The Slovenia Times

President Pahor Calls for Boosting Ties with Macedonia



The pair also discussed the summit of the Brdo Process that will see leaders of the countries of the region meet in Slovenia's Brdo pri Kranju on 25 July.

Addressing reporters after the talks, Pahor said one purpose of his visit was to deepen the genuine and long-term friendship between the countries and the other preparations for the Brdo Process summit.

The president assured Macedonia that Slovenia would always support it in its aspirations to join the EU and NATO and wished the country to find as soon as possible a solution to its name dispute with Greece to enable a breakthrough in these efforts.

Pahor's message to the authorities in Skopje was that regardless of potential bad feelings in talks with Greece it would be worth while to be practical and to make a credible offer that would awaken the international community's interest so that a search for a solution could begin.

Prolonging the current state would in Pahor's view reduce the chances for a compromise solution and Macedonia's ambition to implement important structural reforms, not only in light of its progress to Euro-Atlantic integrations but also for more effective functioning of the state itself.

According to a press release from his office, Pahor made a reference to his personal experience in tackling the issues between Slovenia and Croatia, noting that "it always takes two to have a row and to cooperate" and that it "takes a lot of courage to cooperate".

He said that since the relations between Slovenia and Macedonia were problem free, trade between the countries could be stronger. He called on both governments and business communities to "increase the economic potential also thorough joint commissions and to consider potential joint forays into third markets".

Even if bilateral trade is modest at just below EUR 190m last year, Macedonia is an important market for Slovenian investment. In his talks in Skopje, Pahor highlighted opportunities in renovation and construction of energy facilities, environmental projects, tourism and early food production.

Pahor underscored that Macedonia remained a geographical priority of Slovenia's international development cooperation.

Both presidents agreed today that the development cooperation memorandum between the countries for 2013-2015 will be formally signed next week on the sidelines of the Brdo Process summit. The accord envisages nearly EUR 1.5m in development aid for Macedonia.

Pahor will also to meet Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanovski on Wednesday. Together with Ivanov he will attend a reception of the Slovenian and Macedonian business association. He is also due to visit a hydro power plant.


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