Ili u zatvor ili za ambasadora*

*Either a prisoner or an ambassador (an old Serbian adage)

Celebrations have ended, speeches were given, nods were exchanged. The Prez gave an address on Tuesday, warning that the world around us is changing and that organisations like EU, NATO and UN have to either reinforce or reinvent themselves. He also took a pot-shot at the way the government of Janez Janša is treating the judicial branch (changing the penal code in haste, not respecting decisions of the Constitutional court), and so on. The entire text is available here, English translation pending (hopefully).

The Prez and the FM in the back. Years ago Rupel was Türk’s boss

However, fun began an hour or so before the address, as The Prez said in an interview that he will not sign demissions of several Slovene ambassadors prior to elections on 21 September. The catch is that four-year terms of a handsome number of Slovene ambassadors to capitals like London, Washington and Vienna (to name a few) have ended and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposed replacements, which – according to the constitution – must be approved by the President (one of the very few powers the President actually has).

As almost anywhere in the world, in Slovenia too ambassadorial positions are both political and diplomatic. It was more than once that a person with little diplomatic skill was named ambassador to a certain country either as a reward for something or as a punishment (in accordance with an old Serbian adage Either a prisoner or an ambassador (Ili u zatvor ili za ambasadora)) and despite the fact that we’re looking at a regular end of a cycle, naming new ambassadors raises evebrows. Because it is quite possible that high ranking politicians are seeking refuge in the face of what is increasingly looking as a change at the helm of this country. Although the foreign ministry claims that all proposed names are career diplomats, roumors have it that names like Iztok Jarc (Minsiter of Agriculture), Matjaž Šinkovec (senior ministry official and former head of the Slovene intelligence agency) and even the foreign minister himself are among the names. Granted, all of them have already served as ambassadors – with some distinction, might I add – but fact of the matter is that at the moment all three are high-ranking political figures.

The Prez, himself one of the most distinguished ambassadors this country ever had, will have none of it. Bang! He said that he will wait with naming new ambassadors until election are over with and thus slammed the door really hard on the foreign ministry and Dimitrij Rupel himself who is apparently eyeing an ambassadorial job in Vienna (possibly something to do with Benita Ferrero Waldner, former Austrian FM with whom he apparently really gets along, if you catch my drift).

Foreign ministry reacted with a two-page statement, written in a recognisible “enumeration” style which suggest that it was written by FM Rupel himself. The statement more or less goes “what the fuck do you mean you won’t name new ambassadors, you fuck, do you know who I am?”, but does it in diplomatic lingo, naturally 😀 . It is a well known fact that Rupel and Türk can’t stand each other. Apparently the former thinks of the latter as overly-ambitious, whereas the latter thinks of the former as utterly incompetent (a notion which pengovsky shares 🙂 )

Despite their personal animosity I think The Prez is right. One, naming ambassadors just prior to elections is extremely bad sport. It’s been done before by LDS government(s), but it never won a lot of friends. It is time to put a stop to bad practices (mostly done under the tenure of FM Rupel, mind you – he served under LDS as well). Secondly, the Prez can deside on ambassadors as he sees fit. Period. There are no ifs and buts to it. The Prez has spoken and the minsitry should accept it without hesitation. Instead it is issuing diplomatic notes as if The Prez is another country and the Ministry is defending Slovene international positions. You don’t really argue with your president. Especially if it is you who is up for re-election. And thirdly, it in extremely bad taste that (provided rumours are true) a foreign minister should propose himself as an ambassador.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

12 thoughts on “Ili u zatvor ili za ambasadora*”

  1. It would seem our foreign minister is not as noticeable as he would LOVE to be: DER SPIEGEL wrote about the Irland-summit of the EU and mentioned the Slovenian PM Janez Jansa along with his foreign minister, Janez Lenarčič :mrgreen: … They did correct the name in the online article but not in the printed version.

    So maybe Vienna could bring some more (noto-) fame to our foreign minister.

  2. The online article is corrected because I sent a correction to the editor yesterday. 🙂

  3. Rupel should be retired (maybe you could start a campaign to achieve this) and banned from all domains of public life. He might have had some rhetoric skills at the onset of his career but it is all gone now. He never had any moral or political authority.

  4. I love the 6th point of the Ministry’s response: “well, the previous government did it, too.” If I remember correctly, there was quite some outrage about those previous pre-election appointments from the non-ruling parties of the time (and rightly so). Now that those same parties are in power, however, appointing new ambassadors a couple of weeks before election Sunday is apparently a perfectly acceptable enterprise.

  5. Of course. It’s a classic case of “you did it, so why can’t I”.

    What Janša, Rupel & Co. don’t get is that they were elected because they promised to do a better job than anyone else. And now they doing it exactly the same way as everyone before them.

  6. I see you have again excelled yourselve in your propaganda writings, Pengy. Did you too take a quick journalists course for dummies by the professor Zdenko Roter? Or are you self-educated in which case I give you my “compliments”. Very few people are capable of such extraordinary accomplishments.

    ***Although the foreign ministry claims that all proposed names are career diplomats…***

    If I am not mistaken all three fellows mentioned in your article have been ambassadors before. Before Iztok Jarc became Minister for Agriculture he served as Ambassador in Israel. It didn’t appear to have bother anyone back then. Dimitrij Rupel was ambassador in USA and Matjaz Sinkovec was for several years the Slovenian ambassador in Brussel and NATO. They have all been named to these posts by LDS governments, which as you yourselve noted were famous for always getting things right. With all this said it appears to me that they are more than qualified for the job. At least when you compare their credentials with the ones of self-proclaimed “career diplomats” (if such thing ever existed in a squamble called Yugoslavia or independent Slovenia) like to us well-known Mr. Setinc, who in normal circumstances would be cleaning the septic tanks in Spodni Duplek if his name wouldn’t be Setinc. But then again I think you know this feeling very well, don’t you? 🙂

  7. Charlie! Wassup! :mrgreen:

    You don’t read really well, do you? Because if you did, you would no doubt have caught the following sentence (end of paragraph three):

    Granted, all of them have already served as ambassadors – with some distinction, might I add – but fact of the matter is that at the moment all three are high-ranking political figures

    So regardless of your continually manipulative interpretations of my posts (I’m sure Branko Grims is extremely proud of you :D) the fact remains that I a) acknowledged that the trio served as ambassadors before, b) that all of them are high ranking officials of this government now and c) that the whole thing is taking place two-and-a-half months before the elections.

    Not to mention the fact that Dimitrij Rupel proposed himself as an ambassador (poor taste) and that publicly defied the President who does have the final say over the matter (extremely bad taste).

    As far cleaning septic tanks in Spodnji Duplek – yes, I know the feeling very well, thank you very much. Each time you take a crap on this blog it stinks for weeks to come, no matter how much I clean up after you. But hey, that’s life!

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