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NEWS

5. 9. 2017

Minister Erjavec holds bilateral meetings on the second day of the Bled Strategic Forum

Bled, 5 September 2017 – On the sidelines of the second day of the Bled Strategic Forum, Minister Erjavec held bilateral meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, Péter Szijjártó, Teodor-Viorel Meleşcanu and Ekaterina Zakharieva, respectively, the French Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, and the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean Fathallah Sijilmassi.

 

With his Hungarian counterpart, Minister Szijjártó, Minister Erjavec discussed Slovenia's continued interest in joint projects in infrastructure and other fields of common interest, and talked about the situation in the neighbourhood and the Western Balkans, as well as topical issues in the EU.

 

Minister Erjavec and Minister Loiseau underscored the strategic partnership between Slovenia and France, and exchanged views on Brexit and the future of the Union, on which they hold similar positions. Minister Erjavec thanked Minister Loiseau for expressing support for the principle of respect for international law and decisions of international courts. This is an important message for both Croatia, which has been avoiding its obligations under the arbitral award on the border, and for the Western Balkan countries wishing to join the EU. Respect for international law and court decisions is one of the fundamental values of the EU.

 

The Western Balkans and the Black Sea Region were the central topics of the talks between Minister Erjavec and Minister Meleşcanu, during which they also called for the strengthening of economic relations between the two countries. Minister Meleşcanu invited Minister Erjavec to pay a visit to Romania, accompanied by a business delegation. Minister Erjavec commended Romania's progress in preparing for OECD membership.

 

The talks between Minister Erjavec and First Vice-President Timmermans focused on the implementation of the arbitral award on the border between Slovenia and Croatia. Timmermans reiterated the European Commission's position that the award needs to be respected and implemented. The Croatian side, too, has been informed that the European Commission supports the award's implementation. Minister Erjavec emphasised the friendly relations between the Croatian and Slovenian people as well as good economic cooperation, but pointed out that the main problem was the decision of the Croatian government not to respect international law and the decisions of international courts. As the dialogue with Croatia has unfortunately failed to yield results, Slovenia counts on the support of the European Commission when it comes to respect for the legal commitments undertaken by EU member states.

 

Minister Erjavec and the Bulgarian Foreign Minister Zakharieva underscored the excellent bilateral relations, called for enhanced cooperation – also by opening a Slovenian embassy in Sofia as soon as possible – and acknowledged the vast untapped potential in the economy which demands continued government incentives in both countries.

 

Minister Erjavec presented to High Commissioner Zeid the priorities of Slovenian foreign policy on the international promotion and protection of human rights, and pledged Slovenia's full support for the independence and work of the High Commissioner's Office. Next year, the Office will devote special attention to marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Slovenia has already indicated its willingness to chair the Human Rights Council in 2018. In their talks, Minister Erjavec and High Commissioner Zeid also touched upon the situation in countries where respect for human rights is most threatened, particularly Libya, Venezuela, Myanmar and certain African countries.

 

The meeting with Secretary General Sijilmassi focused on Slovenia's Mediterranean dimension, and Minister Erjavec expressed his thanks for the Secretary General's understanding of, and support for, Slovenia's interests within the Union for the Mediterranean, as well as for his personal engagement in strengthening the Mediterranean spirit in Slovenia.

 

Secretary General Sijilmassi stated that Slovenia's experience was important for the development of the Southern Mediterranean countries. He expressed his belief that Slovenia's role in the Union for the Mediterranean could be even more prominent and complemented Slovenia for its contribution thus far. In the same vein, the two officials discussed the possibilities of further cooperation in the form of concrete projects. In conclusion, Secretary General Sijilmassi commended BSF as a forum he attends with great pleasure as it improves in quality and visibility every year.

 

Tomorrow, Minister Erjavec will meet Montenegrin Foreign Minister Srdjan Darmanović in Ljubljana.