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End of the NATO Summit in Vilnius: Slovenia will be actively involved in seeking peace in Ukraine

A two-day summit of the NATO Alliance in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius has concluded. It was attended by the Prime Minister, Dr Robert Golob, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Tanja Fajon, and the Minister of Defence, Marjan Šarec.

At today’s opening session of the North Atlantic Council at the level of the heads of state and government with the Indo-Pacific partners and the EU representatives, Prime Minister Golob thanked all members of the NATO Alliance for voting for Slovenia as the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. He highlighted that the war in Ukraine affected the entire world and the recent vote for Slovenia as the non-permanent member showed that the global community understood what was happening in Europe. That a European and not a Russian narrative prevailed was an important message for the Euro-Atlantic community. "As a future member of the United Nations Security Council, Slovenia will do everything in its power to attain peace in Ukraine as soon as possible," Dr Golob emphasised.

According to the Prime Minister, a "historic" inaugural meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council at the level of the heads of state and government followed, at which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy participated as an equal member. "I think this is the best proof of how strong the support of all NATO members is for Ukraine’s efforts in its fair fight against the aggressor and for the attainment of peace. The message of unity is what counts the most," the Prime Minister added. He stressed the role of President Zelenskyy as an individual in Ukraine being able to withstand the Russian aggression. Slovenia was one of the first to help Ukraine and as per Dr Golob it will continue to provide its assistance in accordance with its abilities; this includes equipment for civil purposes, such as medical devices and demining equipment, and dual-use items.

With regard to security assurances for Ukraine, the Prime Minister explained that Slovenia can contribute more to peace-seeking than security assurances that can only enter into force once peace is attained.

On the margins of the summit, Prime Minister Golob met with the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda. Poland is the main logistics hub for delivering donations to Ukraine and it is through Poland that all Slovenian aid has been forwarded so far. In this regard, Prime Minister Golob thanked President Duda for excellent cooperation with the Polish side and reliability when ensuring this vital support. He also expressed Slovenia’s satisfaction with Poland’s active engagement in the Western Balkans, as it participates with a contingent of 250 soldiers in the KFOR operation. The discussion partners also spoke about the security situation in Belarus and exchanged their views on the Western Balkans.

The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Tanja Fajon, attended the "Leadership Matters" meeting of female leaders, which was hosted by the NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security, Irene Fellin. "We need more women in positions of responsibility. We, who have the privilege to co-decide today, have to enable this for other women as well. I particularly refer to the suffering, yet courageous women in Ukraine who refuse to give up. We must make sure that they will be able to co-decide on the future of post-war Ukraine," stated Minister Fajon and commended the participation of civil society at the NATO Summit.

To her fellow colleagues, she introduced Slovenia’s efforts in the field of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda within NATO. "Slovenia has made a tangible contribution to the incorporation of realising the WPS agenda in NATO’s strategic concept and it actively participates in the informal NATO Group of Friends of 1325," stated the advocate of Slovenian feminist foreign policy. 

In his address, Minister of Defence, Marjan Šarec, who attended the informal meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of the Ministers of Defence, expressed the satisfaction relating to the approval of the historic package of defence plans for enhancing NATO’s collective defence. He ensured that Slovenia would assume its share of the burden with a suitable contribution, which will require further capacity building supported by appropriate resources. This will eliminate critical gaps and improve the readiness to negotiate the increasingly demanding security challenges. The Minister also drew attention to the Western Balkans and the need to monitor the security situation and be prepared to maintain peace and stability.

Furthermore, Minister Šarec met with the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT), General Philippe Lavigne as well. The discussion partners primarily focused on the organisation of the NATO Innovation Challenge, which Slovenia will host in autumn together with the Allied Command Transformation (ACT). Its purpose is to promote discussion about the provision of best practices for suitable response to crisis situations. The event will be an excellent opportunity for the cooperation and increasing recognition of the Slovenian academic and research sphere and Slovenian companies. The Ministry of Defence is already incorporating local experts and companies in the modernisation of the Slovenian Armed Forces and the development of its capacities. In the future, Slovenia is planning to earmark two per cent of the defence budget for research and development.