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President Pahor announces vaccine donations in Sarajevo and reaffirms Slovenia’s support to Bosnia and Herzegovina on its way to EU membership

Sarajevo, 5. 3. 2021 | press release

President of the Republic of Slovenia and Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces Borut Pahor is on a working visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina today. He met with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Chairman of the Presidency Milorad Dodik and Presidency members Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović. In the afternoon, President Pahor is due to visit the contingent of the Slovenian Armed Forces at Camp Butmir. President Pahor is accompanied on this working visit by Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia Matej Tonin.

President Pahor announces vaccine donations in Sarajevo and reaffirms Slovenia’s support to Bosnia and Herzegovina on its way to EU membership
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA

President Pahor first informed the members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina that the Republic of Slovenia will donate 4,800 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Bosnia and Herzegovina, which are to be delivered next week. The vaccine is intended for the most vulnerable social groups and those working in critical infrastructure. Milorad Dodik, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanked President Pahor for the donation and highlighted that friendly Slovenia had once again showed its support and solidarity to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the meeting, the four statesmen also discussed the progress made by Bosnia and Herzegovina towards EU membership, the preparations for the Brdo–Brijuni Process summit, illegal migration and Slovenia’s military presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In his statement to the press, President Pahor said that today’s working visit was his first foreign trip since the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, which indicates the importance Slovenia attaches to its relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans region. He spoke about the preparations for the Brdo–Brijuni Process summit, which will be held in Slovenia at the end of March or beginning of April – as soon as the epidemiological situation allows. The summit will mark the 10th anniversary of the initiative. Leaders of all countries involved in the initiative have already confirmed their attendance and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, has also expressed great interest in participation.

President Pahor reiterated that Slovenia will always advocate for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. This will also be the main topic of the upcoming Brdo–Brijuni Process summit. He added that EU enlargement is a geopolitical issue and that the EU will not be complete without its enlargement in the Western Balkans. The EU would thus also include a complex area with many unresolved issues, he said; however, allowing all Western Balkans countries to join the EU, of course under certain conditions, would safeguard the EU’s goal of preserving peace, security and prosperity. "Slovenia has been and will remain an ardent supporter of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans. This will also be one of the topics of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU. We feel that the commitment to EU enlargement is Slovenia’s duty and its contribution to a stronger EU," said President Pahor in an answer to a journalist’s question.

The two delegations also discussed the challenges posed by illegal migration. Slovenia and the European Union see Bosnia and Herzegovina as a partner in the resolving of this issue.

President of the Republic of Slovenia and Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces Borut Pahor will conclude the working visit at Camp Butmir in Sarajevo, where he will meet with Major General Alexander Platzer, Commander of EUFOR Operation Althea, Brigadier General Eric Folkestad, Commander of the NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo, and the members of the Slovenian Armed Forces taking part in EUFOR Operation Althea.

President Pahor announces vaccine donations in Sarajevo and reaffirms Slovenia’s support to Bosnia and Herzegovina on its way to EU membership
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA