Slovakia and the United Kingdom: the first 30 years, by Pavol Demeš

Second paragraph of third chapter:

The British ambassador to Czecho-Slovakia, David Brighty, became the Ambassador to both Republics after the dissolution of the state. From Prague, he also covered Slovakia (as a non-resident ambassador) until a fully-fledged Embassy was built in Bratislava, and in 1994 he handed over the baton to the first head of the British diplomatic mission in Slovakia, Michael Bates. At first he was Chargé d’affaires before becoming Ambassador (1994 — 1995). Bates was suceeded in 1995 by Ambassador Peter Harborne, who served in Slovakia until 1998

I was in Bratislava two weeks ago (as previously noted) and met up with my old friend Pavol Demeš, who among other things was the foreign minister of Slovakia just before its break-up with the Czechs. He has now produced this commemoration of the UK-Slovakia relationship for the Slovak Foreign Policy Association, and you can download it for free here.

A lot of it is simply recapitulation of diplomatic routine – exchanges of ambassadors, state visits – but it’s good to hear the voice of genuine enthusiasm for external engagement that comes through loud and clear. The book is in parallel Slovak and English texts, with photographs in the middle, one of which features Pavol himself in his ministerial years. (He’s on the left in the group photo.)

Pavol is a keen photographer himself, but has included only a couple of his own photos. I particularly like this one, taken on the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994 on the royal yacht Britannia, of someone who was normally very much on her guard when in the public eye.

For myself, it was interesting to be reminded of the past roles of a lot of my Slovak political contacts – leaving aside the living, I knew Eduard Kukan as a Member of the European parliament and a Balkanist, but he had a distinguished career in domestic politics and diplomacy as well.

A book for specialists only, I think, but very nicely done.