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2005-03-22 11:06:00
Embassy Ljubljana
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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 000187 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/21/2015


Classified By: Ambassador Thomas B. Robertson for reasons 1.4 (b,d)




E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/21/2015


Classified By: Ambassador Thomas B. Robertson for reasons 1.4 (b,d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. At lunch 21 March with President Drnovsek,
COM discussed Embassy security, got Drnvosek's positive
assessment of the first 100 days of the Jansa government, and
heard that PM Jansa and Drnovsek are meeting weekly.
Drnovsek encouraged more U.S. work on global environmental
protection, said he felt Jansa would pay a political price if
he chooses to send Slovenes into Iraq, reflected on the deep
post-WWII divisions that still plague older generations of
Slovenes, and joined in expressing disappointment in the
quality of the Slovene media. Drnovsek made several negative
remarks about former PM and protege Rop and former President
Kucan. Drnovsek expects to meet Croatian President Mesic "at
the border" on 24 March. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) COM and DCM lunched at Brdo Castle 21 March with
Slovene President Janez Drnovsek and the Secretary General of
his Cabinet, Matjaz Nahtigal. This was the Ambassador's
first extended private meeting with Drnovsek since his
credentials presentation in September 2004. Drnovsek looked
healthy, and engaged in a very wide ranging discussion that
touched a number of global foreign policy issues as well as
our bilateral relationship with Slovenia, the Slovene media,
post-WWII reconciliation, and the new Jansa government.
Drnovsek sprinkled his comments with negative references to
former President Milan Kucan and former Prime Minister Tone

Embassy Security and the Portals

3. (C) Right off the top, responding to Drnovsek's question
about his impressions from his first six months in Slovenia,
COM made mention, among the many positive impressions he has,
of the difficulty in this small capital to get closure on
some bilateral issues. Specifically he mentioned to Drnovsek
the ongoing issue of the security of our chancery and our
long-standing request to close the small side street next to
it. Drnovsek acknowledged the dangers of terrorism,
especially in places like Slovenia which are soft targets and
said he recognized the difficulties in getting Slovenians to
take the threat seriously. COM also mentioned our current
frustrations in trying to work out an imp
lementing agreement
between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Slovene
Ministry of Finance in order to install radiation detection
portals on Slovene borders. The latest "catch" in this
effort is resistance on the part of the EC to accept language
agreed to by Slovenia and the U.S. While we didn't expect
Drnovsek to have specific answers to these issues, Nahtigal
wrote down the concerns and -- we assume -- will relay the
fact that they were mentioned to the Prime Minister's office
and the MFA.

The Jansa Government

4. (C) Drnovsek believes PM Janez Jansa is doing a "good"
job and that the first 100 days of the new administration
went well. He seems pleased with the level of cooperation he
and Jansa enjoy. Drnovsek said he and Jansa meet once a week
and that it is a "paradox" that they have closer cooperation
than Drnovsek enjoyed with his (hand-picked) successor and
now LDS opposition leader, Tone Rop. Drnovsek still bears
scars from his difficult handover to Rop, calling him "not a
patient man." (The taciturn Drnovsek is a model of
patience.) He criticized Rop for being too weak so far in
opposition saying that Jansa was much tougher in the role
(note: when Drnovsek was PM!) than LDS has been to this
point. (In fairness to the opposition, a 100-day "honeymoon
period" traditionally given for a new Government to get
itself together with limited media and political criticism
has just ended.) When asked by the COM about a possible
future SDS/LDS "grand" coalition, Drnovsek did not discount
this scenario but also stressed that such a option would have
been much more likely if he had not given up the PM's job and
stepped down from the LDS leadership. "A grand coalition
would be impossible with Rop." Drnovsek, who is an economist
by training, expressed some reservations about the way the
new center-right government is handling the economy. On the
subject of privatization, one of the Jansa's government big
objectives, Drnovsek said it was a "big challenge," but he
hoped for "gradual" changes that "make sense in the market."

Societal Divisions from WWII

5. (C) COM asked Drnovsek about his thoughts on the
sensitive subject of the societal divisions he still senses
between the survivors of the old partisans and "domobranci"
(home guard) of WWII. Drnovsek agreed that these divisions
remain and suggested they are actually even deeper than they
might appear. For the older generation, they are, in
Drnovsek's view, too sensitive to touch or resolve. He sees
no leaders in that generation willing to take the lead on the
discussion, admit excesses, seek forgiveness, or reach
reconciliation. "(Former President Milan) Kucan could have
done something, but he didn't." Drnovsek cited a specific
case of a prominent family in which brothers still don't
speak due to WWII differences. It is hard to expect societal
reconciliation if families still can't reconcile, Drnovsek


