Pahor and Kosovo counterpart urge European and Euro-Atlantic future for W Balkans
Ljubljana, 4 July - President Borut Pahor and Kosovo counterpart Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu agreed in Ljubljana on Monday that relations between the two countries are excellent and expressed the wish to continue this way. Both leaders see a peaceful and secure future for the Western Balkans in the context of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Addressing the press during Osmani-Sadriu's two day visit, the pair said Slovenia and Kosovo shared the same views on the Western Balkans and that both countries see a peaceful and secure future for the region within the framework of European and Euro-Atlantic integrations.
In the light of the war in Ukraine, Pahor reiterated his call for a peaceful settling of conflicts, with a focus on the Western Balkans, warning that a possible cooling of the EU's interest in the region could encourage the "old powers" there and thus possibly cause unrest.
Thus the two presidents agreed that all leaders in the Western Balkans must do everything in their power to resolve problems peacefully, to strengthen people's belief that a European future is achievable and to make Brussels give the region the attention it deserves.
"Our extent of concern about the consequences of the war in Ukraine for the geopolitical situation in the region must be matched by us, as responsible leaders, actually giving a different, European, Euro-Atlantic future to the region. This option exists," Pahor said, adding that an effort would need to be made and a lot of patience and wisdom demonstrated.
Slovenia is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through economic progress and Euro-Atlantic integration, Osmani-Sadriu said in this context. She said this was why Kosovo had asked Slovenia for help and support in making it on its European path, as well as - specifically - visa liberalisation for Kosovars and persistent support in Kosovo's efforts to obtain EU candidate status.
The Kosovo president also personally thanked Pahor for his steadfast support for Kosovo and explicitly condemned Russia's aggression against Ukraine.
As she said, this war has united Europe and strengthened the bridge between democratic nations like Slovenia and Kosovo so that they can grow even closer ties.
She also announced that today, on behalf of all the people of Kosovo, she would honour the Slovenian Armed Forces for their services in the peacekeeping operations in Kosovo.
As regards the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade, Osmani-Sadriu said talks were held constantly and that some progress had been made. She highlighted the energy sector and thanked Pahor for his mediating role between Pristina and Belgrade. This has also been done in the framework of Brdo-Brijuni initiative whose next meeting is planned for 12 September at Brdo pri Kranju.
"We would like to see a strengthened dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. Slovenia, which is friends with both countries, wants this dialogue to be sincere, to produce results, not only through agreements but also through their implementation, to revive hope, not only in Kosovo and Serbia, but in the whole of the Western Balkans, that it is possible to resolve such difficult issues peacefully," Pahor said.
He stressed that he supported the will of both sides to settle the issue of missing persons, which he considered to be both symbolically and materially important. For this reason, he said, it was essential that the players on both sides refrain from any statements or actions that could undermine mutual trust.