Slovenia - Foreign Relations
In regular public statements, Slovenia's highest politicians underscore their government's commitment to expanding cooperative arrangements with neighbors and active contributions to international efforts aimed at bringing stability to southeast Europe. Resource limitations are a concern for the government, which does not wish to see itself spread too thin. Nonetheless, the Slovenes are taking concrete steps toward a more outward looking and constructive role in regional and international security arrangements, as resources allow.
One of Slovenia's primary foreign policy goals is the stabilization and economic and political development of the southeastern Europe (SEE) region. Slovenia actively contributes to the political development of the region through participation in various Stability Pact projects, within EUFOR in Bosnia, and within UNMIK in Kosovo. Through the "Together" Regional Center for Psychosocial Well-being of Children, Slovenia supports rehabilitation of victims of violence in the region. Slovenia has also taken a leading role in demining projects, creating the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF), which has achieved considerable success. The ITF has established partnership relations with competent bodies in SEE countries as well as with other international structures involved in demining, particularly UN structures.
From 1998 to 2000, Slovenia occupied a non-permanent seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council and in that capacity distinguished itself with a constructive, creative, and consensus-oriented activism; the country is lobbying for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2012-13.
Slovenia has been a member of the UN since May 1992 and of the Council of Europe since May 1993. It signed an association agreement with the EU in 1996 and became a full EU member state on May 1, 2004. The country officially became a member of NATO on March 29, 2004. It is a member of all major international financial institutions--the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development--as well as 40 other international organizations, including the WTO.
Slovenia served as Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2005, served as the Chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors for 2006-2007, held the presidency of the European Union from January to June 2008, and chaired the Council of Europe (CoE) for the latter half of 2009. In 2011, Ljubljana will become the headquarters for the European Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER).
Slovenia is engaged with 29 countries in bilateral military exchange--most actively with the U.S.--and in regional cooperative arrangements in central and southeast Europe; it is an active participant in Southeast European Defense Ministerial (SEDM) activities. The country participates in or intends to contribute forces for five major multinational regional peacekeeping bodies. The Slovenian Armed Forces has around 475 troops deployed to support the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, EU Mission Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR), and other multilateral operations.
Slovenia takes an active role in humanitarian assistance, with donations to the victims of the Haiti earthquake, the Southeast Asian tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina, as well as ongoing assistance to refugees in Darfur and support for the World Food Program.
Through its International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF), Slovenia has created the demining instrument of choice for the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the rest of the Balkans, and now even further afield in Central Asia and Cyprus. The organization has raised over $261 million since its inception in 1998 (with the United States contributing over $128 million).
Slovenia participates in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials worldwide. It is party to the Wassenaar arrangement controlling exports of weapons and sensitive technology to countries of concern and has ratified all 13 international anti-terrorism conventions.
Slovenia's bilateral relations with its neighbors are generally harmonious and cooperative. However, unlike the other successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia did not normalize relations with Serbia and Montenegro until after the passing from power of Slobodan Milosevic (although the Slovenes did open a representative office in Podgorica to work with Montenegrin President Djukanovic's government).
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) forms a major focal point for Slovenia's overall foreign policy, and Ljubljana has indicated that Slovenia WAs seeking closer coordination with the United States on all issues affecting that country and the region as a whole. Slovenia is actively seeking a more prominent leadership role in the Western Balkans. In a speech delivered on 07 January 2017, Foreign Minister Zbogar outlined the role of Slovenian diplomacy in the Western Balkans. Zbogar assessed that Slovenia enjoys excellent relations with countries in the region based on mutual trust and equal partnership. The FM noted Ljubljana's policy is to apply a consistent and impartial approach to all countries in the Western Balkans, and in particular, to places where there may be fundamental disagreements such as Serbia and Kosovo. According to Zbogar, Slovenia seeks to create an environment conducive to supporting its own national interests while allowing for in-depth cooperation in areas of mutual interest for all the former Yugoslav states.
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