President Pahor attends a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II

Warsaw, 1. 9. 2019 | press release

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is attending a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. The meeting of the world leaders is the main global event and is intended to confirm our shared commitment to peacekeeping.

President Pahor attends a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The Republic of Slovenia attaches great symbolic importance to this event, since such celebrations are a reminder of the horrors of war, thus consolidating reconciliation between European nations.

Delegations from more than 40 countries attended the main ceremony at Piłsudski Square in Warsaw. More than 250 distinguished guests, including at least 20 heads of state, arrived. In their speeches, the Polish and German presidents Andrzej Duda and Frank-Walter Steinmeier emphasised the importance of having a shared commitment to peacekeeping.

The participating leaders symbolically rang a bell of peace that was brought for this occasion from a church destroyed in Wielun at the beginning of World War II to confirm their shared commitment to peacekeeping. After the last individual ringing of this bell, the bells of all the churches in Warsaw began to ring at the same time. This was followed by the laying of a wreath at the grave of an unknown soldier.

On the margins of the ceremony, President Pahor held a bilateral meeting with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. President Pahor congratulated the Ukrainian President on winning the parliamentary elections and welcomed the fact that the elections were in accordance with international standards, which confirmed Ukraine's strong commitment to democracy.

Presidents Pahor and Zelensky expressed satisfaction with the excellent and friendly relations between the two countries, which is reflected in regular political dialogue and frequent high-level visits. They expressed interest in strengthening bilateral ties and mutually beneficial cooperation.

The statesmen also spoke about Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic aspirations and the reform process that Ukraine is pursuing on its path towards achieving the standards of the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance. President Pahor welcomed Ukraine's commitment to reforms and the significant progress in a number of areas, and stressed the importance of effectively implementing the reforms. He welcomed President Zelensky's priorities in the reform programme and wished him success in implementing his ambitious programme. President Pahor also expressed readiness to further assist Ukraine in implementing its reform programme, particularly in the field of decentralisation, where Slovenia is interested in strengthening the existing cooperation under the U-LEAD with Europe project.

Development and humanitarian cooperation between the two countries has been well established. President Pahor said that last month Slovenia had hosted 64 Ukrainian children affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine in order to provide psychosocial and medical rehabilitation.President Pahor reiterated Slovenia's position that the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation is a violation of international law - Slovenia will continue to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

President Pahor also later met with the President of the Republic of Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputova. Presidents Pahor and Čaputová both confirmed the traditionally good and friendly relations between the two countries, with no outstanding issues, and welcomed open dialogue at all levels. The Presidents agreed on the importance of continuing regular political dialogue in the near future. President Pahor added that it had been a great pleasure for him to host President Andrei Kiska, who paid an official visit to Slovenia in April 2018. Slovakia is one of the most important foreign trade partners of the Republic of Slovenia, as evidenced by the long-term growth of all components of economic cooperation; in 2018, trade in goods exceeded EUR one billion for the first time.

They touched upon topical EU issues and expressed support for further European integration. They agreed that a strong European Union can only be based on respect for the rule of law, solidarity and social justice. Slovenia and Slovakia share similar interests in the EU, and often similar views, particularly as regards the internal market.

President Pahor attends a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

President Pahor attends a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA