STA, 3 April 2018 - US Ambassador to Slovenia Brent Hartley has expressed surprise at Slovenia's affection for Russia. He told the latest edition of the magazine Reporter that in the long term, Slovenia will have to decide where its interests lie.
Slovenia has not joined the majority of EU members who expelled Russian diplomats over Russia's perceived role in the nerve gas attack in England on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Instead, it decided to temporarily recall its ambassador.
Hartley said Slovenia ought to have joined the UK initiative and expelled Russian diplomats, which he said it could still do because it was "important to send a clear message to Moscow that such conduct is completely unacceptable."
Asked whether he agreed with the assessment of his predecessor that a large portion of Slovenians are pro-Russian, Harley said he was surprised by such affection for Russia.
He acknowledged that this was also a reflection of Slovenia's economic interests and the desire to have good relations with a strong European power.
But he said that Slovenia was independent notwithstanding its complex relations with Russia and should act accordingly.
"In the long term, Slovenians would have to decide what their interest is. Is it the democratic values of the West, the free market, or are they more inclined towards the Russian model of society," he said.