The Slovenia Times

President Türk Wrapping Up Visit to New York


Tuerk and the secretary general discussed topical issues for the UN, including the peace process in the Middle East and the independence of Southern Sudan, as well the possible recognition of Palestine in the UN.

Touching on the Palestinian situation, Tuerk said that the time for recognition was coming, adding that it would not be good if this was done in a way that would undermine a peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel.

"The priority at this moment is additional encouragement for the peace process. There is only one forum here and that is the Quartet on the Middle East (US, UN, EU, Russia). Slovenia is not passive in this respect," Tuerk said after the meeting with Ban Ki Moonom.

As regards Slovenia's bid for a non-permanent membership on the UN Security Council in 2012-2013, Tuerk, who will hold several additional meetings with ambassadors before returning home, said that Slovenia was not seeing the bid as a regional matter, but was trying to be a UN member that considers the interests of all members.

Commenting on the argument of Azerbaijan, a rival bidder along with Hungary, that not being a EU member frees it from the bloc's joint EU foreign policy constraints, Tuerk said that while it is true that Slovenia is an EU member, it has been a UN member even longer. As such it will coordinate its positions within the EU but remain a country with its own positions.

He stressed that other countries recognise Slovenia as a responsible member that knows the workings of the UN and enjoys credibility from back when it was first held a seat on the Security Council in 1998-1999.

It for instance also has its own position on the reform of the UN Security Council and is not waiting, contrary to some other countries, for the US to adopt a position, Tuerk noted, pointing to his proposal for an expansion from 15 to 25 member states with a new rotation system.

Meanwhile, Tuerk also conferred in New York on Tuesday the Order for Merits to Trieste-born Slovenian painter, graphic artist, sculptor and illustrator Bogdan Grom.

Grom, who moved to the US in 1957 and is therefore less known in Slovenia, was honoured for his impressive body of work and for serving as an ambassador of Slovenian cultural excellence.

Tuerk said on the occasion that he had enjoyed Grom's work ever since his childhood, since he also illustrated Slovenian translations of works by Mark Twain.


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