Baird Visits Slovakia, Promotes International Response to Ukraine Crisis

April 23, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird paid his first official visit to Slovakia today as part of a week-long visit to Eastern and Central Europe, where he is meeting with key allies to promote a common international response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

“Canada and its key allies have made our position clear—Russia can expect to face further economic and political isolation if its words are not turned into positive actions,” said Baird. “Russia must now follow through on its Geneva commitments to de-escalate the crisis, call off its provocateurs and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

During his visit, Baird met with Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, where he encouraged Slovakia’s efforts to help stabilize Ukraine’s energy security and underscored the importance of a close Canada-European Union dialogue on energy issues. Baird also recognized the work of the Visegrád Group, of which Slovakia is a member, noting that the group’s expressed solidarity with Ukraine would help bring added stability, given Russia’s current aggressive posturing.

“Canada and Slovakia share a desire for a strong and prosperous Europe, free from aggressive actors who wish to redraw its borders,” said Baird. “We will continue to stand squarely with our allies in support of free, independent and democratic nations.”

This is the Minister’s fourth visit to the region in recent months since the start of the crisis in Ukraine. Canada continues to be at the forefront of the international community’s response to Russian aggression while helping Ukraine stabilize its economy, consolidate its democracy and support civic engagement.

Baird will next visit Poland followed by Latvia and Estonia.

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