New Strategic Council for Foreign Affairs dedicates its first meeting to the war in Ukraine
The Strategic Council for Foreign Affairs, chaired by Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon, held its first meeting in its new composition at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia to debate current foreign policy issues. In their discussion on the war in Ukraine, the Council members were joined by invited guests – that is, authors of open letters on Ukraine.
Minister Fajon welcomed the new members of the Strategic Council for Foreign Affairs, which will play an important role in shaping Slovenia's future activities and engagement in international relations in the light of the changing geopolitical situation in the world. “It is my desire that policy-making be based on strategic thinking and decisions taken in cooperation with experts and in an inclusive, democratic way," the Minister emphasised in her introduction.
The war in Ukraine and its consequences will influence the formulation of foreign policy for a long time to come. Thus, the debate on Ukraine focused on how and to what extent Slovenia should extend its assistance to Ukraine. Minister Fajon reiterated Slovenia’s strongest condemnation of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, in particular the numerous attacks on civilians and infrastructure. The Council members and guests discussed the open letters on Slovenia’s attitude to the war in Ukraine, agreeing that these letters reflect the concerns of the people and that we need to seek a joint approach to determine Slovenia’s future action. "Such open letters should not be a platform that divides Slovenian people, but a basis for engaging civil society in the debate on significant foreign policy decisions of Slovenia. Everyone should have the opportunity to express their opinion without being labelled," said the Minister.
Minister Fajon emphasised that Slovenia would continue to assist Ukraine in all possible areas, both in humanitarian aid and reconstruction, and in providing scholarships for Ukrainian refugees, while arms assistance should not be a priority for Slovenia, as arms alone cannot bring peace. “I am glad we have had the opportunity to exchange views in this very useful debate. But even though they differ, we all agree that Slovenia must make efforts and take initiatives to find diplomatic and compromise solutions. Only Ukraine can decide on the way forward and on what is a victory or an acceptable compromise for Ukraine in this war. Slovenia and the EU have the role of providing all the necessary support along the way," stressed the Minister, who is well aware that dialogue with Moscow is vital in this context. She also explained that obtaining EU candidate status was an important signal for Ukraine and that Slovenia would not forget to promote the EU’s enlargement to the Western Balkan countries, which is of mutual strategic interest.
The new members of the Strategic Council include: Predrag Bakovič, Dr Smiljana Knez, Ivo Vajgl, Roman Kirn, Prof. Dr Ljubica Jelušič, Assistant Professor Dr Uroš Svete, Jože Colarič, Dr Lučka Kajfež Bogataj, Sandi Češko, Prof. Dr Vasilka Sancin, Dr Sabina Kajnč Lange, Dragoljuba Benčina, Assoc. Prof. Dr Boštjan Udovič, Vojko Volk and Prof. Dr Zlatko Šabič.
In the discussion on Ukraine, the permanent members of the Council were joined by guests Dr Spomenka Hribar, Dr Bojko Bučar, Dr Iztok Šori, Dejan Steinbuch and Emil Milan Pintar.