Slovenia Marks 24 Years of Independence
Ljubljana, 25 June - Slovenia observes National Day on Thursday, a work-free holiday in remembrance of the day 24 years ago when the country declared independence from the former Yugoslavia.
While the main celebrations were held already on Wednesday, a number of smaller local ceremonies are scheduled to be held around the country today.
At the central ceremony in Ljubljana on Wednesday evening, President Borut Pahor reiterated the message of unity that has become a keyword in observance of the holidays in recent years.
Highlighting that unity had enabled Slovenia to secure independence, the president stressed that such unity was needed again to face current challenges, including growing global instability.
The Slovenian Assembly passed the Basic Constitutional Charter and the Declaration of Independence on 25 June 1991 in the culmination of years of longing and months of preparations to break away from the former federation.
The document was passed on the basis of a plebiscite in December 1990 when 88.2% of the voters opted for independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The celebration of the centuries-long dream come true stopped abruptly 24 years ago as the nation was attacked by the Yugoslav People's Army just hours after the independence declaration ceremony.
The conflict resulted in the deaths of 19 Slovenian soldiers and police, 12 foreign civilians and 44 soldiers of the Yugoslav People's Army, according to official accounts.
The hostilities ended on 7 July 1991 when Slovenia pledged in an EU-brokered declaration to suspend its independence efforts by three months.
When the moratorium expired in October 1991, Yugoslav troops left Slovenia and the country introduced its own currency.
The first country to recognise Slovenia was its southern neighbour Croatia (26 June 1991), which declared independence on the same day as Slovenia. International recognition followed in the months thereafter.