The Slovenia Times

New ambassadors picked for some key posts

The headquarters of the Slovenian Foreign Ministry. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

More than a dozen Slovenian diplomatic and consular missions worldwide will get new heads this year and according to media reports the first of them have already been endorsed, including a new ambassador to China.

The process of diplomatic nomination involves several stages and is confidential until the president makes the appointment and the name of the ambassador or consul is released in the Official Gazette.

The Foreign Ministry puts forward the candidate and the government forms the nomination proposal in consultation with the country's president, after which the nominee is presented before the parliament's Foreign Policy Committee for endorsement.

The host country's agreement is then sought, and when it has been obtained, the government formally sends the nomination to the president, who makes the appointment, or alternatively declines to do that.

The Foreign Ministry published a call for applications for 15 posts at Slovenian diplomatic missions in December, which is the number expected to see replacements this year.

According to unofficial information obtained by the news portal N1, the government endorsed the first batch of new ambassadors earlier this month.

Boštjan Malovrh, head of mission to the UN in New York, is tipped to become Slovenia's new ambassador to China. The portal comments that the appointment could soon end the rivalry in New York between Malovrh as head of mission, appointed under the previous government, and Samuel Žbogar, whom the incumbent government appointed head of Slovenia's UN Security Council membership in 2024-2025.

The diplomats proposed for appointment include some of Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon's closest aides, including Sanja Štiglic, a career diplomat currently serving as a state secretary at the Foreign Ministry, who is to become ambassador to the UK.

Štiglic was appointed state secretary in September 2023 to replace Žbogar. In the past she had served as Slovenia's permanent representative to the UN and as ambassador to the Netherlands.

The Foreign Ministry's secretary general Renata Cvelbar Bek, who served as ambassador in Madrid several years ago, is now tipped to go to Paris.

Fajon's chief of staff Aleš Balut is to be posted to Prague in what will be his first ambassadorial job. While there were some doubts about his meeting the criteria for the job, the ministry told N1 that he meets all the criteria, having worked at the embassy in Sarajevo for several years.

Career diplomat Tadej Rupel, Health Minister Valentina Prevolnik Rupel's husband, will be become ambassador to Spain after he served as ambassador to the UK in 2014-2020.

N1 reported that Minister Prevolnik Rupel had excluded herself from the vote on his endorsement at the government session.

The news portal also said that she had not yet responded to its query as to whether she would quit her ministerial job to join her husband abroad.

Other Slovenian embassies which are expected to get new heads in 2024 are those in Addis Ababa, Buenos Aires, Algiers, Belgrade and Tel Aviv.

Slovenia is also due to appoint new consuls in Cleveland, Klagenfurt, Manila and Shanghai. Another diplomatic mission that will likely see change is Slovenia's office in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, the ministry said in December.

Altogether, Slovenia has a network of 46 embassies worldwide, permanent representations to seven international organisations, and nine consulates led by career consuls.


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