Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico met here Thursday with US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, during which the three leaders discussed Afghanistan, Syria, as well as their trade relationship, according to a White House statement.
Obama "highlighted Slovakia's contributions to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and honored the sacrifices made by Slovaks as they serve alongside American troops," and he and Biden welcomed Fico's interest in contributing to the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.
Obama went on to thank Fico for his "strong support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP negotiations, which will create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic." The TTIP is a free trade agreement with the European Union proposed earlier this year by the Obama administration. Slovakia is one of the newer members of the EU, but it lags behind most of the other countries economically.
However Biden praised the post-Communist democratic transition in the country, hailing the "strong partnership between Slovakia and the United States that is based upon a shared commitment to democratic values and principles." Biden further emphasized America's "responsibility to work to protect human rights and increase transparency around the world" and "the important contribution made by Slovakia to assist democratic development in Eastern Partnership countries and the Western Balkans." Eastern Partnership countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The initiative was launched by the EU to form tighter relationships. Biden concluded the meeting with Fico by thanking Slovakia for "efforts to diversify the natural gas supplies available to its neighbors, improving their energy security."