The Slovenia Times

Seven New Ambassadors Appointed, Jelko Kacin to NATO


Most notably, the mission to NATO will be headed by Jelko Kacin, according to the edition of the Official Gazette which was released on Friday.

Kacin is a former senior member of the Liberal Democrats (LDS) who held several cabinet posts, including that of defence minister (1994-1997), and was most recently member of the European Parliament.

He is the only political appointee, the others are all career diplomats.

Andrej Benedejčič moves from the NATO mission to Vienna, where he will act as head of the permanent mission to the United Nations, OSCE and other international organisations in the Austrian capital.

Simona Leskovar has been appointed ambassador to Japan and Anita Pipan ambassador to Greece.

Leon Marc will take the top job in Prague, Janez Premože will be posted to Beijing, from where he will also cover Vietnam, while Mihael Zupančič has been posted to Bucharest.

After the latest string of appointments, there are still vacancies in Tirana, Buenos Aires, and Bucharest.

The terms of ambassadors to Podgorica, Ankara, Rome, Zagreb, Paris and New Delhi will expire by the end of August and ambassadors to Brasilia and Tel Aviv will stay on until the end of the year.

The latest appointments come amidst a tense time for Slovenia's diplomacy, which is preoccupied with the re-escalation of tensions with Croatia and allegations of improper use of funds at several embassies.

It is these allegations, revealed by a Foreign Ministry audit dating back to 2009, that have led Pahor to delay the naming of about a dozen other diplomats.

The delay also affects Zagreb, where the term of incumbent Vojko Volk expires at the end of the month.

His anointed successor, according to media reports, is Aleksander Geržina, one of the diplomats singled out in the audit report.

Geržina, former ambassador to Austria, has denied claims in the report that he collected unwarranted travel expenses by using his own car instead of the official embassy vehicle and driver.

But the Dnevnik newspaper suggested on Wednesday it is very likely the government will withdraw his nomination despite him being cleared by the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee and awaiting the formal nod from Croatia.

Pahor will now wait for the government to assess whether the findings of the audit report in any way affect its desired appointments, a decision which according to the Foreign Ministry is expected shortly.

The office of the prime minister said today that Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec would meet Prime Minister Miro Cerar to discuss the report on Friday. There were unofficial reports that Erjavec would also meet Pahor, but Pahor's office said it was awaiting the government's position.

Some reports also suggest the audit is not the only reason President Pahor does not support Geržina, the son of influential vice-president of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) Saša Geržina.

He would reportedly like to see current Ambassador to Italy Iztok Mirošič posted to Zagreb. While Mirošič was rumoured to be heading to Belgrade, public broadcaster TV Slovenija recently reported he was returning to Ljubljana.


More from Nekategorizirano