The Slovenia Times

Cerar, Medvedev Agree Lifting Sanctions in Everyone's Interest


"Because it was not Russia which started the sanctions but the EU, we expect the union to also be the first to lift them," said Medvedev.

The pair also shared a view that bilateral trade has not been affected only by the sanctions but also by a drop in energy prices, with Medvedev attributing 20% of the decline to this.

Cerar echoed the view that the sanctions are hurting both sides and that it is in everyone's interest and important for peace that they are lifted.

Medvedev expressed his expectation that Slovenia would stick to its moderate stance on Russia with the EU.

He noted there are different countries in the EU, such with moderate views on Russia and those that have a more emotional attitude and feel "phantom pain".

Cerar assured the Russian prime minister, for whom the working visit to Slovenia is the first to an EU country following the start of tensions over Ukraine, that Slovenia's position on sanctions and Russia will remain unchanged.

If conditions are met for scrapping sanctions, Slovenia will be happy to see them lifted, Cerar added.

Elaborating on Slovenia's position, he said it supported Ukraine's territorial integrity, the honouring of the Minsk agreements and a solution through dialogue.

Also recapping Sunday's part of the talks, the pair said among other things that both countries are striving for economic and political stability in the Western Balkans.

Bilateral cooperation, especially economic, was in the focus of today's talks. Cerar stressed the role of the intergovernmental commission and the two sides agreed to continue shared projects in important segments such as pharmacy and high tech.

Slovenia and Russia signed today a three-year programme on cooperation in culture, science and sport and agreements on cooperation in health and justice.

A memorandum on entering third markets was also signed, while the Russian Energy Agency and Comita, a Slovenian provider of technological system solutions in a number of areas, signed a memorandum of understanding.

Medvedev also touched on the Turkish Stream pipeline planned by Russia, saying Slovenia, which was interested in the EU-blocked South Stream, could participate as a transit country.

Cerar said he understood Slovenia would have to find its place as regards the Turkish Stream and assess whether becoming a transit country is in its interest.

The Russian prime minister invited Cerar to a return visit, but added that the time and place remain to be determined.

Medvedev began his working visit to Slovenia on Sunday when he attended the annual commemoration for the Russian POWs who died in the Julian Alps in 1916, where they were building a road for the Austro-Hungarians to supply their soldiers at the nearby Isonzo Front.

He also met Parliament Speaker Milan Brglez today and President Borut Pahor on Sunday.


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