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During President Pahor’s visit to Moscow, contracts were concluded worth three-quarters of the entire 2016 trade in goods

Russian Federation , 11. 2. 2017 | press release, statement

The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, is on a two-day official visit to the Russian Federation. Yesterday he was received by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, in the Kremlin.

Presidents Pahor and Putin discussed the current foreign policy issues and developments in the international community with a special emphasis on preserving peace in Syria. They dedicated special attention to the situation in eastern Ukraine and seeking possibilities for concrete progress in the realisation of the Minsk agreements. The presidents also spoke about the Middle East Peace Process, fight against terrorism, the situation in the Western Balkans and other international topics.

The Republic of Slovenia and the Russian Federation are traditionally good business partners, to which continued political dialogue also contributed, assessed the presidents.

President Pahor emphasised that Slovenia and Russia have good relations which are on a high and friendly level, and in the last twenty-five years the countries have developed close ties and good cooperation in almost all areas. He mentioned the invitation that he extended to President Putin to attend the ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Russian Chapel under the Vršič Pass last July. The discussion partners agreed that cooperation between Slovenia and Russia was excellent also in science, culture and other fields.

In the presence of both presidents, the following documents were signed in the Kremlin: Agreement between the Office for Money Laundering Prevention of the Republic of Slovenia and the Federal Service for Fiscal and Budgetary Supervision of the Russian Federation on cooperation in the field of money laundering and the financing of terrorism, Memorandum on Cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation on cooperation in the field of forestry, and the Programme of joint activities in the field of tourism 2017–2018 signed by the Slovenian Tourist Board and the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation.

President Pahor said that although Slovenia was a Member State of the European Union and NATO, it was striving within the relevant framework to maintain sincere discourse and the best possible bilateral relations with the Russian Federation, i.e. political, economic, cultural and others, during the deterioration in relations between the European Union, NATO and the Russian Federation. The desire to nurture good relations at the time of worsened conditions was also reflected in the invitation of President Pahor to President Putin to attend the ceremony at the 100th anniversary of the Russian Chapel under the Vršič Pass, he added. Slovenia wished for those relations to improve and the condition for that lay in defusing the situation in eastern Ukraine and enforcing the Minsk agreements. President Pahor thus said that in good faith and as a friend he called upon both sides to promptly suspend hostilities. Defusing and remedying the situation would lead to the lifting of sanctions and the improvement of relations between the Russian Federation, the EU and NATO, assessed the Slovenian President.

Regarding the scope of trade in goods between the countries, which amounted to EUR 1.022 billion in 2015, Russia is in eleventh place among the most important trade partners of Slovenia (-27 per cent if compared to 2014). The drop in the first ten months of 2016 is 9 per cent (-12 per cent for exports and +3 per cent for imports). In 2016, Russia was in tenth place among Slovenian export partners (previously seventh) and in fifth place according to the value of Slovenian foreign direct investments.

In addition to the traditional branches, the presidents also highlighted the opportunities for enhancing economic cooperation between the countries in the fields of efficient energy use, automation, agriculture, food industry and tourism, specifically medical tourism. Companies saw their opportunities for strengthening cooperation in the localisation of production in the Russian Federation and joint actions in third markets.

In the late afternoon, President Pahor met the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev, with whom he discussed economic cooperation between the states and topical political issues.

As part of the official visit, President Pahor lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden near the Kremlin.

In the evening, President Pahor attended a business event entitled “A Look into the Future: New Possibilities of Cooperation with Europe,” where he addressed the Slovenian and Russian business communities. During the event, businesspeople concluded contracts worth about EUR 600 million (almost three-quarters of the entire trade in goods between the countries in 2016); few contracts of large values are still being harmonised.

The second day of the official visit to the Russian Federation is taking place in Saint Petersburg and is primarily intended to enhance cultural and artistic cooperation between the countries. Similarly to his arrival to the official visit in Moscow, the departure of the Slovenian President to Saint Petersburg was also accompanied with military honours.

In the morning, President Pahor met the Governor of the City of Saint Petersburg, Georgy S. Poltavchenko, and they were both present at the signing of letters of intent on cooperation between the Ljubljana Festival and the Mariinsky Theatre and between the Ljubljana Festival and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonia.

During his official visit, the Slovenian President also visited the Hermitage Museum, where the letter of intent on cooperation between the National Gallery of Slovenia and the State Hermitage Museum was signed in his presence by the Director of the National Gallery, Barbara Jaki, and the Director of the Hermitage Museum, Mikhail B. Piotrovsky.