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President announces recall of ambassador to the US

New York, 21 September - President Borut Pahor will recall Tone Kajzer, Slovenia's ambassador to the US, after being urged to do so by the government due to an internal cable that Kajzer leaked to Janez Janša, the leader of the opposition Democrats (SDS). The ambassador is expected to return to Ljubljana by the end of the month and he will remain with the Foreign Ministry.

Brdo pri Kranju
President Borut Pahor.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

The decision was reached after Pahor had a phone conversation yesterday with Prime Minister Robert Golob during which Pahor also "highlighted the issue of proportionality of the proposed measure and consistency of such action in all similar cases," the president's office said.

What bothered the president most is not having been involved in the process. He therefore proposed that in future the recall of ambassadors should "be formally arranged the same way as the appointment of ambassadors, where consultation with the president is a constituent part of the decision-making."

Additionally, Pahor proposed "additional deliberations about measures and actions to strengthen the professionalism of diplomacy so that it is loyal to the state, not to partisan or other special interests."

Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon, who is accompanying Pahor in New York for the UN General Assembly, said she had provided all the details of the case to Pahor as she insisted Kajzer violated the law and a recall was urgent.

"There were several violations, including of the rules on the protection of confidential information. A recall is urgent if we are to protect Slovenia's foreign policy interests and foreign service," she told reporters in New York.

The inquiry into Kajzer's conduct concerned on the photo of a cable that Janša posted on Twitter at the beginning of September containing internal instructions to embassies to publish the address where voters can send signatures in support of presidential candidate Nataša Pirc Musar.

Whereas this is a standard procedure that even the SDS had used in the past, Janša framed the cable as an attempt by the government to help Pirc Musar.

The content of the cable is not secret since it is an official notice, but all diplomatic communication exchanged over the Foreign Ministry's cable system is by default considered confidential according to the act on foreign affairs and internal Foreign Ministry rules.

Asked whether Kajzer had admitted to the deed, Fajon said he had not talked about that during questioning. And even if he did not take the snapshot of the cable himself, he allowed someone to use his computer.

Fajon said Kajzer will remain in diplomatic ranks. "I have personally informed him thereof and expressed regret at us having met in such a position. I thanked him for his cooperation. He is returning to Ljubljana at the end of the month. I'm sure we'll find an opportunity for good cooperation going forward."

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