STA, 27 February 2019 - President Borut Pahor started his official three-day visit to the UK on Wednesday by meeting Prince Edward and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Pahor and Hunt praised the relations between Slovenia and the UK as very good, with Pahor saying that Slovenia had "genuine interest" for the bilateral relations to strengthen also after Brexit.
The pair assessed that the two countries would be bound by many joint values and tradition also after the UK leaves the EU.
The UK will remain Slovenia's important business partner and an alley within NATO. The two countries share the awareness of the importance of multilateralism, security and stability, and progress in the world in general, especially in Europe, Pahor's office said in a press release.
Predsednik republike Borut Pahor se je v okviru uradnega obiska v Združenem kraljestvu danes sestal z ministrom za zunanje zadeve Jeremyjem Huntom. pic.twitter.com/LsmKKZon1f— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) February 27, 2019
Slovenia and the UK are enhancing their cooperation in business, tourism, investment, science, education and culture. Trade between the countries has been rising and has exceeded EUR 1bn for the first time last year.
Hunt presented to Pahor the parliamentary procedure for the passage of the Brexit agreement and the UK's possible scenarios for the future.
Pahor stressed the importance of finding appropriate solutions both for the EU and the UK and the responsibility in the efforts for the passage of the Brexit agreement as the best possible compromise solution that would enable an orderly Brexit and mitigate the potential negative consequences for the people and the economies.
Apology accepted over “vassal state” remark, Pahor will meet the Queen
Hunt raised some dust during his visit to Slovenia last week for referring to Slovenia as a former "Soviet vassal state". He and Pahor discussed the issue today with Pahor saying on Twitter that Hunt had started the conversation by offering an explanation, which Pahor accepted as an apology.
The Slovenian Foreign Ministry told the STA today that the British side had turned to the ministry about the matter after Hunt's visit. The ministry explained it to the British ambassador that Hunt's statement had been inappropriate and had caused unease.
Foreign Minister Miro Cerar is expected to discuss this with Hunt at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers, the ministry added.
Pahor's talks with Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, earlier in the day focussed on the the Duke of Edinburgh's award for young people as part of the MEPI programme. The awards are annually conferred in Slovenia as well.
Princ Edward se je z veseljem spomnil obiska v Sloveniji, ko sta s soprogo Sophie, grofico Wesseško, leta 2013 prvikrat obiskala Ljubljano in se srečala s predsednikom Republike Slovenije Borutom Pahorjem in gospo Tanjo Pečar. pic.twitter.com/FP40f1xyfX— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) February 27, 2019
According to Pahor's office, Prince Edward shared his memories of his visit to Slovenia in 2013, during which he and his wife Sophie had been received by Pahor.
The prince also accepted Pahor's invitation to visit Slovenia again soon.
Later in the afternoon, Pahor gave a lecture on the global positioning of Europe at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
He will continue his official visit on Thursday by meeting Queen Elizabeth II, the representatives of both houses of the UK Parliament and expectedly also PM Theresa May.
He will address Slovenians living in Britain at a reception in the evening.
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