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Yugoslavia: Slovenia Intensifies Efforts To Solve Kosovo Crisis

Prague, 3 August 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek says his country will use its chairmanship of the UN Security Council to intensify efforts to find a solution to the Kosovo conflict. Slovenia, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, took over the chairmanship on August 1.

Drnovsek, speaking at a press conference at RFE/RL headquarters in Prague on Saturday (Aug. 1), said Slovenia can have a special role in finding a solution for Serbia's violent Kosovo province because of its position and experience in the region. Slovenia was the first republic to break away from former Yugoslavia, blaming Serb nationalism for the breakup of the country.

However, he said Slovenia has to be content to give advice to U.S. and other international mediators because most Serbs do not regard Slovenia as a neutral negotiator. He said many Serbs still blame Slovenia for the breakup of old Yugoslavia.

On other issues, Drnovsek said membership in the European Union is his country's top priority, and he said Slovenia will have less trouble adapting to EU rules than will other applicant countries from Central and Eastern Europe. He also said that once Slovenia is a member of the EU, NATO membership will follow almost automatically.