I have so many fond memories of Ljubljana, not least of all because my two youngest children were born there. Moreover, I was also witness to a moment that changed the history of this city and of all Slovenia. In those difficult yet extraordinary months, I also had the privilege of meeting people who bravely shouldered the responsibility for difficult decisions, first of all President Kučan, who was always a valuable point of reference throughout my mission and who I have continued to consider my friend. Then there was Foreign Minister Rupel, with whom I was able to converse in Italian and with whom I shared the exciting, dramatic weeks preceding June 1991, leading up to the night when President Kučan proclaimed the country’s independence while a plane flew menacingly overhead. A great friendship – and, I hope, mutual respect – also developed with Minister Rupel. In the months when independent Slovenia was created, I did my best to explain to Rome the meaning of what was happening, convinced that two countries who were friends, as Slovenia and Italy were and still are, should tackle that difficult transition by consolidating solidarity and without fear.
For this and other reasons, I was very proud – I still am very proud – to be first Italian Ambassador to Slovenia. And two decades on, I am delighted to be able to send a greeting to all my Slovenian friends, with whom I was honoured to share that experience. I extend my most affectionate congratulations for this important anniversary.
Fabio Christiani, first Italian Ambassador to Slovenia