STA, 25 July 2020 - Russian Ambassador to Slovenia Timur Eyvazov has discussed the Slovenian-Russian relations in an interview for Večer. Asked about the reproaches during the term of the previous government about Slovenian foreign policy being pro-Russian oriented, he said he would not agree with such assessments.
"Slovenia is a member of the EU and NATO and, as far as I know, implements its commitments as part of these organisations one hundred percent," Eyvazov said in the interview the Maribor-based paper published on Saturday.
"At the same time, the Slovenian leadership has always understood, in our opinion, that good relations with Russia suit the interests of both the European Union and Slovenia," he added.
The ambassador believes that this is a framework within which it is possible to develop constructive relations with Russia. "We absolutely support such ambition by Slovenia, because it is also good for Russia to have good relationship with the EU and Slovenia."
Eyvazov is convinced that Slovenia and Russia could boost bilateral trade, which could, in his opinion, go up to two billion euros or more.
He sees many areas in which Russian and Slovenian technologies and capacities could work in synergy in order to produce very competitive products, which could be sold in third markets.
Eyvazov noted that the Russian market provided the opportunity for Slovenian entrepreneurs to enter the market of the Eurasian Economic Community. "This is a market of more than 200 million people and total GDP exceeding two trillion US dollars."
In the interview published on the occasion of the Russian Chapel ceremony below the Vršič Pass, the ambassador also talked about the Slovenian retailer, a part of the failed Croatian conglomerate Agrokor, which has ended up in a majority Russian ownership.
Eyvazov said that Russia was closely monitoring the situation in Mercator and Agrokor, which is owned by the bank Sberbank.
According to him, Russia understands the great importance of Mercator for the Slovenian economy. "We understand that there are a lot of Slovenian suppliers who, of course, must preserve the opportunity to get to the end buyer through Mercator."
But the ambassador noted that the Russian side did not really understand some of the actions by Slovenian institutions, in what is a reference to the competition watchdog's decision to temporarily seize Mercator shares.
"We have shown a lot of patience," he said, adding that "on the other hand, Sberbank is a state-owned bank which keeps the money of the Russian state, which is why we need to invest all effort to protect our own interests."