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22nd Consultations of Slovenian Diplomats, Day 1

Brdo pri Kranju, 4 January 2018 – The first day of the 22nd Consultations of Slovenian Diplomats focused on discussions on topical issues concerning international relations – the Slovenian Presidency of the UN Human Rights Council, relations with neighbouring countries and the future of the European Union, including topical internal and security issues. The regular annual Consultations are aimed at ensuring that Slovenian foreign policy activities are effective, coordinated and united. The participants were addressed by Minister Erjavec and President Borut Pahor

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The Minister underlined current challenges and uncertainties in the international community, and went on to stress the need to enhance the connectedness and unity of the EU to make it better prepared to face the pressing challenges of security, migration and social development. A strong and closely connected EU is the best guarantee for the successful development of Slovenia. Established last year, the Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence (PESCO), of which Slovenia is a part, is another important factor of increased security within the EU.

 

As to relations with neighbouring countries, Minister Erjavec underlined the excellent cooperation on the economy and care for Slovenian national communities abroad. Relations with Croatia are marked by unresolved issues, particularly its insistent refusal to recognise the arbitral award. Croatia is expected to respect the concluded agreements and judgements passed by courts and tribunals.

 

Slovenia will continue to devote special attention to the Western Balkans by investing further efforts in initiatives for the region. This is the EU's proactive approach to the dynamics of the enlargement process and to resolving outstanding bilateral issues between the countries in the region, which is essential for its stability. Slovenian foreign policy will focus on relations with the main economic and political partners within the EU, the Visegrad Group and the United States. Slovenia is also interested in regular political dialogue and in further strengthening economic cooperation with Russia and China.

 

Minister Erjavec went on to highlight the instability in the European neighbourhood, i.e. the Middle East and North Africa, which remain among the key security challenges of the international community, despite the military defeat of the Daesh terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. Due to recent developments in the Middle East, the possibility of recognising Palestine should be revisited.

 

As to positive economic trends in Slovenia, Minister Erjavec commented that the growth of Slovenian exports and increased foreign investments are also a result of economic diplomacy efforts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs therefore remains an important factor in the internationalisation of the Slovenian economy, and economic diplomacy is a mechanism which is constantly developed and upgraded.

 

Regarding Slovenia’s multilateral activities, it will continue to present and implement its initiatives. It is a respected and responsible member of the international community, which is reflected in the election of a Slovenian representative as President of the UN Human Rights Council in 2018. The Slovenian Presidency will focus on enhancing the role of the UN Human Rights Council, its effective coordination with other UN bodies, including its visibility, and on raising its profile.
Slovenia's activities in the Council will continue to focus on respect for the rights of children, women and older persons, the fight against all forms of discrimination, and on human rights obligations related to environmental protection and social rights.

 

The security situation in the international environment dictates Slovenia’s enhanced engagement in multilateral structures, with NATO as the key player in guaranteeing both Euro-Atlantic and Slovenian security.

After concluding discussions on current developments in international relations, the assembled ambassadors and other representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were addressed by President Borut Pahor, who noted the regular and friendly relations with all neighbouring countries, Slovenia’s active role and status in the core part of the European Union, Slovenia’s enhanced role and visibility as part of the western world and efforts to achieve stability and the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans as targets to be achieved by Slovenian foreign policy. He underlined that Slovenia is a successful and safe country enjoying a good reputation. Positive relations with its neighbours guarantee its further successful development and security.

 

During the afternoon session, current internal and security issues were presented by the Minister of the Interior, Vesna Györkös Žnidar, the Minister of Defence, Andreja Katič, the Secretary-General of the Government, Lilijana Kozlovič, and the State Secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister, Erik Kopač.

 

On Friday, 5 January 2018, the Consultations will focus on debates on cultural, scientific and economic diplomacy, Bled Strategic Forum, topical issues concerning multilateral affairs, the economy, finance and digitalisation. Participants will be addressed by the Prime Minister, Dr Miro Cerar.