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COMMUNICATIONS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OF ITS POSITION ON RESTITUTION OF PROPERTY CONFISCATED BY THE COMMUNIST REGIME
- 20 March 1997
Meeting of Daniel Fried, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, Central and Eastern European Affairs, National Security Council, with Janez Podobnik, President of the Slovenian Parliament, in Washington:
Ljubljana paper "Delo" of 08 April 1997 reported that Fried said to Podobnik that "a new small problem" has arisen in connection with Slovenia's aspirations to be included in NATO, viz., "the question of denationalization [Restitution] of confiscated property. Fried reportedly made a friendly suggestion that Slovenia should resolve the problem fairly and swiftly. According to a source that was present at the meeting, Podobnik was visibly surprised at the remark.
- 23 May 1997
Meeting of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with Slovenia's Premier Janez Drnovsek in Washington DC:
The Slovenian Embassy in Washington reported to the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the meting of Secretary of State Albright and Premier Drnovsek. The report was provided to Slovenian Association of Former Owners of Expropriated Property (ZLRP) in Ljubljana, Slovenia by a friendly member of the Slovenian Parliament. According to the report Secretary Albright advised Drnovšek that the United States position was that Slovenia should resolve the following problems at the earliest possible time:
- Acceleration and completion of the privatization process. Here she she gave as examples several areas which have not been privatized (insurance, banking and particularly, iron works);
- Limitations on foreigners to own real estate in Slovenia. Until this question is resolved it will have a discouraging effect on foreign investors. Albright urged that Slovenia move forward with the implementation of the Spanish Accord.
- Restitution of property to expropriated persons,, i.e., completion of the denationalization [restitution] process. She said that a given number of United States citizens who have been expropriated still have outstanding claims and that she expects that this question will be resolved in accordance with the law.
The Department of State was unhappy that we published the above information on the meeting and impressed on the Slovenian Ambassador (Ernest Petri ) that it desires that Slovenia's government be more discreet.
On 10 June 1997 we requested the Department of State for a copy of the Memorandum of Meeting with the Slovenian Premier under the authority of Executive Order 12958 of April 17, 1995 but we did not receive a response.
- 10 July 1997
Meeting of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright with Slovenia's Premier Janez Drnovsek in Ljubljana, Slovenia:
According to the letter dated February 23, 1998 from the Department of State Desk Officer for Slovenia, Paul Pfeuffer, the Secretary of State repeated her recommendations quoted above to the Slovenian prime minister and foreign minister.
- 23 February 1998
Letter of Country Officer for Slovenia Paul Pfeuffer to Slovenian Association of Former Owners of Expropriated Property (ZLRP) in Ljubljana, Slovenia: "It is firm U.S. policy to promote restitution of and/or compensation for property expropriated by former communist governments of Central and Eastern Europe by encouraging these countries to settle property claims in a just, fair, timely, and non-discriminatory way."
"This Administration has taken every opportunity to impress on the Slovene government the importance of addressing expropriated property claims swiftly and equitably. During Secretary Albright's visit to Slovenia last July , she emphasized to the prime minister and foreign minister the importance the United States attaches to developments in this area. She made similar points to the prime minister in Washington in May . In January of this year , a high-level U.S. government delegation visited Slovenia to discuss bilateral cooperation; at that time, the issue of property restitution was also addressed."
22 May 1998
Congressman Steny H. Hoyer, Ranking member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and Congressman John Edward Porter, member of the CSCE, wrote a letter to Slovenia's Premier Drnovsek urging that his government effect restitution of property in a fair, equitable and timely manner. The letter was hand delivered to the Premier by Congressman Porter.
16 June 1998
At the nomination hearing for the Ambassador to Slovenia Nancy Halliday Ely-Raphel, Senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon asked the only question of the nominee, viz., her views on the property restitution problems in Slovenia. Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., stated at the conclusion of the hearing that the he and members of the Committee on Foreign Relations will be watching with interest how Slovenia goes about the resolution of pending restitution claims.