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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04LJUBLJANA976
2004-10-25 11:26:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ljubljana
Cable title:  

SLOVENIA IN THE BIG LEAGUES NOW: DAS CONLEY HELPS

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  MARR  SI  OSCE 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L  LJUBLJANA 000976 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR: EUR/NCE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/22/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR SI OSCE
SUBJECT: SLOVENIA IN THE BIG LEAGUES NOW: DAS CONLEY HELPS
REDEFINE THE U.S.- SLOVENIA BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP


Classified By: Ambassador Thomas B. Robertson Reasons 1.5 (b), (d)

C O N F I D E N T I A L LJUBLJANA 000976

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR: EUR/NCE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/22/2014
TAGS: PREL PGOV MARR SI OSCE
SUBJECT: SLOVENIA IN THE BIG LEAGUES NOW: DAS CONLEY HELPS
REDEFINE THE U.S.- SLOVENIA BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP


Classified By: Ambassador Thomas B. Robertson Reasons 1.5 (b), (d)


1. SUMMARY: (U) The visit of DAS Heather Conley to Ljubljana
October 20-21 was well timed to take advantage of the
momentum created by the arrival of a new U.S.ambassador. Her
meetings at the MFA, MOD and with a small group of
influential private citizens have helped us to galvanize and
re-focus key parts of the Government of Slovenia (GOS) on
re-invigorating our bilateral dialogue and re-confirming the
importance of the trans-Atlantic relationship.


2. (U) From the MFA, DAS Conley and the Ambassador met with
the Number 2 person on policy, State Secretary Andrej Logar.
Vojislav Suc, Director of the Americas Department, and Marija
Adanja, Director of European Integration, hosted a small
lunch, which was followed by meetings at the MFA with Zorica
Cimpersek, Deputy Director of NATO office, Ida Mocivnik,
Director of Neighboring Countries Department, and OSCE Task
Force Director Aleksander Gerzina. At the Ministry of
Defense, DAS Conley met with State Secretary for Military
Affairs Milan Jazbec and the Director of Defense Policy, Uros
Krek (septel). On Wednesday evening, Ambassador hosted a
dinner in honor of DAS Conley's visit, which included a very
interesting cross-section of private sector and NGO leaders,
as well as the Mayor of Ljubljana. END SUMMARY.

--------------
EXPANDING BILATERAL CONTACT
--------------


3. (C) The meeting with State Secretary Logar provided an
opportunity to touch on the most important current bilateral
issues. Scheduled to last only 30 minutes, the State
Secretary allowed the meeting to run over by nearly 15

SIPDIS
minutes, which is a strong indication of the very positive
discourse between Logar and Conley. The theme of this meeting
was improving and expanding our bilateral relationship. The
last 18 months have been heavily focused on NATO and EU
accession. Now that Slovenia is at the table on both counts,
they agreed that it was time to refresh our bi
lateral agenda.
Conley proposed that both governments should now try to make
more space and time to build our bilateral relationship, and
with Slovenia holding the OSCE CiO, the opportunity for
contacts and dialogue will be greatly expanded. In addition,
the meeting covered a number of issues which were also woven
through many of the other meetings on DAS Conley's schedule:
the fact that Slovenia should be extremely proud of its
contribution in Afghanistan (especially at this historical
moment of democratic elections); the superior effort the GOS
has made to get ahead of the curve on the OSCE chairmanship;
and the importance of getting the radiation detection
monitors (portals) installed in the Port of Koper as key to
our joint efforts in the War on Terror.


4. (C) Logar was very receptive to the positive message
conveyed by DAS Conley. He practically beamed when
complimented on Slovenia's ISAF contributions, saying the GOS
really felt it was a privilege to be in Afghanistan at this
turning point in history. He agreed that we needed to
re-invigorate and broaden our bilateral relationship and that
the new Slovene Foreign Minister would want to visit
Washington as soon as feasible after assuming the OSCE CiO.
He suggested, too, that the new Slovene PM would want to
travel to Washington early in the second quarter of 2005. On
the Portals, Logar apologized for delays, saying that there
should be no further obstacles. He further explained that
the "EU is quite an animal" and that Slovenia is still
learning how to live with EU institutions. Logar expressed
some concern that the EU was becoming a federal institution
dominated by a couple large countries. Slovenes are very
sensitive to the idea that, after less than 14 years of
independence, they not lose their identity in another
federation. He mentioned that small and medium-sized members
would join forces to present alternative ideas and to act as
a counterweight to the more powerful members' agendas. Logar
was also very positive on expanding the EU by bringing in
"Croatia as soon as possible, and Turkey" without any caveat.



5. (C) Logar raised Slovenia's contributions to Iraq by
announcing that the GOS was about to (and has, see Ljubljana
967) approve a EUR 50,000 donation to the UN Protection Force
in Iraq. (NOTE: After the meeting, DCM received a call from
Americas Director Suc explaining that the GOS would not
publicize the UN Protection Force donation.) In a short
discussion on how to best handle the Slovene press, Logar
suggested taking a very positive approach, as Conley had done
with him. As he said "we've made a good many reforms, but


not in the media" (much of which is consistently
anti-American and rabidly opposes U.S. policy on Iraq).
Logar went on to explain a little of the Slovene personality.
"We are complicated and strange, but deep inside we have a
high appreciation for the U.S."


6. (U) In addition to the meeting with Logar, DAS Conley
focused Director of the Americas Department Suc on a few
other pressing bilateral issues. She raised the problems our
investors have breaking into the market, expanding their
business and getting fair treatment by the courts. In
bringing up the issues of the Portals, Suc identified himself
as the self-appointed engine behind getting this deal done.
He has taken on this mission and assures us he is on the
phone every day goading and cajoling various players to move
the process forward.

