US ambassador to leave Slovenia next week
Ljubljana - US Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard will leave Slovenia next week when the incoming US President Joe Biden is to be inaugurated, the embassy confirmed for the STA on Monday. Blanchard, a political appointee, sent her resignation notice to outgoing President Donald Trump today.
US ambassadors who have been appointed as a form of political patronage are personal representatives of the US president in countries where they serve, so it is common that they resign upon the arrival of the new administration, the Ljubljana-based embassy said.
"Ambassador Blanchard tendered her resignation to the president today as is customary. The ambassador expects her departure will coincide with the inauguration next week," the embassy wrote in a press release.
After Blanchard's departure, deputy ambassador Susan Falatko will step in until a new ambassador is appointed. It is not yet clear when that would happen.
The embassy staff will continue with their efforts to forward joint priorities and strengthen bilateral relations, the press release reads.
Blanchard was received by a number of Slovenian senior officials for farewell visits in recent days.
Foreign Minister Anže Logar thanked her today for her efforts to strengthen relations between Slovenia and the US during the challenging Covid-19 times.
Both Logar and Blanchard said they were glad of "the extraordinary progress made in relations between the countries", the Foreign Ministry said on Twitter.
Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik also met the outgoing ambassador today, thanking her for cooperation and wishing her all the best.
President Borut Pahor visited Blanchard at the embassy on Friday, later thanking her on Twitter for her contribution to relations between Slovenia and the US.
He also said he looked forward to cooperating with Biden and his administration, adding that the strengthening of the relations was to continue.
Blanchard was also hosted by parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič last week.
She assumed office in August 2019, succeeding Ambassador Brent Hartley, who arrived in Slovenia in February 2015 and whose three-year term expired in mid-July 2018.
Blanchard, who is not a career diplomat, was appointed the same way as numerous other US ambassadors, political appointees who have financially backed one of the US parties or presidential candidates.
She has co-founded the development foundation 100X that seeks to come up with innovative solutions to help eradicate poverty and improve lives of children worldwide. Blanchard has also co-founded B&M, a real estate investment management company.