6. (C) Every decent lunch in Slovenia includes two things:
good domestic wine and conversation about the shortcomings of
the Slovene media. After the Ambassador described his
concern that the Slovene media (all major dailies are
center-left) were "unbalanced," Drnovsek agreed and
confirmed his own problems with media in the country. He
noted the irony that in the 1980s Slovenia's journalists
wrote against the non-aligned policies of the former
Yugoslavia and were largely pro-West and pro-NATO. Now, many
of these same personalities have swung 180 degrees back to a
"Yugo-nostalgia." On a more positive note, Drnovsek thinks
that the departure of Kucan from the political scene has
probably helped the media situation since Kucan was often
thought to be meddling and exerting pressure on the media.
Drnovsek wryly smiled and noted that he doesn't do that. He
added that the Russians also complain a lot about the
Slovenia's press "tough" stance on Russian policies.


7. (C) COM asked Drnovsek his views on Jansa's slight
movements forward in Iraq policy over the past few months,
noting also the strong backlash in the media. Drnovsek
indicated that public opinion and the media remain very
opposed to sending Slovenes into Iraq. But he said frankly
that if he had been PM two years ago at the time of the war,
Slovenia would have been part of the coalition. Ex-PM Rop
was unwilling to take this risk. Now, Slovenia is probably
less inclined to go, since it sees the Italians and others
looking for ways to withdraw. Jansa could send troops if he
wanted, but the opposition and media would make him pay a big
political price. Drnovsek said it would be easier if troops
could go and help train outside of Iraq, or if they were part
of a larger NATO operation. Besides, in terms of U.S. policy
towards Iraq, "our input doesn't matter" to the U.S., he


8. (C) Climate change and the environment were clearly on
Drnovsek's mind as well. He made strong points on the
subject and related a story about riding with President Bush
from the airport to Brdo for the Bush/Putin summit in June

2001. During the ride, Drnovsek says he told the President
that the U.S. needed to position itself better on Kyoto and
climate change, in general. According to Drnovsek, the
President listened and agreed. The environment is a very
important issue in Slovenia and the U.S. must do a better job
selling its positions. Drnovsek said if he had more
information about our efforts, he could use it in his public
presentations as well. (NOTE: Nahtigal now has from us our
latest climate change points and we intend to make them a key
part of a speech COM will give 6 April on U.S. foreign
policy. END NOTE.)

Commission on Corruption

9. (C) COM attended a dip corps briefing earlier on 21
March given by Drago Kos, Chairman of the independent
Commission on the Prevention of Corruption (and who is said
to have differences with PM Jansa). Since Kos has worked

closely with the Embassy and the U.S. Office of Government
Ethics, Ambassador pointed out the value of the Commission to
Slovenia's reputation and wondered what would replace it if
it were legislated out of existence (as has been suggested
could happen given the bad blood between Kos and Jansa).
Drnovsek said that anti-corruption was a pillar of Jansa's
successful election campaign and it would be hard for him, as
PM, to undo the Commission's mandate. (COMMENT: We concur
that Jansa remains strongly anti-corruption and we think the
brouhaha over legislating the Commission out of existence has
passed over for now. Still, we doubt that the Kos/Jansa
feud, which goes back to the days of independence and
reportedly involves Jansa's strong feelings that Kos is too
closely allied to Kucan, has not been put to rest completely.

Tour d'horizon

10. (C) Over the course of the lunch, Drnovsek demonstrated
his interest and mastery of foreign policy when discussing
several current issues:

-- Croatia: Drnovsek said his team is working to set up a
meeting "at the border" with Croatian President Mesic for
this Thursday, March 24. No other details were offered.

-- China: Drnovsek thinks China is actually quite helpful
to the West on most issues, save for Taiwan and Tibet, and
noted that the West continues to race into China with
investment. COM stressed U.S. opposition to the lifting of
the EU arms embargo.

-- Middle East: Recalling his meetings with Arafat and the
irony that Arafat was a Nobel Peace Prize winner who didn't
sign up for peace and that Sharon is a "hawk" who is working
hard to make peace, Drnovsek senses positive developments in
the region. Going back to the failed Barak/Arafat Camp David
negotiations in 2000, the politician in Drnovsek came through
and said that Barak sacrificed his own government and
political future by giving in too much and then not having
anything to sell back home after making the concessions.
Drnovsek has worked with a French political consultant who
also had Barak as a client. The consultant told Drnovsek
that he had declined Barak's request to lead his second
campaign and advised him not to even run because it was so
hopeless. (Note: the current situation in Lebanon and Syria
was not discussed.)

-- India/Pakistan: Drnovsek met Musharraf last year at
UNGA, but has never traveled to India or Pakistan. He sees
this as a "critical area of the world," however, and said he
has a standing invitation to visit India after having
welcomed Indian leaders to Slovenia some time ago.



2005LJUBLJ00187 - Classification: CONFIDENTIAL