Borut Pahor, President of Slovenia: “John McCain was a strong, brave, honest and kind politician. When we met for the first time in February 1991 in Washington, he was the only high-ranking US politician who was open to Slovenian independence. He was a friend all the way through.”

Senator John McCain on Slovenia: Yes, the friendship between the United States and Slovenia was forged in the crucible of world war. It was strengthened further in the Cold War through U.S. support to the former Yugoslavia as it defended itself in the darkest days of the Stalin era. And in the last quarter century, our friendship was solidified as Slovenia achieved its independence, joined NATO and the European Union, and participated in joint military missions in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and now in Iraq in the fight against ISIS.  

Our friendship grows stronger today as the United States and Slovenia stand together as NATO allies to defend against threats to a Europe whole, free, and at peace—aggressive nations that seek to redraw the borders of Europe through violence, and terrorists who seek to destroy our common civilization.” (State Department)

Senator McCain’s Trip to Slovenia in April 2017

Senator John McCain statement in April 2017: “I am deeply grateful to President Pahor for his invitation to visit Slovenia and to the people of Slovenia for their hospitality during my visit. As we mark the 25th anniversary of U.S.-Slovenia relations, we celebrate the close partnership between our two countries and look forward to the opportunities ahead to enhance our cooperation.

In my meetings with President Pahor and other government officials, I expressed my appreciation for Slovenia’s contributions to international coalitions, from Kosovo to Afghanistan to the fight against ISIL. While I offered my hope that Slovenia will follow through on its defense spending commitments as a member of NATO, these contributions to our alliance must never be diminished or forgotten.

I also conveyed my deep concern about Russia’s destabilizing behavior in Europe, particularly its flagrant violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and annexation of Crimea. I welcome the Slovenian government’s affirmation of support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the need for Russia to fulfill its commitments under the Minsk accords. Until Russia returns to compliance with international law, it is vital that the United States and the European Union maintain strong sanctions on the Russian government.

The United States’ commitment to NATO is ironclad. That is why I was honored to meet with members of the Slovenian Armed Forces deploying to support NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia. Slovenia’s willingness to send these troops to NATO’s eastern flank is a powerful demonstration of its commitment to the NATO alliance and the defense of our common security and shared values.

Encouraged by the progress of the last 25 years of U.S.-Slovenia relations, I look forward to future discussions on strengthening the enduring bonds of friendship between our two countries.” (Senator McCain)

 

Senator John McCain Remarks at Commemoration Ceremony at Andraz nad Polzelo in April 2017:

Mister President, Madame Minister, Mister Mayor, Generals, dear friends: it is a great honor to be invited to join you here in Andraž to remember the service and sacrifice of ten brave Americans, and to celebrate the enduring bond of friendship between the United States and Slovenia that is their legacy. 

They were the crew of “Dark Eyes,” an American B-17 bomber that flew 80 missions during the Second World War in the skies above occupied France, fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany. By now, the story of “Dark Eyes” and her crew is familiar to many of you. On March 19, 1944—on her way to attack a Nazi supply plant in Austria—“Dark Eyes” was shot down by German fighters, and crashed here among these beautiful hills. Eight of the crew lost their lives that day. Two others spent the remainder of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp.  

Many of you also know that “Dark Eyes” was not the only American aircraft shot down over Slovenia. There was also “Je Reviens”, another B-17 whose crew parachuted into Slovenia and were fortunate to be discovered by a friendly Partisan. The American crew followed their new Slovenian comrade, who led them on a five-day journey through enemy territory to safety.  (Full remarks available at US Embassy in Slovenia)