At the press conference, the Prime Minister of the Slovenian government, Janez Janša, emphasized that even 32 years ago, Slovenia was still a part of totalitarian Yugoslavia. “The villa where the visit took place, served the Slovenian communist elite, while some of us were locked up in prisons of the communist regime,” Janša pointed out. “Hundreds of thousands of our compatriots left Slovenia to live in Western Europe, North and South America, and Australia.” Today, Slovenia is an independent and democratic republic, which is the result of our fight for freedom, the rule of law, human rights, and democracy.

At a joint press conference, Prime Minister Janša highlighted the exceptional importance of the United States in the world. “We see the United States as the only force in the Western civilization, capable of confronting the new types of security threats,” he said, thanking the United States for its support during our fight for independence and against the communist totalitarianism; for freedom, democracy, and human rights. “Slovenia will continue to work for further close cooperation between the European Union and the United States, especially during the time of our leadership of the European Union,” he said, stressing the importance of the United States for Slovenia and Europe in general. He also announced that the government would finally start fulfilling its obligations to the USA, which has been put on hold since 2014.

The Prime Minister and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about several important topics. Among other things, they also spoke about the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, with Janša expressing solidarity with the USA, which is the world’s most severely affected country by the coronavirus. The Slovenian Prime Minister also presented the preparations that have been made for Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU, which will happen next year, to his American guest. He pointed out that dealing with crises, such as pandemics or cyber threats, was added to the list of priorities. To better prepare for confronting such threats, Pompeo signed a joint statement on the security of 5G networks in Bled on Thursday, with the Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anže Logar. This will strengthen the national security and prosperity of both countries, they agreed. Pompeo also stressed that because of this, China would be limited in its efforts to restrict freedom. “We do not want anyone to restrict freedom, which is something we see in Belarus, Lebanon, or Hong Kong. The people just want to live in freedom,” he added. The Prime Minister also pointed out that, as part of his talk with Pompeo, they assessed the current military and defence cooperation of the countries, which has been going on since 1994. “Slovenia is focused on fortifying this cooperation,” the Prime Minister Janša emphasized.

“Slovenia can be proud of the fact that it is one of the leading countries in the world, in terms of technology and science, so it is even more important that it is among the “clean 5G” countries,” Pompeo emphasized. As Slovenia has very good technological knowledge and advanced technology, both the Prime Minister and Pompeo agreed that they will work on strengthening the economic contacts and closer partnerships, as they also see many opportunities for investment. Pompeo also said that later in the day, he will meet with the representatives of several Slovenian energy companies. He pointed out that the diversification of energy sources is very important, so the USA advises Slovenia against over-dependence on Russian energy. Regarding security, Prime Minister Janša emphasized: “Slovenia appreciates the proactive American approach to energy security in Central Europe, which is mainly demonstrated through the Three Seas Initiative and the Transatlantic Energy Cooperation.” As part of these projects, the United States will allocate 1 billion dollars for the development of a sustainable and transparent digital energy infrastructure project. Pompeo also emphasized that it is very important for Slovenia to protect its citizens through the Blue Dot network.

The journalists asked Pompeo and Janša to comment on the current event in Belarus, where the disputed presidential election has sparked massive unrest. Janša proposed a repeat of the elections under the scrutiny of international observers. “I believe that the United States and the European Union are of the same opinion that we will be able to resolve the situation in Belarus, which would also mean a better outcome for the people living in Belarus,” Pompeo added.

Sara Kovač