The Slovenia Times

Fischer and Pahor Praise Ties, Share View on Syria Crisis


Addressing reporters after their talks, Pahor said that the fact that this was his second official meeting with Fischer in six months "is a demonstration of the excellent political relations between the countries".

Slovenia's third most important trade partner, Austria is the leading foreign investor, accounting for 48% of foreign direct investment here. Noting the mostly positive experience with Austrian investors, Pahor said that prospective investors from Austria would be welcome to participate in the planned privatisation.

The economic and financial crisis in Slovenia also ranked high on the agenda, with Pahor repeating his view that Slovenia was capable of solving its problems on its own, but that time was a "vital factor" and that it "is slowly running out".

Maintaining that measures could still be applied without major social, political and other shocks, Pahor expressed his support for the government's plans, but added that measures should be taken immediately and that the government must present concrete measures to the public and parliament this month.

"I believe and wish for Slovenia to solve its problems in the best possible way," Fischer said, adding that the best help Austria could offer to Slovenia at the bilateral level was to support as much as possible the cooperation, trade and transfer of technology between the two countries.

He also pointed to the EU level, where he said "Austria has always acted with solidarity". He said that the Austrian authorities had sometimes come under fire at home for their support of Slovenia, but that Vienna helped countries in trouble at the EU level because it believed everyone was in the same boat, which must stay afloat.

According to Pahor, the pair also share their positions on the Syria crisis. He described the use of chemical weapons against the civilian population there as a "dreadful tragedy" and "horrendous act in violation of international law".

Pahor said the international community "must definitely" act in response to such an act. But the Slovenian president also said that he and his Austrian opposite number agreed "these sanctions need to be adopted by the UN Security Council, which is required to take measures to punish those who caused this dreadful tragedy".

Fischer thanked Pahor for what he said was an exhaustive brief on various topics. He said that the Austrian delegation this time also included Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser and that he was glad the talks could be conducted in this way as well.

Fischer and Pahor visited representatives of the German-speaking community in south Slovenia on Sunday, which Fischer said was a demonstration of the countries' "respect for any minority", and an important message for Europe that minorities "must be treated with care".

Although not recognised as an ethnic minority enjoying constitutional protection in Slovenia, the Gottschee Germans are financially backed by both countries. The Slovenian Culture Ministry doubled the funding last year.

Pahor and Fischer also touched on regional issues and talked to Croatian President Ivo Josipović over the phone today. They agreed to meet regularly once a year for trilateral talks. The first meeting will take place in Austria next year, according to Pahor.

Pahor briefed Fischer on Slovenia's efforts related to the Western Balkans and the Brdo Process to promote cooperation among the countries in the region. Fischer told Pahor that he would consider taking part in one of the meetings himself.

As an opportunity for the two countries to cooperate in the coming months, Fischer mentioned the upcoming centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, which he said needed to be commemorated as a reminder for the future.


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