Slovenia is Serbia’s honest friend, President Vucic says

Slovenia is Serbia’s honest friend, President Vucic says

Slovenia is Serbia’s honest friend, President Vucic says Izvor: Tanjug / Dragan Kujundžić

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said on Monday that the trade exchange between his country and Slovenia rose from 571 million to 1.3 billion Euros in the last ten years, what, as he put it, showed the relations between the countries were significantly better, the Beta news agency reported.

Borut Pahor, the President of Slovenia, is in Belgrade for a two-day visit to discuss bilateral relations, the situation in the region and Serbia’s European path with Vucic.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Belgrade with Pahor, Vucic said that unlike the first visit in 2014 when 50 companies and entrepreneurs accompanied Pahor, this time about 500 of them was expected at the two countries’ Economic Forum.

Pahor said his country was supporting Serbia’s ambition to join the European Union, adding there were different views on some issues between Ljubljana and Belgrade, but that his visit aimed at cementing the mutual trust and relations in all areas.

Asked about the so-called border correction, advocated by Kosovo President Hashim Thaci in the EU-facilitated Belgrade – Pristina dialogue, Pahor said he would not exclude such solution, but that “it must not cause collateral damage to other countries in the region.”

“I would not exclude that, but would be extremely cautious,” he said.

Pahor added he did not think that Serbia was in any political crisis due to the anti-government protests across the country, but that he would not interfere into domestic politics.

“We look at Slovenia as an honest friend, we are building good relations of mutual respect, and I believe those links could improve further,” Vucic told reporters.

Vucic said he told the EU, the US and the Russian President Vladimir Putin the same thing – Serbia doesn’t have two policies but only one, that of Serbia’s interest.

 He added they discussed Serbia’s European path and agreed the Belgrade – Kosovo relations were crucial.

“I believe we will have Slovenia’s support in searching for a possible solution (concerning Kosovo),” Vucic said, adding any solution was far away right now due to Pristina’s 100 percent import tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia introduced last November.

Pahor is due also to address Serbia’s Parliament and attend a meeting of the Serbia – Slovenia Economic Forum.

Slovenia's President was in Serbia in 2013, the same year when the first joint session of the two governments was held in Belgrade.

Slovenia and Serbia are among ten foreign trade partners to each other with over a billion Euros exchange in 2017 which was on the rise last year.

Over 4,200 Serbia’s companies work with partners in Slovenia in the import-export business, while 1,660 Slovenian firms are registered in Serbia.

Slovenia is one of the ten most significant investors in Serbia with 400 investments with the majority of shares.

Serbia’s companies are also increasing their business in Slovenia.

Slovenia seceded from the former Yugoslavia on June 25, 1991, together with Croatia.

After two-weeks of clashes between the so-called local defence units and the then Yugoslav Army, the latter withdrew from the country. It became the first of all former Yugoslav republics to join the European Union in May 2004.

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