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The time has come for Slovenia to take a look around the world, present itself and make a statement

Ljubljana, 09/26/2006  |  press release

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Janez Drnovšek, gives a brief statement about the so-called excessive squandering by the President:

"I would like us to end the unproductive discussion on the financing of the Office of the President of the Republic of Slovenia and on who is to blame for what. I hope that this will never happen again in Slovenia.

Nevertheless, I would like to add a few words on the so-called excessive squandering of funds by the President.

In the past three years in office, I did not travel much and have not accepted all invitations. In the first half of this year, I received three invitations to visit countries on other continents and I decided to accept these invitations. I believe the time has come for Slovenia to take a look around the world, to present itself and make a statement.

I attended the inauguration of Bolivian President Evo Morales. I estimated that this was a historic event, since this is the first indigenous president and the majority indigenous population thus symbolically ended 500 years of colonial tradition. The event attracted global attention and South America’s in particular. People in Bolivia and other countries of Latin America heard my speech and my interviews. When I attended the ancient Indian rituals together with President Morales, I was welcomed by hundreds of thousands of people, and pictures were sent round the world. The following day during a walk through the Bolivian capital I was greeted by numerous passers-by who by then all recognised the Slovenian President although they have never before heard of him or of Slovenia.

My second visit was to India. It lasted only a day and I attended a mass gathering of more than two million people who were joined by the main spiritual leaders of India. In addition to those present at the gathering, my speech was followed by several hundred million spectators in a live broadcast. There is no better opportunity to promote Slovenia in India where the population totals one billion and the spiritual leaders are more respected than the politicians.

My third visit was to China. I attended a big international conference in Boao at the special invitation of the Chinese authorities that attached special significance to my participation. At the conference I addressed the representatives of the biggest Asian, American and European corporations about the importance of sustainable development and their responsibility for it. I also gave a one-hour interview to the biggest Chinese broadcaster with an audience of several hundred million spectators. Slovenia has never before been presented in this way in China.

Because of these visits that were not known and planned beforehand, I exceeded the budgetary funds earmarked for this year. Since the Government did not approve my request for additional funds in time, I was forced to cancel the remaining international visits for this year.

Due to years of my friendship with Spain and the royal couple, I especially regret that I am unable to visit this country. Spain wished to attach special significance to my visit and hence arranged it at the highest protocol level. The Spanish side accepted this cancellation with understanding, although it is clear that this is an extremely unusual development in a democratic world. No other president would be denied the funding of such a visit."
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