Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Press Avail with PM Janša of Slovenia
August 13, 2020
Thank you, Prime Minister Janša.
I want to thank Foreign Minister Logar, President Pahor, and other Slovenian leaders for making this trip possible and for so graciously hosting me and my team. I appreciate the work everyone put in to make this visit happen. I know that during the time of Corona virus this is especially difficult. You did a lot of work and I thank you for this. This is an important gathering.
When I told President Trump that I was headed to Slovenia he was happy; when I told Mrs. Trump, she was even happier. She was very excited. She knows of your gorgeous country; of course, this is where she is from – where she was born and raised. She said to send her best regards. And I will speak to her about this great visit when I get back to Washington.
We had an excellent set of productive conversations – discussions on a wide range of topics. The Prime Minister spoke about them. They each reflect friendship and strategic partnership between our two countries. This is important now more than ever. The contrast between free and unfree societies has never been clearer, and free nations must work together to confront authoritarian threats. Slovenia has remarkably supported EU sanctions against Russia because it is concerned about its malign activity against Ukraine. But, of course, we face a number of other threats, as well.
Chief among those threats is the Chinese Communist Party and its drive to control people, information, and our economies.
As you just saw, I was very pleased to sign a joint declaration with the Foreign Minister that excludes untrusted vendors from 5G networks. This will benefit the people of this country and all of us who share information across complex network systems.
More and more, here in Europe and in nations around the world, leaders are taking sovereign decisions to protect the privacy and individual liberties of their citizens. Whether it is in Belarus, Lebanon, or Hong Kong, people just want to live in freedom.
I know that Slovenia prides itself on being a science and technology leader – and becoming a 5G “clean country,” as you are doing today, solidifies that position. The tide is turning against the Chinese Communist Party and its efforts to restrict freedom, for all of us.
We also had extensive conversations about stronger trade and investment ties, the opportunities to invest so that each of our economies can bounce back, from where they are today, more strongly, more quickly after this horrible pandemic that was birthed in Wuhan, China.
We also appreciate Slovenia’s strong support for the Three Seas Initiative, and for hosting that successful summit last year. I announced in February of this year that the U.S. would commit up to one billion dollars for sustainable and transparent digital, energy, and infrastructure projects connected to the Three Seas Initiative.
We are pleased to help fund that important partnership. We understand Slovenia is in the process of making its decision. We urge a quick commitment.
In that same vein, I want to applaud Slovenia for setting up an investment screening mechanism to protect its people, and promoting the Blue Dot Network, which sets very high standards to make sure that infrastructure investments make sense and protects the people of your country.
One more note on economic ties; we spoke about the enormous potential of next-generation nuclear technology to deliver clean, reliable, diversified energy that will help ensure political independence and economic prosperity for Slovenia and the entire region.
I am looking forward to productive discussion here in just a few minutes with Slovenian energy executives to get the view from the C-suite leaders of these companies.
Lastly, I want to thank Slovenia for its remarkable leadership in Europe:
You have made the exemplary decision to increase defense spending by nearly 1 billion dollars – this is a testament to your country’s growing commitment to NATO and our collective efforts.
And you have long been a positive force for promoting Balkan countries’ integration with Western institutions. That matters a lot to U.S., and we are deeply appreciative of that.
I know Slovenia will continue to reflect democratic values as you assume the EU presidency next year. We are very much looking forward to working with you in that new and important role for your country.
Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister.
Photo courtesy by Luka Dakskobler