The first president of independent Slovenia believes that his country's path to independence, as "a peaceful exercise of the right to self-determination," could provide a "good example" for Catalonia to follow.
Milan Kucan weighed in on the controversy over comments by president Quim Torra after his trip to the Balkan country last week, accusing some interpretations of Slovenia's history as showing "ignorance" of the facts.
Following his trip, Torra made comments suggesting that Catalonia should follow the Slovenian path to independence, which raised a storm among unionists in Spain, many of whom accused the president of advocating violence and insurrection.
However, in a statement on Wednesday, Kucan said that some of the comments about Slovenia had no "real basis": "The Slovenian way was extremely peaceful," he insisted.
Kucan: Conflict was "imposed" by Yugoslavia
The conflict that took place in the country during its transition to independence was "imposed," said Kucan, when federal Yugoslav troops attacked the day after the declaration of independence in June 1991.
Kucan pointed out that the war lasted 10 days, causing the deaths of 76 people, mostly Yugoslav soldiers, and he attributed the conflict to the "political blindness" of the federal government at the time.
Earlier in the day, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez harshly criticized Torra for his comments, saying "supporting the Kosovar or Slovenian way shows an ignorance of history and is unacceptable manipulation."
Yet, in his statement, Kucan argues that Slovenia is an "illustrative" example showing that nations that want to exercise their right to self-determination by democratic means cannot be "suppressed" by "political or military" violence.
It is for this reason, says the Slovenian president, that the Balkan country supports the right of Catalans to decide their political future by following a "democratic path," and also explains his condemnation of the heavy-handed tactics used by Spanish police during the October 1 referendum.
Spanish ambassador to meet Slovenian foreign ministry
On Thursday, the Spanish ambassador in Slovenia will meet the Balkan country's foreign ministry to address the issue of the government in Madrid linking the Slovenian path to independence with violence.
Despite media reports suggesting that the ambassador had been summoned to the meeting by the Slovenian authorities, the executive in Madrid on Wednesday said that the Spanish foreign ministry had demanded the meeting.