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Slovenia Business Week no. 30: Prime Minister Says NATO a "Vital" Organisation

The meeting of NATO defence ministers in Portoroz has shown that the alliance is a "vital organisation capable of taking real-time decisions," Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said on Friday, 29 September after holding talks with the NATO secretary general as well as the foreign ministers of Russia and the US on the margins of the meeting

Jansa told the press that talks with NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer focused on Slovenia's activities in the KFOR force in Kosovo. He pointed out that next year Slovenia will deploy an additional battalion in Kosovo and get its own area of control for the first time since it has been taking part in NATO operations.  

Jansa said that a decision on the final status of Kosovo should be taken soon, since it is also "a basis for the good performance of NATO forces in the province." This is a key prospect which can determine the time frame of the activities, he added.  

Talks with US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld also revolved around Slovenia's participation in the alliance, in particular in Southeast Europe.  

"I informed Rumsfeld that it is in the interest of Slovenia as well as NATO that Slovenia operate where it can make the biggest contribution. SE Europe - the Western Balkans - is where we can contribute the most," he said, adding that this was where the effects of Slovenia's activities were the best.  

According to Jansa, talks with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov meanwhile touched on broader, inter-governmental cooperation, Jansa said.  

He recalled that the two countries had signed an accord on military cooperation during a Slovenian government visit to Moscow earlier this year, as part of which a Russian war ship would visit Slovenia in November.  

Jansa praised progress in cooperation in the economy after the government visit, and noted that trade had already exceeded one billion dollars.

Author: STA, Slovenian National Press Agency