The Slovenia Times

Topical Issues to Dominate Ban's Talks with Slovenian Officials


The UN secretary general will also address the National Assembly while in Slovenia. His talks will focus among other things on the situation in the Western Balkans, the conditions in Syria and other hot spots around the world.

Talks will also revolve around other security and political issues, as well as environment- and development-related topics, according to a press release from the office of the PM, who is Ban's official host in Slovenia.

Ban visited Slovenia as secretary general for the first time in early 2008, just after the country took over the presidency of the EU as the first new member to preside the bloc.

He said in a briefing for the press from the Balkan region last week that Slovenia was the only country he will be visiting twice in his capacity as UN secretary general.

He is visiting the region at a time when both Slovenia and Croatia are celebrating 20 years since joining the UN. Janša's office said that Ban's visit will be dedicated to Slovenia's role in the UN in the past and guidelines for the future.

Slovenia's biggest achievement in the UN so far has been its membership in the Security Council (UNSC) between 1998 and 1999. Last year, the country tried to make it back into the UNSC, but lost against Azerbaijan after a series of votes.

Ban will arrive in Slovenia after a visit to China, where he has met among others with President Hu Jintao. Ahead of today's vote on a new resolution on Syria in the Security Council, he was trying to persuade China into taking firmer action against the regime of Bashar al Assad.

Ban will leave Slovenia on Friday for Croatia and later continue the trip in Montenegro. On Monday, he will arrive in Serbia, where he will meet President Tomislav Nikolić and Prime Minister Elect Ivica Dačić, as well as outgoing Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić, who will take over as chair of UNSC in September.

He will then travel to Kosovo, where he will visit among others UN-led UNMIK mission. The mission was set up in 1999 but since the country's independence declaration in 2008, most of its tasks were taken over by the EU-led EULEX mission.

The plan to visit Kosovo sent Belgrade guessing whether this will be an implicit recognition Kosovo's independence. Ban rejected the suspicions last week, saying that it was his duty to visit UNMIK and that in line with UN resolution 1244, he is meeting Kosovo representatives at UN headquarters in New York.

The UN secretary general will however meet Kosovo officials in Prishtina and representatives of international organisations.

Ban will then travel on to Macedonia, where he will be joined by Matthew Nimetz, UN's mediator in Macedonia-Greece name dispute. The last stop on his tour will be Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he will address the parliament and visit Srebrenica.

This will be the first visit of a UN secretary general to the city that witnessed a massacre of 8,000 Bosniak civilians by Serb forces in 1995 while under the protection of the UN.


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