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President Pahor on the Leaders Panel "Price of Peace or Cost of War": We must do everything we can to bring about an immediate ceasefire and to encourage both sides towards a diplomatic solution. Against NATO imposing a no-fly zone, because it would mean an escalation of the war.

Antalya, Turkey, 11. 3. 2022 | press release

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is today attending the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which is taking place in Antalya, Turkey.President Pahor took part in the official opening of the forum, where the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, addressed the participants.

After the opening, President Pahor spoke on the main panel of this year’s forum, which was entitled "Price of Peace or Cost of War". President Pahor was joined in the debate by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum and the Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal (via video link).

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is today attending the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS

In the debate, President Pahor said that he fully shared the views of NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg on NATO’s role in responding to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Enforcing a no-fly zone above Ukraine was not the right solution, as there was no legal basis for it and it would be politically damaging. Ukraine is not a NATO member. NATO and the European Union must help in every other way, however. "Ukraine is a sovereign country that has the right to choose its own foreign and security policy," he stressed.

President Pahor said that we all admired the courage of President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine, who had responded so heroically to the attack, adding that it was important to recognise their wisdom in showing willingness to negotiate in this situation. He called for an immediate end to the war, for negotiations and for peaceful settlement of the conflict.

In this regard, he added that some people might have been disappointed by the meeting of the Ukrainian and Russian Foreign Ministers in Antalya yesterday, as it did not result in any notable success. He, however, was not one of them. He considers that the meeting was important as it gives us precious hope that in the coming days and weeks there will be more productive meetings and talks, which are the only way towards a peaceful solution.

Asked about Ukraine’s fast-tracked entry into the European Union, President Pahor said that he had been warning for a long time that EU enlargement was becoming a pivotal geopolitical and strategic issue. In this regard, he reiterated the importance of EU enlargement for peace and stability in the Western Balkans. He stressed that the EU should speed up the enlargement process in the Western Balkans and grant Bosnia and Herzegovina candidate status as soon as possible.

President Pahor closed by calling on all of us to do our utmost to contain the dangerous threat of spreading war and to encourage both sides to return to dialogue, thus demonstrating the power that diplomacy can have.

The Antalya Diplomacy Forum is a meeting of political leaders, diplomats, public opinion leaders and academicians. It has established itself as an excellent platform for regional and global reflections from diplomacy, security policy and the business world, as well as for exchanging views and addressing international challenges.

On the margins of the forum, President Pahor will hold a bilateral meeting with the host, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is today attending the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS