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Weekly Review of Events Involving Slovenia from 12 to 18 January

Ljubljana, 19 January - In a week when Slovenia marked the tenth anniversary of the country's recognition by the Vatican and the then European Community, public presentations of opinions on NATO accession and constitutional changes, criticised by the media for their lack of "political culture" and proper dialogue, were at the forefront of Slovene politics. The eighth congress of Slovene diplomats, which was also attended by foreign ministers of Spain and Hungary, was much less exciting, as was the visit of French Defence Minister Alain Richard and the virtually unanimous confirmation of Janez Potocnik, head of Slovenia's negotiating team with the EU, to the post of Europe Minister. After almost unanimous backing in the parliamentary commission for European affairs and the foreign affairs committee, he now awaits the approval of Parliament. What made major headlines this week, however, was not politics but the announcement that Director General of the Slovene Police, Marko Pogorevc, has been accused of attempted rape dating back nine years, and the release from custody of Josip Loncaric, the chief organiser of an international criminal cartel involved in smuggling immigrants from the east across Slovenia to Italy.

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