally. We expect that the next NATO summit in 2002 will fulfill the pledge of its Washington predecessor and invite additional Central and Eastern European countries to join the alliance.

"We are determined to succeed, and therefore we intensify our preparation."

He also praised U.S. Steel for investing in Slovakia.

"I am pleased to tell you that the U.S. Steel has decided to discover the Slovak business potential for the United States by its decision to acquire the largest Central European steel mill," Mr. Kukan said.

"I hope that this flagship of American industry will attract others."

Holocaust heroism

Israeli Ambassador David Ivry yesterday praised acts of heroism by those who saved Jews from Nazi death camps.

"The Israeli people remember not only those who perished in the Holocaust but also the heroism that endured," he said, speaking at the Israeli Embassy on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"The events of the Holocaust were an enormous holocaust to the Jewish people in every sense of the word," he said. "We are obliged to speak about it and to remember it in order to guard against the possibility of its repetition in the future.

"We must also remember and honor those who fought for their survival, whether it was en masse, such as in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, or as a single soul anywhere else in any other capacity."

He thanked the many Europeans under Nazi occupation who hid Jews.

"We must honor those who dared to challenge the Nazis under high personal risk … when they hid Jews in their homes a risk that was taken out of a personal and social consciousness to save other people.

'Imperial psychology'

Azerbaijan's foreign minister, Vilayet Guliev, is worried about what he calls the "imperial psychology" of Russia, especially after former Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a treaty of union with Belarus last year.

Mr. Guliev, visiting Washington last week, told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the union is the "beginning of the end" of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose confederation of former Soviet republics.

He said the CIS can be "viable only if it is engaged in processes leading to economic integration," but Russian efforts to make the commonwealth a political organization will undermine the sovereignty of the independent nations.

Mr. Guliev complained that the "imperial psychology sometimes survives" after the empire collapses.

He pledged that Azerbaijan will resist any Russian overtures that would threaten the country's independence.

Azerbaijan is pursing a Western-oriented foreign policy because the country bordered by the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea stands at "the crossroads of Europe and Asia."

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