Pahor Will Visit Kosovo to Mark 10 Years of Independence

By , 10 Feb 2018, 13:42 PM Politics
Pahor Will Visit Kosovo to Mark 10 Years of Independence Made by JL Flanner using Google Maps

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Slovenia among the most important foreign investors in the young country. 

STA, February 10, 2018 - President Borut Pahor will pay an official visit to Kosovo on Monday and Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the country's independence. Talks with Kosovar top officials will focus on EU perspective for Kosovo, and topical issues concerning the Western Balkans. The president will also visit Slovenian troops in the country.

According to the president's office, Pahor will meet his host President Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and parliamentary Speaker Kadri Veseli as well as opposition leaders. He will also address the parliament as part of an honorary session.

In talks with Kosovar officials, he will be briefed on the country's progress in the international community and pledge Slovenia's continuous support to Kosovo in dealing with its biggest challenges.

Pahor and Thaci are expected to discuss topical issues in the Western Balkans.

Kosovo's efforts to join the EU will also be an important topic after the EU presented its new enlargement strategy earlier this week. Kosovar officials are expected to present the current situation, especially regarding reforms and visa liberalisation.

Presenting the EU's strategy for the Western Balkans on Tuesday, the European Commission labelled dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina as crucial for the progress of both Serbia and Kosovo on their path towards the EU.

Kosovo has a special status, as five EU members – Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus – do not recognise its independence.

In its response to the enlargement strategy, Pristina said that Kosovo was being treated asymmetrically in the document and that the country had not received a clear answer regarding its EU future.

Pahor and Kosovar officials are also expected to exchange views on the security and political situation in the country, which deteriorated after the assassination of prominent Kosovo Serb politician, Oliver Ivanović, in the Serb-run Kosovar city of Mitrovica.

After the assassination, Serbia broke the EU-sponsored dialogue with Kosovo on normalisation of their relations.

Pahor and Kosovar officials will also discuss the preparations for the next summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process of regional cooperation, which is to be held in Macedonia's Skopje in April.

The relations between Slovenia and Kosovo have traditionally been good and with no open issues. Slovenia was among the first countries to recognise Kosovo as an independent state in March 2008 after the country declared independence on 17 February 2008.

Since the two countries set up diplomatic relations, they have been strengthening cooperation in different areas. Slovenia has been actively supporting the country bilaterally through development cooperation and as part of the EU and NATO.

Slovenian soldiers have been a part of the NATO-led mission KFOR in the country since 2000. Currently, there are some 250 Slovenian troops serving in the country, whom Pahor will greet during his stay.

Economic cooperation another important aspect of the Slovenian-Kosovar relations. Next to Germany, Austria and Italy, Slovenia is among the most important foreign investors in the country. In 2016, bilateral trade reached EUR 95.2m and in the first six months of 2017 it topped EUR 56.4m.

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