Slovak PM Fico No Longer in Immediate Danger but Condition Serious, Deputy Says

Slovak Defense Minister Robert Kalinak addresses a press conference in front of the F D Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia on May 19, 2024. (Photo by FERENC ISZA / AFP)
Slovak Defense Minister Robert Kalinak addresses a press conference in front of the F D Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia on May 19, 2024. (Photo by FERENC ISZA / AFP)
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Slovak PM Fico No Longer in Immediate Danger but Condition Serious, Deputy Says

Slovak Defense Minister Robert Kalinak addresses a press conference in front of the F D Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia on May 19, 2024. (Photo by FERENC ISZA / AFP)
Slovak Defense Minister Robert Kalinak addresses a press conference in front of the F D Roosevelt University Hospital in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia on May 19, 2024. (Photo by FERENC ISZA / AFP)

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is no longer in immediate danger but still in a serious condition, his deputy said on Sunday, four days after an assassination attempt that sent shockwaves through Europe.
"We are all a little calmer," Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak told a news conference outside the hospital where Fico is being treated in the central Slovak town of Banska Bystrica.
The prime minister, 59, was hit by four bullets on Wednesday in an attack that raised alarm over the polarized state of politics in the central European country of 5.4 million people.
Kalinak told journalists that Fico's condition was still too serious to consider transferring him to a hospital in the capital. But the worst fears had passed for now, Reuters reported.
"When we were saying that we want to get closer to a positive prognosis, then I believe that we are a step closer to that," he added. "The prime minister has stepped away from his life being in danger, but his condition remains serious and requires intensive care."
The shooting was the first major assassination attempt on a European political leader for more than 20 years, and has drawn international condemnation. Political analysts and lawmakers say it has exposed an increasingly febrile and polarized political climate both in Slovakia and across Europe.
The Slovak Specialized Criminal Court ruled on Saturday that the suspect, identified by prosecutors as Juraj C., would remain in custody after being charged with attempted murder.
Local news media say the suspect is a 71-year-old former security guard at a shopping mall and the author of three collections of poetry.



US Will Raise Pressure on Iran If It Does Not Cooperate with UN Watchdog

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller (AP)
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller (AP)
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US Will Raise Pressure on Iran If It Does Not Cooperate with UN Watchdog

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller (AP)
State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller (AP)

The US State Department said Washington will continue to increase pressure on Iran if it does not cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog.
In return, an Iranian official said his country will not bow to pressure.
“The report issued by the IAEA makes clear that Iran aims to continue expanding its nuclear program in ways that have no credible peaceful purpose,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said. “If Iran implements these plans, we will respond accordingly.”
Shamkhani Responds
Responding to the US position, Ali Shamkhani, the advisor of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote on the social platform X that Tehran remains committed to nuclear safeguards though it “won’t bow to pressure.”
He added, “The US and some Western countries would dismantle Iran’s nuclear industry if they could.”
Iran is threatening to take action following a vote earlier this month at the IAEA’s Board of Governors that censured it for failing to cooperate fully with the agency.
Last week, the IAEA informed its member states in a confidential report that Iran has activated additional high-performance centrifuges to enrich uranium.
Hours later, the US threatened to respond to Iran if it further accelerates its uranium enrichment.
Less-Than-Expected Escalation
Reuters quoted diplomats as saying Iran is responding to last week's UN nuclear watchdog board resolution against it by expanding its uranium-enrichment capacity at two underground sites, but the escalation is not as big as many had feared.
According to the IAEA report, around 350 of the new machines were already installed in an underground facility in Fordow, 32 kilometers northeast of the Iranian city of Qom. Another 350 units are in the works, the agency said.
On June 5, the IAEA passed a resolution calling for Tehran to cooperate with its inspectors after years of stalling in order to clarify unanswered questions about suspected secret nuclear activities in the past.
Germany, France and Britain have indirectly threatened to call in the UN Security Council if Iran failed to provide answers.
In turn, Iran's government threatened to meet the resolution with a “proportionate, effective and immediate response.”