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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Controversial invitation of the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in Australia

On 8th April 2014, 52nd meeting of the Committee for Foreign Affairs at the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia was held in Ljubljana. The meeting was attended by members of the Slovenian parliament and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Karl Erjavec.

The Committee agreed that it was indisputable that Mr Nicholas Oman:
- was, at the very least, included in the draft list of invited guests for the opening of the Consulate;
- appeared among guests who attended the opening ceremony in Sunbury;
- appeared among guests at the reception following the opening ceremony at Jadran Club in Diggers Rest, and
- was sitting at the main table together with the Ambassador at the reception in Jadran Club in Diggers Rest.

The Committee was unanimous in the view that it is not in line with Slovenian politics that convicted persons attend Slovenian receptions (Dr Jozef Kunic, PS) and that quite a lot of people in Slovenia do not support and "do not agree that Slovenian politicians, representatives of the government, publicly, at public functions associate with" convicted persons (Dragutin Mate, SDS).

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Karl Erjavec, said that
- the special supervision over the Embassy in Canberra that has been imposed since  the end of March has not yet been finalised;
- he will ask Ambassador Balažic to come for a talk with him in Ljubljana;
- in his view, "ambassadors can only be those who are professional and professional are those who are experts, who are ethical and who inspire public trust with their behaviour ";
- the main question is no longer whether the Ambassador sent an invitation to Mr Oman but "whether it is appropriate that the Ambassador associates with such a person";
- following his talks with Ambassador Balažic, the Minister will decide on further measures;
- this issue is not just a technical but also very much a political question. "It is very much a political question since the Slovenian community in Australia was horrified and remains dissatisfied and therefore this aspect is also becoming important from the political perspective and is no longer just a mere disciplinary procedure".

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