March 28, 2018 / 12:43 PM / a year ago

Slovakia recalls Russian envoy for consultations over UK attack

FILE PHOTO: Slovakia's Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak addresses a news conference after a European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, December 13, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Slovakia will recall its ambassador to Russia for consultations over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent with a nerve agent in Britain, and may take stronger steps, Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak said on Wednesday.

The central European country has not joined 19 EU countries, the United States and Australia in expelling Russian diplomats but Lajcak did not rule out doing so later.

“The government has backed my recommendation to recall our ambassador to Russia for consultations. It’s a serious diplomatic step, we haven’t recalled an ambassador in 25 years,” Miroslav Lajcak told reporters after a regular government meeting.

“The process continues, I will meet with the head of Slovakia’s secret service today and, depending on the information, we are ready to take further steps.”

Slovakia’s President Andrej Kiska on Tuesday criticized the government for not taking tougher diplomatic steps, calling for “a principled and clear attitude in response to a request for solidarity coming from one of our important partners.”

Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said on Monday that Slovakia would not make “theatrical gestures under pressure”.

Robert Fico, who resigned as prime minister this month but remains leader of the ruling Smer party, said on Tuesday he refused to “break friendly ties with Russia just because someone else wishes so”.

Reporting By Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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