Brussels – Defence Minister Matej Tonin said Slovenia was interested in hosting a regional maintenance base for US-made OshKosh armoured vehicles as he held talks on Thursday with US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.
Slovenia bought three dozen OshKosh vehicles last year and Tonin noted countries in the Western Balkans were among the buyers as well.
Such vehicles require very demanding maintenance and Slovenia has the know-how and experience. A regional maintenance centre would also be a good opportunity for the Slovenian economy, he said.
Tonin said interest was mutual since it was better and cheaper for the producer to have a maintenance base close to where the vehicles are deployed. Talks are ongoing and “it is looking good,” he said.
The talks, held on the margins of a NATO ministerial, also touched on the escalation of tensions in Western Balkans, a region Tonin said should not be forgotten.
“With tensions in Ukraine, Western Balkans is somewhat in the background, but we must not forget about the situation there,” said Tonin, noting that Slovenia was interested in closer cooperation with the US in the provision of security in the region.