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Slovenian President on official visit to the Republic of Kosovo: "You have found a path giving people cause for optimism for a better future"

Pristina, 10. 9. 2013 | press release

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, has today begun a two-day official visit to the Republic of Kosovo, within which, for the first time in his capacity as President, he will visit Slovenian troops engaged in the KFOR peacekeeping mission. On the margins of the visit, he today met with Kosovo’s President, Ms Atifete Jahjaga, and the Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi. Tomorrow, he will also meet with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi.

President Pahor today first visited KFOR headquarters at Camp Film City, where he was received by the KFOR commander, Major-General Salvatore Ferina, who outlined the security situation in the Republic of Kosovo and thanked Mr Pahor for the contribution of Slovenian troops and Slovenia’s participation in KFOR.

The President then met with Kosovo’s President, Ms Atifete Jahjaga, with whom he discussed the implementation of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, the overall security situation in the Western Balkans and bilateral economic cooperation. Slovenia consolidated its position as key economic partner to Kosovo, since the 2012 value of trade between the two countries amounted to EUR 88 million, while Slovenia is also among the largest investors in Kosovo. The Slovenian President expressed his desire to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation, in which he highlighted the significance of a better investment environment in Kosovo and invited Kosovo’s President to visit Slovenia alongside an economic delegation.

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, has today begun a two-day official visit to the Republic of Kosovo

In his statement to the press, Mr Pahor explained that this was the first visit of a Slovenian president to the Republic of Kosovo. He pointed out that, working with Kosovo’s President, he will strive to improve economic, cultural and other cooperation for the benefit of both countries and their peoples. The Slovenian President recalled that his visit coincides with the successful dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. He emphasised that this was the single largest achievement in terms of wisdom, courage and political will in settling unresolved issues in the Western Balkans. He also expressed his respect to the leaders of both countries and to the people on both sides of the border: "The news that such a complex problem is being resolved so reasonably certainly inspires courage in Europe, currently confronted with extremely difficult problems in resolving other issues," he noted.

Mr Pahor today also met with the Speaker of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi. Their talks focused on the significant role of Kosovo’s parliament in adopting reforms relevant to potential EU membership. In this context, President Pahor emphasised that the reforms should primarily focus on people’s needs.

In the evening, President Pahor attended a gala dinner held in his honour by the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Ms Atifete Jahjaga.

Tomorrow, the Slovenian President will visit the representatives of the Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) within KFOR and Slovenian troops engaged in the KFOR peacekeeping mission, which is the largest SAF mission abroad. The main purpose of his visit, in his capacity both as President and as Commander-in-Chief of Defence Forces, will be to express his support and thanks for their unselfish and professional commitment. President Pahor will tomorrow meet with EU Special Representative in Kosovo, Samuel Žbogar, and conclude his visit by meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi.