United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek arrived in Ljubljana in the evening of Friday, 25 January.
The Secretary-General had a tête-à-tête meeting with Prime Minister Janez Janša, a meeting which Mr. Ban qualified as very constructive during the media encounter that followed at Brdo Castle. During that joint press conference, the Secretary-General congratulated Slovenia for its leadership role as President of the European Union and for identifying as its priorities global concerns such as climate change and intercultural dialogue. He assured Prime Minister Janša that the United Nations would closely coordinate with the Slovene presidency of the European Union on issues like the Millennium Development Goals. “I have found Slovenia to have a reach far greater than its size,” the Secretary-General said, noting the role played by Slovene peacekeepers in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Iraq. “Last year,” he added, “more than 18 per cent of Slovenia’s Armed Forces took part in UN Security Council-mandated missions.”
Responding to a question on the future status of Kosovo, the Secretary-General expressed his concern that no compromise solution has been reached among the parties and that the Security Council still remains deeply divided on the way forward. “If the impasse continues, we could face a situation in which events on the ground take on a momentum of their own. Whatever the options may be, my paramount concerns will be to protect lives, to uphold international peace and security, and overall stability in Kosovo.”
The next day, the Secretary-General met with President Danilo Türk. They discussed climate change with President Türk’s upcoming participation in the General Assembly special meeting in New York on 12 February. The Secretary-General also met the first Slovene President, Milan Kučan. Later that evening, the Secretary-General and Madam Ban Soon-taek visited the Centre for European Perspective at Jable Castle, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel. The Secretary-General praised the Centre’s initiative of a task force for intercultural dialogue, to foster a better discourse between Islam and the West.
The Secretary-General and Madam Ban Soon-taek left Slovenia early on Sunday, 27 January, for Slovakia.