Pahor confers state decorations on UN membership anniversary

Ljubljana – President Borut Pahor hosted a ceremony at the Presidential Palace today to mark 30 years of Slovenia’s UN membership. He also conferred state decorations on five deserving individuals.

Diplomat Karl Bonutti received the Order for Services for his efforts to build Slovenia’s reputation in the US, Keith Miles, Slovenia’s first official representative in the UK, for setting up and strengthening Slovenia-UK relations, and the first member of the Slovenian community in Carinthia who was elected to the Austrian parliament, Karel Smolle, for strengthening Slovenia’s reputation in Austria.

Lojze Sočan, Slovenia’s first authorised representative in Brussels, was honoured for promoting Slovenia in EU institutions, and Ambassador Matjaž Šinkovec, Slovenia’s first permanent representative at NATO, for his contribution to the emerging Slovenian foreign policy.

On 5 May 1992, Slovenia was the first of the Yugoslav successor states to apply for UN membership. The application letter, sent by then President Milan Kučan to Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali, announced that the democratically elected Slovenian government was in full control of its territory and was pursuing a peaceful policy in accordance with the principles and objectives of this international organisation.

Membership was conditional on recognition by the majority of the world’s countries, and in particular by the members of the EU and the permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Slovenia planned and coordinated its efforts to achieve international recognition. An important step was the decision to appoint official representatives of Slovenia in other countries.

According to Pahor’s office, political leadership had a key role – the presidency, government, the Foreign Ministry and earlier the Secretariat for Foreign Affairs and the assembly, especially its Commission for International Relations.

Addressing today’s ceremony, Pahor said it was astonishing how quickly Slovenia had managed to carry out democratisation, declare independence, defend its territory and become internationally recognised. “One reason for this historic success is also the fact that not only have we always done the right thing but also obeyed the law,” he said, stressing the importance of being morally right and united as a nation.

As president, who is also the supreme commander of the defence forces, Pahor said regarding the competence of the Slovenian Armed Forces and the Slovenian diplomacy that being a part of the western world Slovenia boasted these two reliable instruments of security and foreign policy. “However, circumstances warn us we must strengthen them both and modernise them,” he stressed.