LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples commander highlighted Slovenia’s contributions to transatlantic security during key leader engagements on August 1.
U.S. Navy Admiral James Foggo’s meetings included specific discussions about NATO priorities with Slovenia‘s State Secretaries for Defense and Foreign Affairs, Milos Bizjak and Andrea Logar, as well as Force Commander Brigadier General Milko Petek, among others.
"Slovenia has played an important role to regional stability in Southeastern Europe and the Western Balkans,” Foggo said. "It has contributed troops to KFOR since its inception, and also contributes to the European Union’s Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”
With a population of two million and a military of 7,500, Slovenia has maintained approximately 250 troops in NATO’s KFOR peacekeeping operations for the past 17 years and allocates roughly two-thirds of its bilateral foreign assistance budget to the Western Balkans. Slovenia also supports multiple former Yugoslav nations with joint training, security-sector assistance and information exchanges.
"Slovenian advisors played an important role in Montenegro’s NATO accession preparation,” Foggo said. "They may also have a significant role helping the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* prepare to join the Alliance.”
At NATO’s Summit in July, allies decided to invite FYROM’s leadership to start accession talks toward NATO membership. This follows the historic agreement between Greece and FYROM to resolve a long-standing disagreement over use of the name Macedonia. FYROM’s parliament voted Monday to approve a name change to Northern Macedonia.
Slovenian Navy Captain Gorazd Bartol heads NATO’s Liaison Office in Skopje, FYROM.
Slovenia joined NATO in 2004, and has also been an active contributor to the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan and the NATO-run Afghanistan National Army Trust Fund.
* Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name.
Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office