As Melania Trump prepares to move into the White House, the future first lady’s native Slovenia is offering to serve as a mediator between her husband and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, once Donald Trump takes office.
Slovenia’s prime minister, Miro Cerar, said in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday that the tiny Alpine state where Melania Trump was born and raised “could become a bridge between the two superpowers”, which have been at odds over a number of issues.
Although a member of the European Union and abiding by the bloc’s sanctions against the Kremlin for its role in undermining Ukraine, Slovenia has maintained warm relations with its Slavic ally. Putin has twice visited Slovenia.
During the US presidential campaign, Trump and Putin expressed respect for each other.
“If the United States and Russia give some initiative in this way, Slovenia could of course become a bridge between the two superpowers,” Cerar said. “We proved that we are quite capable of organizing such meetings.”
In June 2001, former president George W Bush and Putin had their first face-to-face meeting in Slovenia to explore the possibility of compromise on US missile defense plans that Moscow had bitterly opposed.
Born Melanija Knavs, Melania Trump, 46, left Slovenia in her twenties to pursue an international modeling career. The last time she visited her native country was in July 2002, when she introduced Donald Trump to her parents at the lakeside Grand Hotel Toplice in the resort town of Bled two years before the couple’s engagement.
Cerar said he received a phone call from her last week.
“She was very charming,” Cerar said at his offices in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. “We talked in Slovene language and I congratulated her and her husband for the great [electoral] success.