The Slovenia Times

Pahor, Grabar-Kitarović and Mattarella praise neighbourly relations


Pahor said in his address before lunch he hosted for the two presidents that the meeting was an "excellent excuse" for an open and honest exchange of views on the most important issues concerning "our countries and our mutual relations". Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Sergio Mattarella upheld this view.

"I've always been loyal and will remain loyal to the policy of good neighbourly relations. It is our primary interest to look for solutions to our problems together through dialogue in a peaceful and patient manner and then honour those agreements," Pahor said at the reception he hosted to mark the start of his second term as president.

Political problems are caused by people and they can be solved by people in a peaceful way and to the benefit of all, he stressed.

"Having good neighbourly relations is the best way to start our foreign and security policies," he added.

The president also believes today's talks were an opportunity to promote the joint European future as "the best promise of a peaceful future for our children and grandchildren".

Grabar-Kitarović said she looked forward to cooperating with Pahor in his second term, noting that this cooperation was of "utmost importance for our region and SE Europe".

She believes the good relations between Slovenia and Croatia must not be overshadowed by the few open issues, including the border issue. She said Croatia too valued neighbourly relations. "I believe that the border issue must be solved in an open and friendly manner," she said.

Mattarella too spoke of borders, noting that the three countries were united by the Adriatic Sea. "In the past we thought that the sea and the borders divide us, but in reality they unite us and this awareness is the foundation of the European Union and our joint European future," he said.

The future of the EU is a process that calls for joint efforts, which is why it is important for leaders of European countries show that they are friends, he said. Any problems must be solved in the European spirit, he added.

The Croatian president also touched on the EU perspective for the Western Balkans and pointed to the Bulgarian presidency of the European Council and all future presidencies that could be positive for the Western Balkans.

Mattarella agreed and stressed the important role that Slovenia and Croatia play in this context.

Hungarian President Janos Ader failed to attend today's meeting due to pressing state matters, Pahor said, expressing sympathy with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, who was unable to attend due to illness in his immediate family.

Pahor also commented on the Slovenian-Croatia border arbitration after the reception, saying that he believed the unofficial decision of the European Commission to become more actively involved in the efforts to reach an agreement on the implementation of the arbitration decision had helped ease tensions on both sides of the border.

He expects the Commission's intervention will help both sides realise that they must continue with dialogue.

"After all Slovenia is now in a position where it has the decision of the arbitration tribunal and in that sense we expect the European Commission to call on Croatia to see the current situation for what it is," he said.

Given the consensus on the matter among Slovenian politicians and the Commission's intervention, Pahor expects progress in a "reasonably short period of time".


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