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Sotla Meeting in a spirit of sincere friendship

Sotla, 7. 9. 2014 | press release

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, and the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo Josipović, today attended the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the “Sotla - A Valley of Health Springs” Tourist Zone.

In his address, Slovenian President Borut Pahor said that he did not want to miss any opportunities to strengthen the friendship between the two countries. He also recalled the times when this friendship was put to the test. He stressed that, for the meeting, “no other place was more symbolic than a bridge connecting the two nations”.

Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Croatian President Ivo Josipović today attended the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the “Sotla - A Valley of Health Springs” Tourist Zone.
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA
Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

President Pahor said that the vast majority of outstanding issues between Slovenia and Croatia arising from the disintegration of the former common state had been resolved. “Today we have a great responsibility to continue nurturing this good legacy that we have managed to establish through common sense and courage in recent years," he pointed out. The Slovenian President stressed that such meetings were important and that we should not miss the opportunity to "encourage one another to think good thoughts, display common sense, demonstrate tolerance and think about how to make the world around us better.” In his opinion, both the local mayors and the great majority of those who are responsible for the fate of the two countries and "our great homeland, the European Union” thought in the same way.
In his address, President Josipović emphasised that such gatherings and friendships between people in the border regions have ensured that politicians have never managed to undermine relations between the two nations . He recalled that in the Slovenian referendum on Croatia’s EU membership, the strongest support for Croatia had been registered in the Slovenian areas bordering with Croatia.

Today's event was organised by the municipalities of Podčetrtek and Zagorska sela, on a bridge connecting Slovenia and Croatia, with a view to celebrating the 10th anniversary of outstanding cooperation. The cultural and entertainment programmes were organised by the two municipalities together, since they desire through the traditional meeting of citizens from both sides of the border to encourage neighbours to socialise, connect and help one another. The meeting was held in a sincere and friendly atmosphere between the two presidents and people on either side of the Sotla river. The two presidents committed themselves to strengthening the bonds of friendship between them and between the people of the two countries.

After the completion of the cultural programme, the two presidents accompanied by the two mayors took a stroll first on the Slovenian side of the border and then on the Croatian side, where they met local and other guests and visited stalls offering local delicacies, and then followed a tug-of-war contest.