STA, 27 April 2021 - Foreign Minister Anže Logar said the "phantom non-paper" on Western Balkans that some media attributed to Slovenia does not exist and discussion on that damaged Slovenia as well as Bosnia-Herzegovina, at a debate by the foreign policy and EU affairs committees late on Monday.
The minister reiterated that Slovenia's strategy to Western Balkans had not changed. On the contrary, Slovenia has invested additional efforts since the preparation of an EU-Western Balkans was a major priority for Slovenia's upcoming EU presidency.
"Nobody, and I mean nobody, expects that opposition politicians will denigrate the country in Slovenia just so that they will somehow harm the country this way. This simply does not exist in a developed democratic mentality."
So this is apparently #Slovenia's non-paper, whose existence has been denied, calling for #Bosnia-#Herzegovina's dissolution and the unification of #Kosovo and #Albania, amongst other things. The document was leaked by @necenzurirano_. pic.twitter.com/OhIfWosa2C— Ian Bancroft (@bancroftian) April 15, 2021
The statement came at a joint session requested by the opposition in the aftermath of media reports that Prime Minister Janez Janša had circulated a non-paper that spoke about the redrawing of borders along ethnic lines in the Balkans.
The MPs wanted Janša, who has dismissed the notion that he had anything to do with the published non-paper, to appear live, but he did not attend, quoting other obligations.
President Borut Pahor's foreign policy advisor Smiljana Knez told MPs the president had dedicated a lot of attention to the region for years and was an advocate of he preservation of territorial integrity of countries in the region and the resolution of disputes between them in a neighbourly spirit.
She said Pahor had been warning regional leaders and EU institutions that EU enlargement may not be just a technical process, it should be framed geopolitically.
Knez reiterated Pahor's statement that the president had not been informed of any non-paper concerning Western Balkans that had been the subject of media reports.
Jerneje Jug Jerše, the head of the European Commission's Liaison Office in Slovenia, said the European Commission did not have knowledge about informl documents concerning Western Balkans.
EU officials in general have denied having knowledge of such a non-paper, most recently the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who said yesterday he had not received such a document but had heard about it, adding that this was "a non-issue".
The same message was delivered by Janez Stušek, the director of the Slovenian intelligence agency SOVA, who said the agency did not have information about the existence of an alleged non-paper that is being linked to the Slovenian government.
The agency started checking certain activities concerning this document after it was published in the media, in particular the potential consequences thereof for bilateral relations with Bosnia-Herzegovina and the upcoming EU presidency.
According to Stušek, the agency did not have information indicating that the publication of the document posed a threat to Slovenia's national security, but it assessed that if the alleged non-paper continues to be linked to Slovenia, this could jeopardise its security, economic and political interests in the region.
The story broke non 12 April when a Bosnian portal, politički.ba, published a piece alleging that a non-paper attributed to Slovenia exists.
A Slovenian portal, necenzurirano.si, on 15 April published a document that speaks about redrawing borders. It said its authorship could not be verified.
Logar said that the author of the original article had sold weapons and had been involved in a Bosnian scandal involving medical ventilators.
The Government Communications Office last week issued a denial concerning Slovenian authorship of the alleged non-paper that was circulated to media in the region.