Prime Minister Janez Janša hosts the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and his wife in Slovenia
Today, on 13 August 2020, Prime Minister Janez Janša hosts the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. The purpose of the visit is to reaffirm and foster close relations of friendship, partnership and alliance between Slovenia and the United States, review cooperation between the countries in all key areas of common interest and identify opportunities for enhancing mutual cooperation. During the talks, some topical international issues were also discussed. In the margins of the talks, the Joint Declaration of Slovenia and the United States on 5G Security was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Anže Logar, and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
At the press conference held by Prime Minister Janez Janša and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after signing the Declaration, Mr Janša stated that, 32 years ago, Slovenia was still part of the totalitarian Yugoslavia. "The villa that we use today to host this high-level visit was used by the Slovenian communist elite, while some of us were held in the communist regime prisons. At the time, hundreds of thousands of our compatriots were displaced around Western Europe, North and South America and Australia. Today, Slovenia is an independent democratic republic, which is the result of our fight for freedom, the rule of law, human rights and democracy. But this fight could not have been successful without the victory of the free Western world headed by the United States over the Soviet regime. For almost 50 years, the regime imported its totalitarianism and divided Europe by an iron curtain, thereby causing death and misery to hundreds of millions of people," said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
"Slovenians are therefore grateful to the United States for defending and saving the old continent twice in the previous century. First, from the danger of atrocities of Nazism and, later, the tyranny of Communism. Fascism, Nazism and Communism caused great harm to the Slovenian nation and we are still healing the wounds that they left behind. A memorial plaque on the fence of the American Embassy in Ljubljana is a telling testimony to the fact. We are also grateful to the United States for offering shelter to hundreds of thousands of our countrymen when they sought safety and freedom for themselves and their children in the free world in the past century," stressed the Prime Minister, adding: "Today, Slovenia is a member of the EU and NATO. We endeavour to be a credible partner within the Alliance and, at the same time, to make our voice heard. Therefore, we are particularly pleased to host today in Slovenia the United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, his wife Susan and his colleagues. We believe that his work and efforts and the endeavours made by him and the Unites States President support the values of freedom, the rule of law, human rights, human dignity and fundamental freedoms, and are a continuation of the policy that enabled the fall of the Berlin Wall, the iron curtain and a renewed free cooperation and integration of the European nations," pointed out the Prime Minister.
"At the time when the attention of both countries and also the rest of the world is still focused on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, we talked about the experiences of Slovenia and the Unites States in the fight against the new coronavirus. I expressed my solidarity with the Unites States in dealing with the pandemic and its consequences, which I reiterate once again. Apart from everything else, the coronavirus pandemic has made it clear again that the challenges of modern times are actually no lesser that those from decades ago, the only difference being that Slovenia is part of the Alliance that is searching for solutions to these challenges and is able to find them," pointed out the Prime Minister.
He went on to say that the current situation in the world calls for an even closer partnership between Europe and the Unites States, and for an enhanced role of the transatlantic community as the global leader. "In this regard, I presented priority areas of Slovenia’s EU Council Presidency that will take place next year. One of our priorities is also to develop capacities for dealing with crisis situations, such as the pandemic or cyberattacks. Slovenia will always promote further close cooperation of the EU with the Unites States, in particular during our Presidency of the EU," said Mr Janša.
He also emphasized that during the talks special attention was devoted to the North Atlantic Alliance. "Both countries see it as the most solid base for Euro-American relations. We agreed that it is further important to share the burdens between the Allies. In recent months, Slovenia has taken some steps on the basis of which it will do everything that all the governments have promised to do since 2014 in terms of fulfilling our obligations. We also assessed the existing bilateral defence and military cooperation established already in 1994, when I myself, as the then Minister of Defence, signed an agreement on cooperation between the two armies, and Slovenia is interested in enhancing this cooperation," said the Slovenian Prime Minister.
"Our country appreciates the proactive American approach to energy security in Central Europe, which is also demonstrated by a strong support to partnerships, such as the Three Seas Initiative and the Partnership for Transatlantic Energy Cooperation. Slovenia will continue to enhance its role in both partnerships," emphasised Prime Minister Janša.
The Slovenian Prime Minister also said that during the talks, he and State Secretary Pompeo assessed the economic cooperation between the two countries. "The United States is Slovenia's third investment partner. We agreed that there are numerous opportunities to further strengthen trade and investments. Slovenia has many distinguished companies in the field of information technology that can also participate in the further development of the technologies related to the content of today's Declaration. We recognise most of these new opportunities here," emphasised the Slovenian Prime Minister, adding that the two countries decided to deepen cooperation in the field of cybersecurity in order to be able to take advantage of all these potentials. "This intention can be proved by the Joint Declaration of Slovenia and the United States on 5G Safety signed today. Through increased cooperation we will strengthen national security, increase prosperity and maintain the openness of our societies," said Prime Minister Janez Janša.
He also pointed out that "the exchange of views on international topics confirmed that Slovenia and the United States share many similar or the same views on a number of issues, including the situation in the Western Balkans which will also be one of the priorities of Slovenia's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We also discussed the relations with China and Russia. In the relations with these two countries we must seek and take into account the strategic interest of our civilisation which is based on values of security, freedom, the rule of law and democracy. These principles should be the basis for coordination and search for common positions between the EU and the United States in relation to the Russian Federation and China."
"If we believed during the Cold War that the greatest danger was the nuclear conflict and the destruction of a major part of the planet, today there exists an even more complex threat of hybrid attack or the combined use of cyber and biological weapons, electromagnetic pulse attacks and the use of conventional warfare. In contrast to the general awareness of danger during the Cold War, today people's awareness of this danger in the West is significantly lower or very low. Despite the painful experience with the latest pandemic. And this low awareness has only disproportionally increased the threat. We therefore see the United States as the only force of the Western civilisation capable of confronting this complex threat, both in terms of deterrent and actual defence capability. Slovenia is also willing to contribute its efforts in order to be successful here", stressed Prime Minister Janez Janša.
He thanked State Secretary Pompeo for all the investments and efforts made by the United States in this area, "because these efforts also ensure our security". "Thank you for today's visit and for the good substantive talks. These talks confirmed that there are many common opportunities and goals ahead of us as well as many common challenges which we will face. The strong Slovenian-American friendship, partnership and alliance will enable us to be successful. I would also like to thank Mrs Ambassador Lynda Blanchard for the extremely good cooperation in preparing this important visit", said the Prime Minister and concluded his speech with the following words: "God bless the centuries-old friendship between the Slovenian and the American nations!"
As part of the meeting between the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Janez Janša, and U.S. State Secretary Michael Pompeo, a programme was organised for their spouses, Urška Bačovnik Janša and Susan Pompeo. They took a walk around the city centre of Ljubljana, from Tavčarjeva Street to the Three Bridges, and visited some shops selling traditional Slovenian goods. They ended their tour of the capital with a visit to the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, accompanied by Assistant Bishop Dr Anton Jamnik, and then moved on to Bled, where they were received by the Mayor, Mr Janez Fajfar.