Addressing the annual consultation of Slovenian diplomats in Brdo pri Kranju on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Miro Cerar asserted that Slovenia remained committed to multilateralism and the rule of law. President Borut Pahor said the country should strengthen its role in the world.
Both Pahor and Cerar noted that multilateralism was indirectly jeopardised and that countries were returning to traditional geopolitics.
But Pahor is confident that all problems will eventually be resolved and that Slovenia should be among the countries striving for peaceful solutions.
“A key priority for Slovenia and a large majority of other countries is a multilateralism that is efficient and based on clear rules. It is a guarantee for stability, predictability and orderly relations,” Cerar said at the start of the two-day consultation of Slovenian diplomats.
Cerar also pointed to different opportunities and challenges ahead, including the EU elections, Brexit and security threats.
“The actions of individual players have weakened the security infrastructure that was set up after the Cold War, some crucial agreements dealing with disarmament and arms control are jeopardised,” he said.
Cerar also stressed the importance of tackling security challenges in cooperation with other countries and within international organisations, most notably NATO.
Slovenia strongly believes all agreements and treaties reached should be respected and decisions by international courts fully implemented.
Respecting the principles of the rule of law in the international environment is important not only because it protects weaker countries in relation to the strong but because the rule of law is an important value of this civilisation, Cerar said.
“The EU too could fall apart if democratic values and the rule of law were not protected,” he warned.
Turning to Slovenian-Croatian relations, he repeated that the condition for the bilateral relations to improve was the implementation of the border arbitration award. Croatia should also refrain from causing incidents in the Bay of Piran, he said.
Pahor suggested the two countries should focus on what unites them and deal with problems in a wise and prudent way. Problems should not be put in the forefront unless that is urgently needed for things to be cleared up, he said.
In the light of recent attempts from abroad to influence Slovenian media and controversial statements by some foreign politicians, Cerar said Slovenia “rejects attempts to interfere with the freedom of our media, revision of historical facts and inciting of intolerance.”
Cerar called for the strengthening of relations with partner countries, and pointed to the strengthening of relations with the US. He added that the country would also maintain dialogue with other countries, including Russia.
Regarding the Western Balkans, he said the countries from the region needed positive and realistic prospects for joining the EU based on their achievements.
Pahor stressed the importance of Slovenia’s efforts for the integration of Western Balkan countries, including through the Brdo-Brijuni Process. He said the EU’s enlargement in the region should be considered a geopolitical issue.
Turning to economic diplomacy, Cerar said Slovenia should continue to focus on innovation and new technologies. Business cooperation with Africa and Latin America should be boosted, he added.
The minister also sees many opportunities to enhance business ties within the existing initiatives such as the Bled Strategic Forum and the Three Sees Initiative.
Tomorrow, the diplomats will be addressed by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and parliamentary Speaker Dejan Židan.
According to the Foreign Ministry’s data, Slovenia has 55 diplomatic representation offices and consulates around the world, including 40 embassies, seven permanent representation offices, and five consulates general.
Source: Helen Swindalls/MZZRS/STA