12 June 1998

"Situation in and around Bosnia"

Address by the Minister of Defence
of the Republic of Slovenia, H.E. Alojz KRAPEZ, M.A.

Mr. Secretary General, dear colleagues,

The primary aim of my speech today is to present the views of the Republic of Slovenia, concerning the security situation in and around Bosnia. First however, let me make some introductory remarks upon the occasion of the first anniversary of EAPC and the enhanced Partnership for Peace program.

44 countries are implementing one of the most ambitious programs of political and military cooperation ever to be initiated in the Euroatlantic region, which can trigger tectonic movements in the securing of peace, security and stability.

In five years, the Partnership for Peace program has managed to build a bridge of confidence and join, through mutual activities, those who were adversaries only a day before. In partner nations the democratization process of society has been enhanced and advanced, transformation of the military sector facilitated, transparency increased and civil - military relations clarified. Last but not least, the program has also furthered solutions to a number of unresolved issues among the partner countries themselves.

The Partnership for Peace program unites nations on an equal basis, nations that share the same values and recognize that peace, security and stability are our common and indivisible goals. Therefore it is Slovenia's primary political and defense security option to implement the Partnership for Peace program, be active within the EAPC and make efforts towards becoming a full NATO member country.

Mr. Chairman,

It is commonly agreed upon that the situation in and around Bosnia, which is also the theme of this item, still is one of high complexity, particularly in respect to the situation in Kosovo.

The Republic of Slovenia is convinced that the Bosnian situation can only be consolidated by consistent implementation of both agreements, especially the Dayton agreement. None of the parties involved should be indulged, despite the background situation.

Here, I would like to repeat the principle: we are helping and cooperating only with those who implement what was agreed to and approved.

Recent developments clearly indicate that the implementation of the "civil" part of the peace agreement and the solution of the Bosnian situation will be far more complicated than the "military" part. Both on the federal and local levels, many conclusions and decisions are made under the pretense of good intentions. Some of the legally elected bodies and patronage are boycotted by not only Belgrade but also Zagreb.

It is our belief that in addition to ensuring the functioning of federal and local authorities, a number of additional conditions should be fulfilled for the situation to be resolved. One of the most important conditions is the re-establishment of a national economy, with the recognition of the fact that an influx of capital will not bring any profit in the foreseeable future. Bearing this in mind, Slovenia has thus far participated in all the donors conferences.

The Republic of Slovenia is still committed to help regulate the Bosnian situation and will continue to provide helicopter, VIP and supply air transports, to conduct training for demining personnel, to offer hospital facilities and if necessary, to make the airport in Cerklje available. In addition, Slovenia will provide a military police squad for the needs of the "Joint Forge".

Slovenia supports yesterday's Statement on Kosovo. We believe that the whole spectrum of measures has to be prepared in the shortest time possible. These measures should include full range of options in order to establish peace in which conditions for the peaceful resolution of the crisis will be created.

We further believe that the international community should actively participate in the negotiations as well as being present in the post-conflict stabilization.

The current situation in Kosovo has been directly provoked by non- compliance with the rights of the Albanians living in Kosovo, which was previously granted by the constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1974.

The mounting antagonisms, cultural, religious and historic differences and, above all, the unwillingness of the Belgrade regime to assent to any kind of autonomy for Albanians living in Kosovo whatsoever, offer no starting points which would lead to the solution of this problem. The tragic lessons learned from Croatian and Bosnian developments have shown that there were only three reasons for the cease fire in this region: lack of ammunition, extremely severe weather conditions and the threat or actual use of a foreign military force.

Allow me to compare the actions of the main actor of the Kosovo drama to a bankrupt gambler who has risked all his belongings and bet everything on a single card, regardless of whether he would win or lose case. This comparison has been confirmed by the fact that the Belgrade regime ignores the demands and warnings of the international community and continues, with all of the military and police force assets available, a carefully planned policy of ethnic cleansing. Entire Albanian villages are being destroyed and violent acts directed at civilians.

We are convinced that together we can find the wisdom and political will to find courses of action which will prove to be, similarly to those taken in Bosnia, credible and feasible, and contribute to the settling of the situation in Kosovo in tasks that can be provided by NATO. Undoubtedly, the developments thus far call for immediate and efficient intervention from all of us.

Thank you for your attention!

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