The presidents of Slovenia and Russia discussed security issues and counter-terrorist efforts, as well as various bilateral issues, including trade and economic and humanitarian cooperation.
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President of Slovenia Borut Pahor (retranslated): Mr President,
Five years ago, we met here and we were very optimistic about the future of both bilateral relations, and politics in general, security and cooperation.
Now we can safely say that the economic crisis has passed, but new crises have come upon us. Slovenia, as a member of the EU and NATO, and the Russian Federation have become more estranged from each other. But I think now is the time to start using dialogue to overcome any disagreements because now of all times it is necessary for all of us to join forces to deal with the serious threats of our time.
Despite all this, I am pleased that you have accepted our invitation to visit Slovenia, that you have witnessed and participated in important commemorative events and that we are doing our best to preserve Russian-Slovenian friendship.
Slovenia needs friends; the country wants to have as many friends as possible. Slovenia needs peace to be able to grow, to develop its skills.
Again, welcome to Slovenia.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
First of all, I would like to thank you again for the invitation.
The reason behind our meeting is of a humanitarian and historical nature, but it has given us an opportunity to talk about a range of bilateral issues, and Russia's relations with the European Union and NATO, bearing in mind that Slovenia is a member of both.
We can see how Slovenia respects our common history, and the memory of those who suffered in past global conflicts.
Despite the difficulties, we maintain intensive political contact. However, unfortunately, we have seen a decline in our trade and economic relations of late; trade has fallen by more than 45 percent.
We have just discussed what has happened in Russia’s trade with the US, and then the European Union. We have seen drops in both. Russia's trade with the US had reached $28 billion, and with the EU, it exceeded 445 billion euros. Now the trade turnover with Europe is almost half that at 225 billion euros. With the US, the decline was less severe, perhaps a couple of billion dollars, I do not have the exact figures, but we are talking maybe five billion dollars. These are incomparable amounts.
In any case, trade declines are not good news, of course. That is why I am especially grateful to you for the opportunity to talk about what we can do today to maintain our economic and trade ties and to find new ways to develop our relations.
I have updated you on certain security issues, antiterrorist efforts. We travelled together in a car for almost an hour and a half, so we had the opportunity to talk about many things. I am very pleased that our colleagues will also be able to communicate with each other in the course of our negotiations.