The Slovenia Times

Unnecessary and Inappropriate Interference


Speaking to the press after formally nominating Positive Slovenia leader Zoran Janković prime minister-designate, Türk said Thursday that "in Slovenia the people are in power", and they are represented by elected representatives, who in turn form the government.

Türk stressed that all who represent this country should be dignified in international talks and make sure that the dignity of the country is also protected. "When discussing sensitive matters, the weight of advice that was not even requested needs to be clear," Tuerk said.

The Foreign Ministry meanwhile warned the ambassador that it did not approve of his conduct.

In international relations the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries by other countries is observed; Mussomeli's statements are therefore "unnecessary and inappropriate," Foreign Minister Samuel Žbogar said.

Žbogar does not plan to take any other action beyond the statement in this regard. "I think he's enough of a diplomat to understand this," the minister told reporters while visiting parliament.

Commercial broadcaster POP TV reported on Wednesday that Mussomeli had been advocating the idea of a grand coalition of Positive Slovenia and the Democrats (SDS) and that he had met all heads of parliamentary parties over coalition talks.

The ambassador told POP TV after visit outgoing PM Borut Pahor in hospital last week that it would be nice if a coalition representing the majority, if not all Slovenians, could be formed.

But business daily Finance, quoting diplomatic sources, reported today that the US was rooting for a grand coalition of the two strongest parties but thought that neither of their leaders should become the prime minister since neither Janković nor SDS leader Janez Janša enjoy the trust of foreign politicians.

Janša had reportedly been advised to withdraw from the race over corruption allegations he faces in connection to the Patria defence deal, while Janković is unsuitable in that he lacks experience in politics and is also being reproached for dubious business dealings.

Mussomeli expressed surprise at what he said was Slovenian media seizing upon the idea that he had sought to act as mediator. Speaking to the press today, Mussomeli said he was "misunderstood".

He acknowledged that embassy representatives had met party heads or representatives since November, with the initiative coming from both sides. But he says such talks are "nothing unusual", it is what all diplomats do.

Mussomeli claims his talk of a broad coalition was misunderstood. "I think everyone from the president down agrees that to carry out the reforms it needs Slovenia ideally needs more than a slim majority in parliament...The broader the coalition, the more effective the government will be. Also this will resonate better with the Slovenian people, both left and right."

He also rejected reports he favours a third man at the helm of the government, saying that that would have been "inappropriate". "To suggest who [Slovenia's] leader should be and what the coalition should be...frankly, if I were to say something like that your government should just ask me to leave."

"We should not interfere and we have not interfered with the actual forming of the coalition," he said, but noted that the embassy had expressed America's interest. "What we want is a politically stable and economically prosperous Slovenia...The best way is by coalition that is strong and broad enough to implement the reforms."

Responding to Türk's reaction, the ambassador voiced the conviction that the president was reacting to media statements. If he was reacting to claims that the Americans had tried to mediate in coalition building, he's right. "But this is not true," he said.

Former Foreign Minister Boris Frlec also labelled Mussomeli's actions as inappropriate and inadmissible, and the head of the Slovenian Foreign Policy Association Jozef Kunic assessed the talks as unusual and detrimental to Slovenia's international reputation.

"I wonder whether the ambassador should be sent to a diplomatic practice course. Meddling in the internal affairs of a country where you are a guest as an ambassador is inappropriate and unacceptable," Frlec told the STA.


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