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Prime Minister Janez Janša: Slovenian Armed Forces will be provided with what they need for their operations

In today’s video conference at the Ministry of Defence, a day before Slovenian Statehood Day, Prime Minister Janez Janša addressed the members of the Slovenian Armed Forces on missions abroad. In addition to the Prime Minister, the video-conference was attended by the Minister of Defence, Matej Tonin, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Slovenian Armed Forces, Robert Glavaš.

The Prime Minister started off by highlighting the fact that there would have been no Statehood Day without the Slovenian Armed Forces. “There were many developments that led to Slovenia’s independence, but the key decision adopted on 25 June 1991 would have only remained on paper if the then Slovenian Armed Forces or Territorial Defence, partly also the Police (i.e., the national armed forces), had not defended it,” the Prime Minister noted, adding that, as we know from history, many nations declared independence around the world, but this only ended as chapters in history textbooks rather than an independent state, because the key, final step was not made.

Janša congratulated all the members of the armed forces on missions and thanked them for their efforts in facing a double challenge: in addition to the danger present everywhere they operate, they also had to fight the coronavirus epidemic. “In some areas, this challenge was just as dangerous as all others, because this was something new and something we were not prepared for,” said the Prime Minister, expressing satisfaction with the fact that Slovenian soldiers are healthy, that the few infections that occurred were successfully contained and that they “also successfully helped others, because there has been considerable positive feedback in this regard”.

Janša continued by saying that unfortunately Slovenia does not rank high in NATO, having failed to fulfil its commitments for years. “But there is one bright spot as far as participation in NATO is concerned, as well as the EU defence activities and UN peacekeeping missions: you, soldiers on special operations and missions. I have never personally received as much positive feedback about the activities of the Slovenian Armed Forces from my colleagues, Prime Ministers or Presidents of EU and NATO member states, as I have in the past months. The Slovenian Armed Forces have been enhancing Slovenia’s profile ever since they began participating in peacekeeping missions. It is also because of this that we value your work,” said the Prime Minister.

Regarding the weaknesses which NATO allies have drawn attention to for years, Janša announced that already today the government will discuss amendments to the Defence Act, according to which the age limit for working in the Slovenian Armed Forces will no longer be set at 45. “I hope this is adopted by the National Assembly as soon as possible, so that no law prevents individuals in good physical shape and with a wealth of expertise from continuing their career in the Slovenian Armed Forces,” Janša added. According to the Prime Minister, it is even more important to adopt a law providing investment funds for the Slovenian Armed Forces, which the government is also going to discuss at its session today. The implementation of this law will help resolve many of the technical problems encountered by soldiers on missions.

“As far as general conditions are concerned, we know many things can be done if there is will, motivation and preparedness, even if we have to operate in conditions that are not financially and technically ideal. However, it is essential to provide sufficient staff, and so expanding the Slovenian Armed Forces personnel will be our greatest challenge in the future,” the Prime Minister highlighted.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister sincerely congratulated the members of the Slovenian Armed Forces on missions abroad on Statehood Day, which would not have existed without them, wishing everyone a proud and pleasant celebration of the national holiday.