The Hon. Janez Janša (Former Prime Minister of Slovenia)

09.11.2010 - Interview conducted by James Hood & Elizabeth Hurst

Q1. As Prime Minister of Slovenia from 2004 to 2008, what direction did you give your country’s foreign policy, and what accomplishments did your government achieve in the field?

During this time Slovenia was a leading country of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and in 2005 we focused on the eastern part of the EU, the Caucasus, the Caspian region. We tried to maybe not solve the conflicts but contribute to the understanding of those conflicts in the EU and the European region. At that time we also succeeded in making this organization proceed with its work; at that time there was problems with the budget, with the resources for this very important organization. Neither the US or Russia wanted to pay for the budget, we somehow mediated those issues and succeeded in making sure the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe could continue its work. The biggest challenge was the business of the EU, so Slovenian foreign policy was very much at that time European foreign policy. We studied the political situation in all continents because they negotiations concerned United States, Japan, Latin American countries, but maybe the biggest concrete issue was the declaration of the independence of Kosovo in February 2010, when we did everything we could to prevent a conflict which was predicted by nearly all analysts and political experts and also journalists. We somehow succeeded in convincing perhaps not the entire populations but the leaderships in Serbia and in Kosovo that they have only one possibility to remove the border again, and this possibility is the European perspective. The EU was used at that time as a carrot, as a tool, and this was quite successful. Slovenia was in a tried position because we had knowledge about the region, about the situation. Those European and other states which didn’t recognize the reality and support Kosovo’s independence contributed to the efforts to prevent conflict with the police forces and other personnel which were sent there after this declaration. There were other issues but maybe this was one of the most important.

Q2. You intervened on the theme of humanitarian law and genocide, the theme of your presentation. The worst atrocities of the Dafur conflict took place while you were in office. What actions did you take on an international level in response to this event? Furthermore, what path do you think the international community should undertake to help end this conflict?

Dafur is clear proof that only talking and adopting paper resolutions at international forums is not enough. You have to really have support behind it and also real determination, and there were times when not only me but all those who wanted to do something in Dafur were very disappointed. We discussed this issue and everything stopped at one question: who will contribute the police forces, who will contribute the helicopters for those police forces, who will contribute sufficient amount of money for humanitarian relief? When the discussion turned to those issues we almost always ended short, with just a contribution and determination to do something. The measures taken were not adequate, the people there were not properly equipped, and the international community only created excuses, not solutions.

Q3. What can be done to solve the core problems in the way that international organizations work to make them more effective in solving the most pressing and often seemingly intractable problems in international relations?

We have to change the way the UN and other multinational organizations work. We have to link the legal basis, political determination and adequate contributions in one decision, we should not decide something and declare it a big success, and afterwards at the next meeting discuss who will contribute something and we stay short of the real possibility to decide it. The procedure itself should be joined into one move, one transparent clear action. The world public should be able to follow decision-making processes from the beginning to the end, and if we guarantee such an approach then there is no hiding space for those who want to create excuses.