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Official visit of President Pahor to Serbia: Slovenia and Serbia are sincere friends

Beograd, 28. 1. 2019 | press release

At the invitation of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is on an official visit to the Republic of Serbia. This is the second official visit of the Slovenian President to the Republic of Serbia, and signifies the strengthening of good wide-ranging cooperation between the countries.

After an official reception with military honours, the presidents of Slovenia and Serbia had a private meeting, followed by plenary talks between the delegations led by both presidents.

Uradni obisk predsednika Pahorja v Srbiji - sprejem
Photo: STA

President Vučić thanked President Pahor for his visit, pointed out the good cooperation between the two countries and expressed his satisfaction that they would both address the business forum. Economic cooperation has doubled in the last ten years, and is well in excess of EUR 1 billion.

Both presidents agreed that cooperation is good in all fields. Intensive economic relations and rich, versatile cooperation in the fields of science, sports and culture significantly contribute to added value. Therefore, the presidents expressed their desire to continue and enhance cooperation at the political and professional level. President Vučić also thanked President Pahor for joint patronage of the ceremony on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the independence of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the 600th anniversary of the birth of Katarina Kantakuzina Branković, the first Orthodox person in Slovenia, which was held in Maribor on Saturday.

President Pahor assured President Vučić that Slovenia remains Serbia’s ally on its way to the European Union, and confirmed further political support and technical assistance and the exchange of Slovenia experience and expertise in adapting to European standards.

The presidents of Slovenia and Serbia also discussed the participation of both countries within regional initiatives, and regional and international organisations. Slovenia strives for the promotion of good neighbourly relations, the resolution of open issues in the region, reconciliation and the strengthening of regional cooperation.

Regarding Kosovo, President Pahor pointed out that Slovenia supported efforts to normalise relations between Belgrade and Priština, and understood that this was an extremely sensitive and complex internal political issue in Serbia. He added that the issue of the recognition of Kosovo was one of rare issues regarding which the views of Slovenia and Serbia differ. President Pahor expressed his support for the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, the implementation of all agreements and the search for a comprehensive solution. He went on to say that Slovenia supported peaceful negotiations without threats or the use of force, which must result in peaceful enforcement of the agreement without collateral security implications in the region.

Both presidents paid special attention to the meeting of leaders of the countries included in the Brdo-Brijuni Process, which will be held in Albania in 2019. They assessed that the regional initiative has prompted numerous positive shifts in resolving open regional issues.

Uradni obisk predsednika Pahorja v Srbiji - rokovanje
Photo: STA

In the press release, the presidents of Slovenia and Serbia emphasise that relations between the two countries are friendly, and that they believe that the visit would create momentum to boost relations in all fields. Friendly relations between the two countries enable us to openly discuss issues regarding which our views differ, such as the issue of the recognition of Kosovo.

The presidents of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Serbia then attended the opening of the Business Forum Slovenia–Serbia, where they held introductory addresses; President Pahor pointed out the excellent economic cooperation between the two countries and welcomed the interest in advancing it. The Forum was attended by over 600 representatives of business sectors of both countries.

Economic cooperation has a special place in bilateral relations. It is very good, intensive and diverse. Over 1,500 Slovenian companies are registered in Serbia, and they employ approximately 25,000 people between them. Slovenia, which ranks sixth to eighth among foreign investors in Serbia, is the second most important employer among foreign investors in Serbia.

Among the countries of the Western Balkans, Serbia is the most important investment destination of Slovenian companies. Serbia also remains Slovenia's most important trading partner in South-eastern Europe. In recent years, trade in goods has been slightly above EUR 1 billion, and has been increasing. In 2017, the value of trade in goods reached its highest in the last eleven years, amounting to EUR 1.34 billion. President Pahor expressed his belief that this business event would significantly contribute to the better recognisability of Slovenian companies in the Serbian market and to mutual information on business leaders and institutions.

As part of the official visit, President Pahor met the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Maja Gojković, in the afternoon. The President of the Republic of Slovenia and the President of the National Assembly agreed that there are no complex open issues between the two countries, which could not be resolved with political will.

After the meeting with President Gojković, President Pahor gave an official address at a formal sitting of the National Assembly. In his address, he emphasised a sincere commitment to comprehensively deepening friendship and cooperation between the two countries. “I will strive for Slovenians and Serbs to strengthen warm relations. I will do everything in my power for Slovenia and Serbia to cooperate in an exemplary fashion for the benefit of their nations, citizens, the whole region, Europe and the peace and welfare in Europe and around the world,” said President Pahor.

During the visit to the Serbian parliament, the President of the Republic of Slovenia met representatives of all parliamentary parties at a working lunch hosted by President Gojković.

The first day of the official visit will conclude with a state dinner organised by President Vučić in honour of President Pahor.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, will conclude his official visit to the Republic of Serbia by laying a wreath at the Monument to the Unknown Hero on Avala.

Govor predsednika Pahorja na slavnostni seji Narodne skupščine Republike Srbije
Photo: STA