Pahor, Janša stress good relations with neighbours in address to diplomatic corps

Brdo pri Kranju – President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Janša highlighted Slovenia’s good relations with all of its neighbours as they hosted the annual reception for the diplomatic corps at Brdo pri Kranju on Tuesday, which was attended by some 85 diplomats accredited to Slovenia. Pahor also discussed relations with Russia and China.

Pahor stressed the need for constructive dialogue between the West and Russia, but added that together with its political and military allies, Slovenia expects Russia to refrain from threats of using force. “Dialogue and peace must prevail. Europe and the world need peace if the current issues are to be resolved for the benefit of the entire humanity.”

As for China, Pahor said Slovenia has consistently based its policy on the principle of one-China ever since gaining independence, which is also the EU’s policy. “But an economic representation of Taipei would be welcome, as is welcome in most of the other EU countries,” he said after this topic recently made headlines.

The president said Slovenia wants to have sincere relations based on mutual respect and understanding with both Russia and China, even if the two countries are not its military or political allies.

Pahor sees Slovenia’s international position as “good and favourable”. What is more, the country has never had such good relations with all of its neighbours as in recent years, which he believes is a good basis for the future.

Pahor also welcomed efforts by Slovenia and Croatia to resolve open issues, including the fisheries regime, yet under the condition that the 2017 border arbitration award is respected.

Similarly, Janša underlined that relations with neighbours have never been so good. “I’m happy that there are strong understanding and solidarity, and intensive dialogue and cooperation among us in many areas.”

He announced that the country will continue giving special attention to Central Europe as its “natural cultural-historical and geographic environment”.

Janša said the government has adopted a modernised foreign policy strategy, “which focusses on key values, principles and interests, as well as priorities, thus giving clear guidelines of action while addressing key topical challenges”.

Pointing to the 30 years of independence celebrated last year and this year’s 30th anniversary of Slovenia’s international recognition, Janša said “that since independence, we have expeditiously developed a network of bilateral, regional and multilateral relations”.

He moreover highlighted the Slovenian EU presidency’s achievements and some of the EU’s challenges. Just like Pahor, he said that a more active policy of EU enlargement is needed alongside more ambitious reform policies in Western Balkan countries, which should address their mutual disputes in a peaceful manner.

Noting the deteriorating situation in the Western Balkans, Pahor said he is very worried about Bosnia-Herzegovina, foremost because of the open aspirations to change borders. “Attempts to set state borders based on the principle of ethnicity must be understood as utterly dangerous for peace and stability in the region and Europe.”

The diplomats were also addressed by the doyen of the diplomatic corps, Apostolic Nuncio Jean-Marie Speich, who welcomed Slovenia’s efforts to encourage relations, peace and dialogue with all countries.

“In these difficult circumstances in 2021 the diplomatic corps is pleased to realise that Slovenian diplomacy has successfully responded to a number of challenges, and that it has been given a new and very interesting impetus over the past few years. It seems that Slovenian diplomacy is visible everywhere,” he said.

Some diplomats did not attend the reception due to the epidemiological situation. The Croatian and Chinese ambassadors were for instance not present.