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Review of Slovenia's Foreign Affairs - December 1999 to November 2000

Ljubljana, 9 December - The date when Slovenia could enter the EU after it closes full-membership negotiations at the end of 2001 or at the beginning of 2002, moved into the period between 2003-2005. Slovenia's membership of NATO, on the other hand, will be discussed at the 2002 NATO summit. Slovenia in 2000 announced its plan to stand for OSCE Presidency in 2005, was active in the Central European Initiative (CEI), over which Slovenia is to preside in 2004, and in the Stability Pact for SE Europe in addition to other major international organisations.

As for relations with neighbouring countries, the settling of open issues with Croatia is expected to be sped up after changes took place in the governments of the two countries. The bill to protect the Slovene minority living in Italy is awaiting adoption in the Italian Senate after it was passed by the lower chamber of the Italian parliament. Relations with Austria were marked by different positions of the two countries on the issue of the AVNOJ decisions, the Austrian State Treaty and Krsko Nuclear Power Plant. Traditionally friendly co-operation between Slovenia and Hungary strengthened additionally with the signing of the agreements on the use of the Port of Koper and on the border railway traffic. The Slovenia-Hungary-Italy partnership, which centres on co-operation in economy, transport and security, was joined by Croatia to create a partnership of four states.

Following political change in the FRY, opportunities arose to establish diplomatic relations between Slovenia and the FRY, and to settle the issue of succession to the former Yugoslavia.

In 2002 Slovenia saw three replacements of Foreign Ministers: Boris Frlec resigned in January and was replaced by Dimitrij Rupel. Lojze Peterle took over the post in the government of Prime Minister Andrej Bajuk from June to October, when Rupel was re-elected Foreign Minister in the government led by Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek. Several personnel changes also took place in Slovene embassies and foreign embassies in Slovenia.

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© STA, 2000