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Foreign Affairs in 1998

Ljubljana, 11 December - REVIEW/1998/FOREIGN/POLICY
One of Slovenia's foreign policy priorities in 1998 was the process of accession to the Euro-Atlantic integrations, the European Union and NATO. Slovenia officially started a series of reviews of the national legislation at the end of March and began the full-membership negotiations with the EU in November. The parliaments of all the EU member nations ratified the Slovene-EU associate agreement at the end of October; the European Commission's November critical report on Slovenia's progress towards full membership caused quite a lot of disturbance in Ljubljana. The door of NATO remains open also to Slovenia, it was assured, but no specific facts about the second enlargement wave are known as yet. Slovenia became a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council for two years, and also presided over the Council in August. In the area of relations with the neighbouring countries, chiefly the relations between Ljubljana and Zagreb, which still contain numerous open questions, were rather intensive and were maintained on several levels. The issue of succession to the former Yugoslavia was not solved in the outgoing year. The Slovene representatives met with several foreign high-ranking officials abroad. Slovene Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek met with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington, whereas President Milan Kucan paid an official visit to Germany. Boris Frlec still holds the office of the foreign minister. Igor Bavcar holds the post of the minister for European affairs. The post of the defence minister was taken over by Alojz Krapez for seven months after Tit Turnsek had resigned due to the incident on the Slovene-Croatian border, caused by two members of the defence ministry's intelligence service. Krapez, however, also resigned in October because he granted himself an apartment belonging to the defence ministry which only the uniformed armed services are entitled to. His successor is not known yet; Minister of Science and Technology Lojze Marincek was assigned by Premier Drnovsek to run the ministry temporarily.

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© STA, 1998