STA, 11 March 2019 - The Western Balkans and regional initiatives were at the centre of talks between President Borut Pahor and his visiting counterpart from Bulgaria Rumen Radev in Ljubljana on Monday. The presidents confirmed good relations between the countries, underlining that they could still be improved.
Talking to the press after the meeting, Pahor said that political, economic and cultural ties between the two countries were "very lively".
Slovenia considers Bulgaria a strategic partner and the countries have good bilateral relations that are not burdened by anything, he said. Contacts between the countries at the top political level are relatively frequent, he added.
Slovenia opened an embassy in Sofia last year, while Adria Airways has launched a regular route between Ljubljana and the Bulgarian capital, the president noted at their joint press conference.
According to Radev, Slovenia and Bulgaria, located on different sides of the Balkans, each represent stability and security, they steer dialogue and cooperation policies in the interest of security and peace in the Balkans.
"We share the same values and we want peace for the future of our region," Radev underlined.
Pahor presented to Radev Slovenia's preparations for the next Brdo-Brijuni Process Summit scheduled in Tirana, Albania, for May.
Although Bulgaria is not part of this initiative it does have its own, influential, positions about developments in the region, Pahor said.
He added that the atmosphere, cooperation and trust in the region were not ideal at the moment. He wants the summit to send out a message that would be encouraging for the nations in the region and that would obligate the EU to find together solutions to bilateral and multilateral issues in this part of southeastern Europe.
According to Pahor all Balkan leaders are set to come to Tirana, including Serbian and Kosovo presidents, Aleksandar Vučić and Hashim Thaci, although temperature is running high between Belgrade and Prishtina.
"I can't imagine one of the leaders not coming. This in itself would be a political message. One of the worst possible imaginable at the moment," said Pahor.
Radev moreover underlined that accession of Balkan countries to the EU and NATO was the key to stability, security and progress in the region.
Pahor expressed satisfaction that Radev confirmed today that he would take part in the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Ljubljana in early June.
He believes that the event will be an opportunity for countries in central and eastern Europe to freshen up on their list of priorities in the presence of high representatives of Germany, the EU and the US.
Po novinarski konferenci v Predsedniški palači se predsednik Republike Slovenije Borut Pahor in predsednik Republike Bolgarije Rumen Radev udeležujeta odprtja slovensko-bolgarske poslovne konference na @GZSnovice, kjer bosta nagovorila udeležence konference. pic.twitter.com/HXjWJUv3xJ— Borut Pahor (@BorutPahor) March 11, 2019
The Bulgarian president also said that cooperation should not only be limited to transport, energy and communication but it should also include science, education, culture and the youth.
Radev is accompanied in Slovenia by a business delegation which attended a business forum at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Due to restrictions, the group of executives is smaller than Bulgaria would have wanted. This indicates a great amount of interest in doing business with Slovenia.
Thus a business forum taking place at the sidelines of the Three Seas Initiative will serve as an opportunity for a visit by a bigger delegation.
Economic cooperation between Slovenia and Bulgaria is good, with trade amounting to EUR 385m in 2017. The figure was 25% higher than the year before. Bulgaria is Slovenia's 24th biggest exports market.
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