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President Pahor: "A productive visit to Trieste."

Trieste, 13. 7. 2019 | press release

Today, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, attended a ceremony to mark the 99th anniversary of an arson attack on the Narodni Dom (Slovenian cultural centre) in Trieste, this year for the first time jointly organised by both umbrella organisations of Slovenians in Italy: the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union and the Council of Slovenian Organisations. President Pahor delivered an address at the ceremony.

He said that at the beginning of the month he had received at the Presidential Palace the presidents of both umbrella organisations of the Slovenian minority in Italy, namely Ksenija Dobrila, the President of the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union, and Walter Bandelj, the Regional President of the Council of Slovenian Organisations, who had particularly pointed out the issue of the restitution of the Narodni Dom, especially in light of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of its being burned down, which will be held next year. The President said that he had been particularly pleased to hear that this year’s event would, and for the first time, be organised jointly by the Slovenian minority organisations. Therefore he accepted with even greater eagerness their invitation to the ceremony, a symbolic and actual remembrance of the tragic arson attack.

President Pahor: "A productive visit to Trieste."
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The Slovenian President expressed his wish to mark the 100th anniversary next year together with President of the Italian Republic Mattarella. He added that there was exemplary collaboration between the Italian President and himself and that they happily declare themselves to be sincere friends, which gives them the possibility to maintain honest dialogue even when relations are somewhat more tense and the rhetoric more intense. The Slovenian President also quoted a part of President Mattarella’s letter to him, where the latter wrote, "Today’s reality and future prospects, which make historical events – even painful ones – a common past, should be the heritage with which an intentional path is being built every day to develop the values associated with respect for people and communities, such as the European project."

President Pahor emphasised the importance of maintaining a sense of coexistence and of strengthening dialogue, in particular in circumstances that put us all to the test: "It is important that even different views are presented with tolerance." He added that he was pleased to have met with the President of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, Massimiliano Fedrigo, before the ceremony and had had a fruitful conversation with him.

In concluding the address, President Pahor emphasised that we have now the opportunity to do everything in our power, especially because of the trials that we face, to strengthen what constitutes the essence of the European idea and to strive for everything we have in common for the promotion of peace and prosperity for the future of our children. At the same time, the President advocated that in the preparations for the significant anniversary of the Narodni Dom, all those responsible should do everything necessary for life to return to that institution. He expressed his desire that next year’s commemoration should be held together.

Today’s ceremony took place in the densely crowded hall of the Narodni Dom. The audience was also addressed by President of the Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union Ksenija Dobrila, President of the Council of Slovenian Organisations Walter Bandelj, Mayor of Trieste Roberto Dipiazza and Vice-Governor of Friuli Venezia Giulia Riccardo Riccardi. The keynote speaker was historian Raoul Pupo.

After the ceremony at the Narodni Dom, President Pahor met with representatives of the Slovenian minority in the new premises of the Slovenian Consulate in Trieste. Beside the two representatives of the umbrella organisations, the meeting was also attended by Senator Tatjana Rojc and Regional Councillors Igor Gabrovec and Danilo Slokar.

President Pahor: "A productive visit to Trieste."
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA