wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08LJUBLJANA459 2008-10-14 06:06:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ljubljana
Cable title:  

SLOVENIA: INCOMING PM PROMISES CONTINUITY, BUT

Tags:   PREL MOPS NATO PGOV PINR MARR SI 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO4879
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHLJ #0459/01 2880606
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 140606Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6959
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LJUBLJANA 000459 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/10/2018
TAGS: PREL MOPS NATO PGOV PINR MARR SI
SUBJECT: SLOVENIA: INCOMING PM PROMISES CONTINUITY, BUT
IRAQ COMMITMENT IN DOUBT

Classified By: Ambassador Yousif B. Ghafari, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY. Future Prime Minister Borut Pahor assured
the Ambassador October 9 that he would continue the current
government's foreign policy. However, he did not allow
himself to be drawn into a discussion of details, and he
alluded to conflicting demands from his likely coalition
partners. Embassy notes that there is widespread sympathy
for withdrawal of Slovenia's two officers from the NATO
Training Mission in Iraq (NTM-I) among Pahor's more
left-leaning coalition partners and constituents. On Iraq
therefore, we will be swimming against the tide (but swimming
hard nevertheless). On Afghanistan, we are confident that we
can convince the new government to at least stay the course
and perhaps to take on a somewhat more robust mission. In
both cases, we will have to overcome Pahor's propensity to
avoid confrontation with his coalition partners. Pahor also
confirmed that President Turk may reject the outgoing
government's nomination of Matjaz Sinkovec to be Ambassador
to the U.S., but that he would resubmit the nomination to the
President once he takes office. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) Pahor, though still not formally nominated by the
President, hosted a warm, private lunch for the Ambassador on
October 9. He was accompanied by his chief of staff, Simona
Dimic, who, like Pahor, is an alumnus of the International
Visitor Program. DCM Brad Freden accompanied the Ambassador.
This was the first such lunch hosted by Pahor with a
Ljubljana-based diplomat that we are aware of. Pahor made a
point of beginning the conversation with praise for the
overall direction of the current center-right government's
foreign policy, but he politely avoided any discussion of
specifics. The only exception was with regard to Croatia,
where he criticized Gregor Golobic, the leader of the Zares
party and one of Pahor's future coalition partners, for his
recent public statement on Croatia. Golobic advocated a
bilateral approach to the long-standing border demarcation
issue, a position that differs from Slovenia's -- and Pahor's
-- official position that the dispute can best be resolved by
third-party arbitration. Pahor did not allow himself to be
drawn into a discussion of Slovenia's continued participation
in the NATO missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
However, his party's platform included a promise to withdraw
Slovenia's two trainers from NTM-I.



3. (C) On the composition of the new government, Pahor only
revealed one name: former Central Bank governor Mitja
Gaspari. The one-time presidential candidate is widely
respected for his expertise. Gaspari is known as a liberal
free-market economist and proponent of fiscal discipline.
However, we are told that Gaspari's weak management skills
make it unlikely that he would end up as Finance or Economy
Minister; rather, he is likely to become a minister without
portfolio. Pahor laughed when asked about press speculation
on the identity of the next Foreign Minister. "The only
thing I can tell you is not to believe the press," Pahor
said; "I don't even know who it will be." He reiterated his
pledge that there would be no personnel "tsunami" -- only
ministers and state secretaries would be replaced without
cause. Pahor also said he would strive for a less
confrontational relationship with the press than PM Jansa.



4. (C) Pahor brought up the outgoing government's "rush" to
nominate ambassadors, saying that President Turk had some
qualms about several nominations. Without being asked
specifically, he noted that the Ambassador-designate to the
U.S., Matjaz Sinkovec, was among those whose nominations Turk
might not sign. Pahor said, however, that he would resubmit
Sinkovec's nomination if Turk did not sign it, and that he
thought it unlikely the President would reject the nomination
a second time. The point was clear: Pahor would not break
with the current government's policies, even if it meant
sending one of Jansa's allies to Washington. Pahor also
noted casually that Turk received the Social Democratic
party's nomination for President only after Pahor had
declined to run, and that he had personally called Turk to
offer him the nomination. Turk, it seemed, clearly owed his
position to Pahor and would by implication work more closely
with the new PM than he had with Jansa.



5. (C) On Russia, Pahor said that he was committed to
following common EU and NATO policy. When asked about the
South Stream pipeline, he noted that energy was one area
where there was no common European policy, and that therefore
Slovenia had to "maneuver carefully" because of its
dependence on Russian energy.

LJUBLJANA 00000459 002 OF 002





6. (C) COMMENT. On the positive side, we have the beginnings
of a "special relationship" with Pahor. He is
extraordinarily open to us and seems to share our views on a
personal level. However, Pahor is criticized by even his
allies for lacking the temperament to impose his political
will on others. He ran for Prime Minister under the motto
"the policy of compromise." In short, he may be too nice --
a flaw no one has ever accused the current Prime Minister of
sharing. Pahor is therefore likely to have his work cut out
for him when it comes to managing his own coalition, to say
nothing of the opposition. Janes Markes, a journalist and
one of Jansa's erstwhile allies, noted "a widening gap"
between the Social Democrats and coalition-partner Zares. He
also told us that the mild-mannered Pahor "is in for a rude
awakening if he thinks Jansa will behave in opposition as
Pahor did." Further complicating matters, Pahor is closer to
the political center than his two main coalition partners,
not to mention some within his own party. Taken together,
these factors indicate that Pahor will have to show
uncharacteristically strong leadership if he is going to
deliver on his assurance of continuity in foreign policy.
The Ambassador closed by saying that we had several issues
that we would like to discuss with the new government in
greater detail as soon as it takes office. END COMMENT.


GHAFARI