The Slovenia Times

Names of new ambassadors to Belgrade, OSCE revealed

Melita Župevc, a candidate for ambassador to OSCE.Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA

Melita Župevc, a state secretary in the prime minister's office, is tipped to become the head of Slovenia's mission to Vienna-based international organisations, while trade diplomacy chief Slobodan Šešum is to become ambassador to Serbia, according to media reports.

Unofficially, the pair were endorsed by the government on 20 March, about a month after it cleared several other ambassadorial appointments. The nomination procedure is confidential until the very last stage, when the ambassador is appointed by the president and the name is released in the Official Gazette.

The newspaper Delo was the first to report that Župevc, currently in charge of strategic communication in the prime minister's office, is to become the head of the country's mission to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Župevc, 45, who in the past worked as a journalist, a press officer to centre-left parties and late President Janez Drnovšek, and an MP, is not a career diplomat and had to face an expert vetting commission before being nominated. Some diplomats raised reservations about her, according to Delo.

Under the Foreign Affairs Act, only up to one in ten posts at the helm of diplomatic and consular missions, meaning a total of six, can be filled by political staff, with the rest required to be career diplomats.

The news portal N1 cites unofficial sources in reporting that President Nataša Pirc Musar, who makes the appointments, has allegedly been opposed to political appointees to multilateral missions, but she obviously agreed with Župevc's appointment after having a discussion with her.

The news portal also reported that the government gave the go-ahead for the appointment of Šešum, the head of the trade diplomacy directorate, to become ambassador to Serbia. He is to succeed Damjan Bergant, whose term was recently extended because his successor has not yet been appointed.

N1 said Pirc Musar picked Šešum among the two candidates put forward by the Foreign Ministry, but the PM's office had initially not been happy with her pick.

Šešum is to take his new position next year, but the question remains whether he will get Serbia's agreement at all after Slovenia failed to grant one to Serbia's candidate for ambassador to Slovenia Zoran Đorđević, allegedly due to concerns raised in Slovenian security and intelligence circles.


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