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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar: To harm Slovenia, to harm BiH, to harm both or to shoot all over the place because maybe someone will fall?

By: Sara Bertoncelj

At a session of the National Assembly’s Foreign Policy Committee today, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anže Logar assured that Slovenia’s strategy towards the Western Balkans has not changed. In addition, he pointed out that what has now happened in the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Slovenia is not the best way for BiH representatives on their way to the European Union. Logar rejected all insinuations, and urged opposition MPs not to abuse interstate relations for some political agenda that harms both countries and does not benefit them in any way. Logar expects them not to tarnish relations between the two countries through parliamentary diplomacy, but to strengthen them.

Foreign Minister Anže Logar emphasised that the country’s strategic foreign policy documents had not changed and that the government is implementing a valid strategy, and that any changes would be coordinated with the National Assembly. “I do not recall any discussion of a changed strategy towards the Western Balkans at any time during my term here in the National Assembly,” he said. Yesterday, Matjaž Nemec announced that the SD parliamentary group demanded the convening of an emergency meeting of the Foreign Policy Committee, at which President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Janez Janša would have the opportunity to answer questions that arose in public regarding different interpretations of their positions on borders in the Western Balkans.

The decision to convene the session was made after Bosnian media reported on Monday that Prime Minister Janša, as one of the topics of the Slovenian EU presidency, in a so-called non-paper EU mentioned the change of borders in the Western Balkans or “completion of the disintegration of Yugoslavia”. Logar asked the opposition MPs what their interest was in the debate on the Western Balkans, which erupted in recent days after the publication of information about the alleged document of Janša, and the content of the talks of President Pahor in BiH. “To harm Slovenia, to harm BiH, to harm both or to shoot all over the place because maybe someone will fall?” he wondered.

The opposition is settling accounts with the President and the government

Minister Logar also wondered why the information on the content of the talks between the President of the Republic came to light forty days after his visit to Sarajevo. “It is extremely unusual for informal communication between the top representatives of the two countries to appear in the media,” he said, explaining that if someone released information that was given in a closed circle between representatives of the two countries, the diplomatic code would be violated. The invitation of the Slovenian ambassadress to Sarajevo for an interview due to an article published in the BiH media was described by the Foreign Minister as a “diplomatic faux pas”. “If anyone – given the events and the explanations by the President of the Republic – the Bosnian ambassador should be called to the defence,” said Logar, who also accused the opposition of settling accounts with the President and the government regarding relations with BiH.

We are one of the closest allies of the Western Balkan countries

When asked by SD MP Nemec about the so-called non-paper, Logar showed the MPs an unofficial document on BiH, which was discussed by EU foreign ministers at a session in Brussels in March. This non-paper was prepared by Croatia and co-signed by five other countries – Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, and Cyprus. In it, they called for BiH to gain the status of a candidate for EU membership as soon as it meets all the conditions for that, Logar explained. STA writes that according to Logar, Bosnia and Herzegovina is implementing the necessary reforms too slowly. “We are one of the closest allies of the Western Balkan countries, we have even included an informal summit on the Western Balkans in the programme of the presidency of the Council of the EU, so that this discussion takes place at the highest level,” the minister also added.

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