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Working visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Ljubljana, 21 February 2018 - Minister Erjavec today hosted his counterpart from the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, for a working visit. Their talks focused on bilateral political relations, economic cooperation and topical foreign policy issues.
The two ministers agreed that their countries have developed very positive and friendly relations, and that the intensity of cooperation is being strengthened, particularly in the economy. During the first eleven months of 2017, trade between the two countries increased by 15%, as did cooperation on tourism, with the number of Russian tourist overnight stays rising by 33%. Meetings of the Intergovernmental Slovenian-Russian Mixed Commission on trade and economic and scientific-technical cooperation are an important element in the strengthening of economic cooperation. The meetings are held once per year, alternately in Slovenia and Russia. Opportunities for enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries are also provided through Slovenia's cooperation with individual Russian regions.
Numerous projects on culture, science, education and sport are being implemented within the scope of bilateral cooperation. Minister Lavrov stressed that the establishment of the Lomonosov Moscow State University branch in Koper last November is a good evidence of such cooperation.
The ministers also exchanged views on topical foreign policy issues. Special attention was devoted to the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, and the efforts of the international community to fight terrorism. Minister Lavrov outlined the Russian view of developments in Ukraine. Minister Erjavec underlined the importance of seeking a solution to the Ukrainian crisis within the scope of the Minsk agreements. As to the Western Balkans, Minister Erjavec underlined the importance of the international community's engagement for permanent stability in the region. Both ministers agreed that the stability of the Western Balkans is in the interests of all and that sensitive issues in the Balkans require a constructive approach by the international community. Minister Erjavec also informed his counterpart of the current situation regarding the implementation of the arbitral award on the border with neighbouring Croatia.
According to Lavrov, differences in international institutional placement cannot be an obstacle to cooperation between two countries, the realisation of which is in their common interest. In this context, Minister Erjavec stressed Slovenia’s support for EU-Russia and NATO-Russia dialogue.
After the talks at the Foreign Ministry, the two ministers signed a memorandum on the establishment of an international World War II research centre in Maribor.
The Russian foreign minister invited his host, Minister Erjavec, to pay a visit to Moscow.
Minister Lavrov was also received by the President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor.