Thursday, February 28, 2008

Former Slovenian President Drnovsek Dies

"Former Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek, a popular politician who helped lead the country to independence from Yugoslavia, died Saturday, his office said. He was 57.

Drnovsek, who battled cancer for years, became a political icon in part for working to keep violence at a minimum when Slovenia gained independence in 1991. He later led the country to European Union and NATO membership.

In recent years, Drnovsek made a radical shift to a holistic lifestyle and wrote several New Age-influenced books.

Mild-mannered but resolute, Drnovsek served as prime minister from 1992 to 2002, after which he became president. He did not run for a second term in elections late last year and was replaced by Danilo Turk in December.

His office gave no specific cause of his death."

Source: Guardian

Monday, February 25, 2008

EU urges Serbia to protect foreign embassies

"European Union officials called on Serbia on Friday to do more to protect foreign embassies targeted in protests against Kosovo's secession, warning the violence could have an impact on EU-Serbian ties.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters at an EU event in Slovenia that the violence could harm progress on a preliminary deal on ties with the European Union, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).

'Things will have to calm down before we can recuperate the climate that would allow for any contact to move on the SAA,' Solana said after the storming of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade and attacks on the German and British missions on Thursday.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said the European Union respected the democratic right of the Serbian people to voice their opinion on developments in Kosovo, 'but the use of violence for expressing one's opinion is unacceptable', he said."

Source: Reuters

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Serb youths in anti-Kosovo rampage

"Riot police using tear gas and batons dispersed hundreds of Serbian youths who ran riot through central Belgrade Sunday, targeting the embassies of Western backers of Kosovo's independence.

The youths, who numbered about 800 at the height of the violence, smashed the windows of two McDonald's restaurants, and those of the US and Slovenian embassies. Most of them appeared to be hardcore football fans.

The rioting lasted several hours and at least 50 people -- among them 20 policemen -- were injured during the rioting, radio B92 reported, quoting hospital officials."


Thursday, February 7, 2008

President of Slovenia visits the Pope, discusses country’s situation

'According to the Holy See’s Press Office, "The talks provided an opportunity to examine a number of matters concerning the current international scene, in particular the situation in the Balkans, also in the light of the Slovenian presidency of the European Union (January- July 2008).”

Mention was also made of the good relations that exist between Slovenia and the Holy See, as well as the need to ensure the protection of freedoms sought by the Church in Slovenia.

Pope Benedict considers the main challenge facing the Church in Slovenia to be "Western-style secularism”. Speaking to the Bishops of Slovenia earlier this year, he called this type of materialism “different and perhaps more underhand than Marxist secularism". It results in "the unbridled pursuit of material goods, the drop in nativity and the reduction in religious practice with a notable diminution in vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life".'

Source: CNA

EU mission to arrive in Kosovo at any rate, whatever happens

"Slovenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitrij Rupel declared that the EU mission would be sent to Kosovo whatever happens over the next days, weeks or months, to guarantee the functioning of society, while the UN mission will withdraw from the region, Serbian Tanjung agency reported.

In an interview, Rupel remarked that UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has declared he backs the EU mission in Kosovo."

Source: FOCUS Information Agency

Friday, February 1, 2008

Croatia warns Slovenia not to block its EU bid

"Croatian President Stipe Mesic warned Slovenia on Thursday not to block his country's European Union membership bid as such a move could seriously harm ties between the two neighbours.

'If Slovenia prevents our entry into the EU by persistently insisting on its attitudes, it will be a disaster for our future relations,' Mesic said.

Such a scenario would mean that any 'friendship between Slovenia and Croatia is over for good,' he added.

The Croatian leader is to have an informal meeting on Friday with his Slovenian counterpart Danilo Turk, for the first time since Turk was elected in November.

Asked by journalists what he expected from the talks, scheduled to be held in Slovenia, Mesic emphasised they would be informal to give them a greater chance of success.

Croatia accuses its northern neighbour of using its current six-month term in the EU presidency to press Zagreb over unsolved bilateral issues. Slovenia has rejected the charges."


Slovenia under US influence?

"Mitja Drobnic has withdrawn as director in the Slovenian Foreign Ministry after the minutes of a private discussion between himself and a top US diplomat were revealed. The document gave the impression that Slovenia, which holds the EU Council presidency, would take its cues from the USA regarding the Kosovo issue. Antisa Korljan comments: 'It's no surprise that a scapegoat was found in the ministry. To some extent, Drobnic was the logical choice, because his name alone comes up in close connection with the minutes of the meeting."

Source: Courrier international