--------------
OSCE
--------------


7. (U) The entire MFA clearly sees the OSCE CiO as, by far,
its most consuming task in the next year. Every one of DAS
Conley's meetings highlighted Slovenia's great upcoming
responsibilities in the OSCE. OSCE Task Force Director
Gerzina laid out Slovenia's plan which he termed "realistic"
rather than "ambitious." In the Human Dimension, Slovenia
will focus on migration and integration, and trafficking in
human beings. On political/security issues, Slovenia wants
to do something on port and container security. We have
enlisted Gerzina in our push to see the Portals installed in
Koper, as this would truly make Koper a state-of-the-art
example within the OSCE. He emphasized that given all the
pressing issues on frozen conflicts "trying to melt," Russia,
budgets and the selection of a Secretary General, Slovenia
would "not forget the Balkans." Gerzina said the GOS
supports the US position on a special representative on
anti-Semitism. He also gave the dates for the Ljubljana
Ministerial as December 8-9, 2005. Overall, Gerzina, while
fully comprehending the enormous task ahead, said that he was
optimistic about Slovenia's year in leadership of the OSCE.

--------------
NATO
--------------


8. (SBU) In her meetings with Zorica Cimpersek on NATO and
defense issues at the MFA, DAS Conley focused on Slovenia's
contributions to ISAF and in the region. Cimpersek said that
Slovenia was glad to be in Iraq and that it would even be
increasing its presence to 40 by March 2005. However, the
GOS has not projected its contributions beyond mid 2005. In
meetings at the MOD, Conley, joined by COM in his first visit
to the MOD, focused on "expanding the bilateral
relationship," commending Slovenia for its contributions in
Afghanistan and acknowledging its strong interest in playing
a peacekeeping role in its own neighborhood of Southeastern
Europe. She urged the Slovenes to focus on "complementarity"
- not competition - as they pursue defense reforms with an
eye to contributing to both NATO and EU-led operations. She
engaged Jazbec and, on a more detailed level, Krek, in a
discussion of the challenges that face the MOD and the
Slovene Armed Forces moving forward. Conley elicited the
MOD's assessment that the "strong" Slovenian commitment to
spend two percent of GDP on defense by 2008 is "firm" and
will be supported even more strongly by the incoming
center-right government. The current DATT characterized the
briefing as one of the best bilateral exchanges on defense
issues in the last year. (septel to follow)

--
EU
--


9. (SBU) It is clear that Slovenia is going through a
somewhat tougher-than-expected period of adjustment to its EU
membership. It has to manage the psychic shift from grateful
recipient of EU largesse to full member who will, within a
few short years, likely become a net contributor. Because
Slovenia just went through a referendum on joining the EU,
the Head of EU Integration, Marija Adanja, doesn't believe
there will be a need for a referendum on either joining the
Euro or ratifying the new constitution. In the discussion on
trade and investment, Adanja explained that some Slovenes
equated foreign investment with instability, jobs would be
lost, assets removed from the country. DAS Conley pointed
out that the EU had written its own report to the contrary,
so if the GOS had trouble making the foreign direct


investment case to the public using American examples, it
certainly has authoritative European sources from which to
draw.


--------------
CROATIA AND THE REGION
--------------


10. (U) In none of the meetings was Croatia's EU membership
ever mentioned as being at risk. From the head of EU
integration, to the Director for Neighboring Countries to
State Secretary Logar, Slovenia's policy to ensure Croatia's
swift entry into the EU was reiterated. Slovenia's year as
CiO of the OSCE will also help bring more focus on Slovenia's
broader Balkan agenda with SFOR/EUFOR, KFOR and
Serbia-and-Montenegro. The GOS also views US presence in the
region as imperative and was very interested in any plans we
might have for reduction of forces.

--------------
VIEWS FROM OUTSIDE THE GOS
--------------


11. (C) The Ambassador hosted a small dinner which included
academics, heads of NGOs, the Mayor of Ljubljana and former
politicians. The dinner was a very successful forum for
drawing out usually reserved Slovenes on some particularly
sensitive issues. The press and its treatment of current
issues and its ability to print outright lies without
negative repercussions dominated the conversation. The
attitude at all levels of ownership and responsibility of the
press was summed up by one guest as "everyone is responsible
for everything, and noone is responsible for anything." The
lack of willingness to take responsibility, a lack of
openness and an aversion to risk were also identified by the
dinner guests as general attributes of Slovenes. The group
also reached a strong consensus that Slovenes really are not
as anti-American as the press would make you think.

--------------
VISITS
--------------


12. (U) In all meetings, the Ambassador and DAS Conley
proposed developing a more active and dynamic exchange
between and within the capitals. In addition to visits by
the future FM and PM toWashington, Gerzina again indicated
the desire tomeet in Washington. He is also very interested
n meetings on the Hill with the Helsinki Commissio. DAS
Conley suggested that the next time DAS Kthy Stevens is in
the region, she might stop in Ljubljana for consultations on
Western Balkan issues, which was greeted very positively.


--------------
COMMENT
--------------


13. (U) This visit by DAS Conley was timely and effective.
It served as a pivot point in our relationship with Slovenia.
Together, Conley and our interlocutors set a tone of
cooperation and common cause. The priority of expanding our
bilateral agenda was agreed upon with the GOS, and a
commitment to increased dialogue at all levels identified as
the best mechanism to do this. As Slovenia approaches its
term as CiO at the OSCE, it is figuring out the real
magnitude of its commitment, and it is also appreciating the
level of support the U.S. can offer. 2005 will be an
important year for building and strengthening our
relationship with Slovenia. If we can give it the attention
it needs now, we can count on many positive returns in the
future.
ROBERTSON


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