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Slovenia - Foreign Relations (Notes)

In regular public statements, Slovenia's highest politicians underscore their government's commitment to expanding cooperative arrangements with neighbors and active contributions to international efforts aimed at bringing stability to southeast Europe. Resource limitations are a concern for the government, which does not wish to see itself spread too thin. Nonetheless, the Slovenes are taking concrete steps toward a more outward looking and constructive role in regional and international security arrangements, as resources allow.

Multilateral The Slovenian Armed Forces has nearly 900 troops deployed to support the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, the NATO Training Mission (NTM-I) in Iraq, EU Mission Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR), and several other multilateral operations. Slovenia takes an active role in humanitarian assistance with donations to the victims of the Southeast Asian tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake, and Hurricane Katrina, as well as ongoing assistance to refugees in Darfur and support for the World Food Program. Through its International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance (ITF), Slovenia has created the demining instrument of choice for the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the rest of the Balkans, and now even further afield in Central Asia and Cyprus. The organization has raised over $203 million since its inception in 1998 (with the United States contributing over $92 million). Slovenia served as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2005 and is the Chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency?s Board of Governors for 2006-2007. Slovenia is engaged with 29 countries in bilateral military exchange--most actively with the U.S.--and in regional cooperative arrangements in central and southeast Europe; it participates in or intends to contribute forces for five major multinational regional peacekeeping bodies. Slovenia participates in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems, and related materials worldwide. Slovenia has ratified all 13 international anti-terrorism conventions. Slovenia is party to the Wassenaar arrangement controlling exports of weapons and sensitive technology to countries of concern Slovenia is an active participant in Southeast European Defense Ministerial (SEDM) activities.

Relations With Neighbors
Slovenia's bilateral relations with its neighbors are generally harmonious and cooperative. However, there remain a few unresolved disputes with Croatia related to the succession of the former Yugoslavia, including demarcation of their common border. In addition, unlike the other successor states of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia did not normalize relations with Serbia and Montenegro until after the passing from power of Slobodan Milosevic (although the Slovenes did open a representative office in Podgorica to work with Montenegrin President Djukanovic's government).

With its entry into the European Union, Slovenia has become a strong advocate for the inclusion of other former Yugoslav republics into Euro-Atlantic institutions. Slovenia's strong political ties to the region are complemented by strong economic ties. Slovenia is among the largest foreign investors in the region.

Italy. Italian-Slovene bilateral relations are also very good. By mid-1996, property restitution disputes derived from World War II had been set aside, allowing a dramatic improvement in relations. In 2001, the Italian Senate voted final approval of legislation resolving some minor differences remaining over minority rights issues and over the compensation for property abandoned by Italian refugees fleeing communist Yugoslavia in the postwar period.

Hungary. Relations are excellent with Hungary. Hungarian (as well as Italian) minorities in Slovenia are accorded special treatment under the Slovenian constitution, including a permanent parliamentary seat. Within the Multilateral Cooperation Initiative between Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, and Croatia, cooperation exists in numerous fields, including military (Multinational Land Force peacekeeping brigade), transportation, combating money laundering and organized crime, non-proliferation, border crossings, and environmental issues.

Austria. Austro-Slovenian relations are close with occasional disputes related to support for the other country's minorities. In 2005 and 2006 this wasdominated by an ongoing question about whether to allow bilingual (German and Slovenian) signage in Austrian territory on the Slovenian border. Questions regarding nuclear power in Slovenia and the basis for the settlement of the Austrian State Treaty appear to have been solved. Economic cooperation is expanding, including a joint project for development of border regions.

Croatia. Though somewhat rocky at times, Croatian-Slovenian relations are solid. Outstanding issues include a few remaining border disputes, property rights, and Croatian depositors' savings in the Ljubljanska Banka from Yugoslav times. In 2003, Croatia declared its intention to claim a 200-mile exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea, which would effectively cut off Slovenia?s use of international waters. Multilateral discussions among Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy on this issue continue with European Commission participation. In a series of high-level meetings since the latter half of 1998, Slovenia and Croatia have been engaged in settling bilateral differences, a process which accelerated after the death of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman in 1999 and has intensified under the government of Prime Minister Janez Jansa elected in October 2004. In order to aid the stabilization of this part of Europe, Slovenia has supported Croatia's efforts to draw closer to European institutions.

Slovenia and Croatia most recently made an effort to improve relations during a joint government session on June 10, 2005 where three bilateral agreements were signed: Joint Statement on Avoiding of Conflicts, Bilateral Agreement on Avoiding Double Taxation, and an establishment of a joint Historical Commission for the border issue. Though several nagging issues remain to be solved, less formal meetings between Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek and Croatian President Stjepan Mesic occur regularly.

Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Slovenian Tolar Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.

Facts at a Glance
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Slovenian Tolar Exchange Rates

Notes and Commentary
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.

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