STA, 16 November 2020 - Prime Minister Janez Janša told MPs during questions time on Monday that he would be happy to congratulate whoever is elected US president. The response comes after a series of tweets and retweets by Janša supporting US President Donald Trump's claims of voter fraud.
Answering a question from MP Marjan Šarec about Janša's support for Trump in the light of the latter's underestimation of coronavirus, Janša said that Slovenia nurtured good strategic and partner relations with the US without regard for the administration in charge. "This has been the case in all government's I've led and will remain the case also in the future."
He underlined that the election in the US was not yet over. This happens either when a side concedes or the official results are proclaimed, he said. "Everything before is just politics."
"Some have decided to follow the media wave but I decided the opposite. We'll see who was right. But I guarantee you that this will not affect future relations between Slovenia and the US."
He believes the that relations could even become better because people who had specifically objected steps to establish good relations in the past half a year have now changed their position.
"I hope that you will support unanimously our proposal to the US for placing a US military rotation unit in Slovenia and endorse Slovenia's dedication to meet its obligations in NATO more consistently," Janša also said.
While Janša did not specify, his office said later in the day, answering an STA query about the details, that it does "not comment on the prime minister's words".
It also provided no comment on whether this was perhaps an initiative by Janša's Democrats (SDS).
The STA also asked the foreign and defence ministries whether this was an initiative of Slovenia as a state, but they referred it back to the prime minister's office.
Janša meanwhile tweeted in summer, after the US decided to withdraw its troops from Germany to deploy them in other European countries, that US soldiers would be welcome in Slovenia. At the time the Defence Ministry said there were no talks on the matter under way.
Today Janša also said in parliament that he was very happy with the "pro-American wave" seen recently. "I can hardly imagine that a single tweet can cause such a positive change in the direction of our friendship with the US. I hope this lasts."
He also looked back at the time Slovenia had fought for its independence, saying the US administration at the time had said it would not recognise an independent Slovenia.
"Those who claimed only a few days before Slovenia was attacked that they would never recognise us, recognised us. Some in half a year, others nearly a year later."
Šarec, the former PM, was not satisfied with the answer, noting that he had asked how Janša could be supportive of Trump when the latter had underestimated the severity of the coronavirus. Janša replied that he held no illusions that he could affect actions of the US president.
He also called on the opposition to follow the example of its political predecessors who managed to find unity 30 years ago. Šarec meanwhile demanded that Janša's response be discussed at one of the National Assembly's future sessions.