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MOSCOW, April 30 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will make a working visit to Slovenia on May 3 to have meetings with President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek and Vice-Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Tuesday.
“The upcoming talks will continue the trusting and intensive political dialogue between Russia and Slovenia. Regular contacts at high and highest levels are the important component of the dialogue,” Lukashevich said.
The meetings in Ljubljana will focus on key international issues and the strengthening of Russian-Slovenian interaction within multilateral structures, primarily within the U.N., as well as on European platforms. “Being a member of the European Union and NATO, Slovenia consistently upholds strategic partnership between Russia and these alliances. We reached mutual understanding with the EU and NATO in many aspects,” the Russian diplomat said.
He said, “The talks are planning to touch on European security, visa liberalisation between Russia and the EU, and the implementation of the third energy package. It is obvious that special attention will be paid to the situation on the Balkans, primarily in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
“Russia is one of the leading foreign trade partners of Slovenia. Its companies operate in more than 60 Russian regions,” the spokesman said.
In 2012 trade turnover between Russia and Slovenia increased by 7.2 percent as compared with 2011 and exceeded 1.5 billion U.S. dollars. In 2013 the positive tendency continues: in January-February trade increased by 7.8 percent. However, “the priority is to improve trading pattern by increasing the ratio of high tech products in bilateral economic relations”, Lukashevich said.
The Foreign Ministry rivets attention to “the expansion of Russia’s investment in the Slovenian fuel and energy sector that the implementation of the South Stream gas pipeline section should facilitate”, Lukashevich said.
“The common Slavic roots and good feelings between our peoples create a good foundation for intensive cultural, humanitarian, scientific and educational exchanges,” the Russian diplomat said.
He recalled that in June 2004 the presidents of both countries had initiated the creation of the Forum of Slavic Cultures with Ljubljana as its headquarters. The non-governmental organisation unites outstanding culture figures and scientists to bring closer the peoples and preserve the cultural and historical heritage, he said.
In addition, Lukashevich said, “Russia values Slovenians’ careful attitude towards the memory of Russian and Soviet servicemen who are buried on the territory of Slovenia.” The annual meetings at the World War I Memorial - the Russian chapel at the Vrsic Pass - prove Russian-Slovenian friendship, he said.
Lavrov will take part in presenting “The Russian Battalion” documentary film devoted to the exploit of Soviet servicemen who fight Nazism on the territory of Slovenia.
During the visit, Russian and Slovenian officials are expected to sign several documents.