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Official visit by Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop

Ljubljana, 23 February 2018 – Minister Erjavec hosted his Australian counterpart Julia Bishop’s official visit to Slovenia. This was the first visit by an Australian foreign minister to independent Slovenia. The talks between the two ministers were devoted to enhancing bilateral relations, bilateral economic cooperation, EU-Australia relations, multilateral cooperation focusing on human rights, global challenges, topical regional issues and the Slovenian community in Australia.
Minister Erjavec was pleased to note that the first visit of an Australian foreign minister to Slovenia had taken place and underlined the excellent and friendly relations between the two countries, expressing the hope that the visit will provide a good basis for further enhancing high-level political dialogue between Slovenia and Australia.
There are possibilities for deepening economic cooperation, particularly in terms of increased investment. Minister Erjavec underlined Slovenia's interest in signing a convention on the avoidance of double taxation between the two countries, which would help enhance economic cooperation.
Both ministers also reiterated the mutual interest in enhancing cooperation on human rights, even as part of their engagement in the Human Rights Council, over which Slovenia is currently presiding and to which Australia has been elected for the first time.
Both countries cooperate successfully in international forums. Australia was among the first countries to support the Slovenian World Bee Day initiative at the UN.
In the context of security and stability, Minister Erjavec pointed to the numerous challenges, especially presenting a view of the situation in the Western Balkans, Ukraine and the Middle East. The ministers also discussed the risks of radicalisation and the fight against terrorism as one of the major security challenges which united both countries in the Global Coalition against Daesh. Minister Bishop also outlined Australian views on the situation in the Pacific region and Southeast Asia.
The ministers went on to exchange views on the challenges of uncontrolled migration facing today's globalised international community and agreed that the issue of migration is best addressed in the places causing uncontrolled migration.
Minister Erjavec supported efforts to conclude a free trade agreement between Australia and the EU, which his Australian counterpart believed would have numerous benefits for both sides. The EU does not need to fear agricultural products from Australia, as this is mostly trade surplus on the part of the EU. An agreement would send an important signal for open and free trade.
A significant element connecting the two countries is the Slovenian community of 200,000 people in Australia. The Australian minister confirmed this community’s constructive role in Australian society.
During her first visit to Slovenia, Minister Bishop was also received by President Borut Pahor, and hosted for a honey breakfast by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dejan Židan.