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Slovenia backs idea of EU-Russia visa free regime

October 01, 2012, 14:41 UTC+3

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Karl Erjavec said in an interview with Itar-Tass

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LJUBLJANA, October 1 (Itar-Tass) — Slovenia supports the prospect of visa-free travel between the European Union and the Russian Federation in cases of short-term trips, as is has already been done with the Balkan states, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia Karl Erjavec said in an interview with Itar-Tass on the eve of his visit to Russia that is beginning on Monday.

To make this prospect a reality, he said, “all the necessary conditions must be met.” “In this context, we welcome the process of implementing the program of joint steps to cancel visas and are actively cooperating within the EU institutions that deal with this issue,” the Slovenian foreign minister said.

Erjavec also noted that “relations between Slovenia and Russia are at a high level, they have no open political or economic issues.” The Slovenian side would like to somewhat diversify the bilateral economic cooperation in terms of establishing ties with the RF regions with which it does not yet have contacts. “Currently, Slovenian enterprises are concentrated only on a few Russian main economic centres,” the minister said.

The Slovenian foreign minister pointed out that the two countries’ positions differ on a number of international issues. “For example, on Syria, on the status of Kosovo, on the territorial integrity of Georgia, NATO expansion and missile defence,” he said.

Despite this, Erjavec said, “the two states’ cooperation is constructive,” the existing differences do not have a negative impact on the bilateral relations. “In the bilateral dialogue our countries are trying to look for, above all, common ground that ensures successful cooperation, and pay less attention to the existing differences,” he said.

“At a meeting with the chairman of the Russian part of the commission, Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov, we will discuss the state of economic cooperation between the two countries, the implementation of the agreements reached during the 8th meeting of the intergovernmental commission and define the subjects to be discussed at its next meeting,” Erjavec pointed out. “We will also agree on the date of the next meeting of the commission that will be held in Slovenia, as well as on the activities that will accompany it. We would like to hold the meeting as early as this year.”

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