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A memorial was unveiled in Gotenica today to thank the employees of Gotenica Training Centre for their contribution to protecting the independence processes and activities during the war for Slovenia.

The ceremony was attended by Janko Goršek, Director General of the Police, Anton Vozelj, Director of the Police Academy, Dr Vladimir Prebilič, Mayor of Kočevje, members of the Sever Ljubljana and Sever Special Unit police veteran societies, and Milan Kučan, the former Slovenian President.

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Janko Goršek said it was only right to enjoy past successes since there are many given the short history of Slovenia. "I am especially glad that the Police is one of the success stories in our country's history. The firm refusal to disarm the Territorial Defence of Slovenia set Slovenia's democratisation process in motion. Through a tactical relocation of weapons to hidden warehouses, a good standard of physical protection of the hidden location and, last but not least, close cooperation with the civilian population, we managed to retain our assets - without these, we would not have been able to achieve our independence, bearing in mind the circumstances and balance of power at the time," added the Director General.

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Stored weapons, ammunition and equipment were distributed to Territorial Defence units throughout Slovenia prior to June 1991. Gotenica also served as a safe haven for members of the Air Support police unit and their five helicopters. In June 1991 the Slovenian film archives were brought to Gotenica from Belgrade. They were stored in an underground shelter, thereby providing Slovenia with a permanent historical resource on the development of Slovenian film. During the first days of the war, Gotenica also supplied food to the first wave of Slovenian soldiers stationed at Medvednjak.

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'The unveiling of this memorial represents an expression of our gratitude to the employees of Gotenica Training and Supply Centre who helped to protect the independence processes and activities carried out during the war for Slovenia, and contributed to us living in the democratic and safe country we know of today,' stressed Goršek. Eighty-seven people were awarded memorial decorations. 'These memorial decorations are a token of our appreciation of the work you undertook during the independence war,' added the Director General who then thanked the memorial recipients on behalf of the Police for their brave deeds.