By Metod Berlec
If at the beginning of Slovenia’s first presidency of the European Union in January 2008 we were faced with a so-called Washington dispatch, then this time, before the second presidency of Slovenia in the EU, we are faced with a co-called non-paper used by the Slovenian left to slander Slovenia abroad.
Let’s recall. On January 25th, 2008, the newspaper Dnevnik published an article entitled “Fried: Slovenia should be the first to recognise Kosovo”, with the content of a diplomatic dispatch regarding talks between Slovenian and US diplomats, known to the public as the Washington dispatch. Specifically, the dispatch contained a report on the pre-Christmas consultations of Slovenian diplomat Mitja Drobnič in Washington, on US positions on Russia, Kosovo UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Mun; the main point was that Slovenia should be the first to recognise the independence of the Republic of Kosovo. The dispatch was published in parallel by Belgrade’s Politika and Ljubljana’s Dnevnik. Thus, angry Serbs in Belgrade destroyed the Slovene embassy, and the dominant Slovene media used this to prove that the Slovene government under the leadership of Janez Janša was blindly obeying the Americans.
The signatory of the dispatch, Ambassador Samuel Žbogar, and the author of the text, Mitja Drobnič (then political director of the Foreign Ministry), did not ensure the proper secrecy of the dispatch, which came to the media with the intention of harming Slovenia before the EU presidency. Or, as the then Foreign Minister, Dr Dimitrij Rupel in a column for Nova24TV.si recalled that both were rewarded with excellent European jobs for their negligence or “vigilance”, “and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the writer of these lines had to pay a fine of one month’s salary to a former journalist and information commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar, because we wanted to find out who caused the diplomatic accident”. Well, there was a suspicion that the dispatch was sent to Dnevnik or to Igor Mekina, Meta Roglič and Svetlana Vasović Mekina, who wrote for Belgrade’s Politika, by Ambassador Marjan Šetinc, who was also a member of the Liberal Academy and a member of the Slovenian diplomats’ union. He, however, vehemently denied this.
Last Monday, a new diplomatic affair was launched by the Sarajevo portal politicki.ba, which reported that Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša had allegedly sent a non-paper (non-document) to the European Union, in which he stated that the topic of Slovenia’s presidency of the EU Council is “the completion of the disintegration of Yugoslavia”. This informal document supposedly talks about the change of borders in the Western Balkans, among other things about the secession of the Republika Srpska from BiH, as well as the changes of the borders of Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Albania. According to the portal, Janša handed over the said non-paper to the President of the European Council Charles Michel at the end of February or the beginning of March. Several sources in Ljubljana and Brussels confirmed to politicki.ba that in Michel’s office replied to Janša that they had taken note of the document.
On the same day, Janša denied the existence of non-paper on Twitter. He wrote that he last met Michel last year and that it would be difficult to give him anything physically in February or March this year, as the “obscure web” writes. He pointed out that Slovenia “is seriously looking for solutions for the development of the region and the EU perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans, and with such records this goal is trying to be prevented”. Moreover, the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the only non-paper that Slovenia had acceded to regarding the Western Balkans was the Croatian non-paper from the end of last year. On the same day, Slovenian Ambassador Zorica Bukinac met in Sarajevo with adviser to BiH Presidency member Željko Komšić on reports of the alleged document, stressing that Slovenia’s policy towards BiH had not changed and that Slovenia supported the country’s EU accession. The existence of the so-called Slovenian non-paper was then also denied in the office of the President of the European Council. Well, on Thursday morning, however, the so-called non-paper (written in English) was published by the Slovenian left wing portal necenzurirano.si. And when the document was published on the Nova24TV portal, necunurirano.si threatened them that they have to withdraw it immediately, thus indirectly admitting that they were obviously the authors of the document they tried to portray as a government document.
The hysteria of the Slovenian left
The writing of Sarajevo portal linked to Bosniak government circles, and publishing the so-called non-paper on the selected portal of the Slovene deep state has driven the Slovene left wing opposition and the central Slovene media into a real delirium. Despite the denials of those affected, they tried in every way to discredit the Slovenian government led by Janez Janša, saying that Janša is leading a completely unreasonable foreign policy, is defending the ethnic division of BiH and is practically causing a new war in the Balkans. The SD party, led by Tanja Fajon, immediately demanded the convening of several committees of the National Assembly. Thus, on Friday, the two committees for EU affairs and foreign policy (OZP) will discuss the implementation of the guidelines for Slovenia’s activities towards the Western Balkans. In the Sarajevo media, Tanja Fajon, the infamous Drago Kos and even the last head of the ZKS Central Committee, Milan Kučan, expressed their indignation over this alleged non-paper of Janša.
Investigative journalist Bojan Požar, together with experts on political events, assessed this as a “win-win” situation. “Certain Sarajevo structures get their political story, and the Slovenian opposition gets a new affair against Janez Janša.” He emphasised that this is a matter of terrible immorality, “that the historical and even tragic problems of another country, in this case Bosnia and Herzegovina, are being exploited for political reckoning within Slovenia”. He also estimated that the probable forgery of such non-paper can appear only on Necenzurirano, a portal with a non-transparent ownership structure, unclear sources of funding, known for publishing commissioned and delivered texts, and controlled by the political and media underworld of transitional left, otherwise established directly due to the political conflict with the Janša government. Undoubtedly, Reporter journalist Nenad Glücks is also right, he wrote that the story was obviously fabricated for the needs of Bosniaks in BiH, political circles against the current Slovenian government in Brussels, opposition politicians in Ljubljana and journalists who act in unison with these circles. The point is that Bosniak politicians do not want the changes in BiH to go in the direction of giving Croats a more equal status within the Bosnian federation or even their own entity, or that Bosniaks could no longer elect a Croat representative to the BiH presidency, who would work in their interest and not in the interest of the Croats, as Željko Komšić does today.
Denial of Pahor and Janša
Borut Pahor had a special press conference on Friday because of this, as the media accused him of being a kind of non-paper carrier. In March this year, during the last visit of the BiH presidency, he told the members of the presidency that there are certain circles in the EU which believe that the process of disintegration of Yugoslavia should be completed and only then would the countries be accepted into the EU. In doing so, he supposedly asked them if they could disperse peacefully in BiH. Of course, the Bosniak and allegedly Croat members of the presidency, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić, were strongly opposed to this. The Serbian member of the presidency, Milorad Dodik, reiterated that the Republika Srpska should go its own way and join the Republic of Serbia. Pahor said that he was not aware of the non-paper on the Western Balkans at the time and that he was strongly opposed to changing the borders in the region, because he believes that this could not be achieved peacefully. On the same day, Slovenian Prime Minister Janša spoke with Bosniak member of the BiH presidency Šefik Džaferović and assured him that there was no non-paper containing changes to the borders or undermining BiH’s territorial integrity that could be linked to the Slovenian government. The BiH presidency wrote on its website that Janša said that Slovenia supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH, as well as its Euro-Atlantic path in full compliance with the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Slovenian Prime Minister’s Office said that they had discussed “preparations for the informal EU summit on the Western Balkans during the Slovenian EU presidency”.