Russian President Vladimir Putin (front L) and Slovenian President Borut Pahor (front R) attend the 100th anniversary of the Russian Chapel in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, July 30, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Slovenian President Borut Pahor highlighted the Russian Chapel as a symbol of peace as they addressed the one-hour ceremony on Saturday marking the centenary of the memorial to Russian WWI prisoner-of-wars who perished in Slovenia, Slovenian Press Agency reported. (Xinhua/Luka Dakskobler)
Speaking to reporters ahead of a working meeting, Pahor said the distance between Slovenia which is an EU and NATO member, and Russia, had widened in recent years.
"My wish is to try in a peaceful manner to remove the reasons for divergences...The freedom-loving world needs the cooperation of everyone," Pahor was quoted by the Slovenian Press Agency (STA) as saying.
Pahor highlighted the commemorative nature of the visit, whose centrepiece was the ceremony at the Russian Chapel below the Vrsic mountain pass.
He said that "in these controversial times", the ceremony helped "preserve Slovenian-Russian friendship to the extent possible".
"Slovenia needs friends and would like to have as many as possible. Slovenia needs peace and would like to have the opportunity to develop all of its talents," Pahor said.
Putin also said the visit had been initiated for historical and commemorative reasons.
He noted it offered an opportunity to "discuss the entire spectrum of Slovenian-Russian relations" as well as Russia's relations with the EU and NATO as Slovenia is a member of both.
He turned to their trade relations, saying that trade had unfortunately declined with the EU as well as with the United States.
"Today's visit was therefore an opportunity to discuss new paths and new projects for the development of economic cooperation," Putin was quoted by the STA as saying.
The two leaders spoke to the press before a scheduled working meeting and dinner. Putin said, however, they had already had talks for accumulatively an hour during his itinerary which allowed him to tell Pahor various global security issues in an in-depth way.
Putin arrived in Slovenia accompanied by the ministers for communication, energy, culture and economy. He said he was glad that members of the government delegation would have the opportunity to engage in talks.
Earlier on Saturday afternoon, Putin and Pahor officially inaugurated a monument to Russian and Soviet soldiers who perished in Slovenia during WWI and WWII.
The monument, located at Ljubljana's main cemetery Zale, was initiatively put forward by Putin and Pahor in 2011, the STA reported.
Putin would attend a dinner hosted by Pahor featuring top Slovenian officials before he winds up his visit.
LJUBLJANA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Even though some believed that Slovenia's reputation suffered "international" damage after President Borut Pahor invited Vladimir Putin to Slovenia, prominent Slovenian Daily Delo sees a business opportunity in the Russian president's visit.
Slovenia is, besides Greece and Finland, the third EU member state that Putin has visited this year, the paper notes. Meanwhile, other European leaders, such as Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, see nothing wrong in accepting Putin's invitation in the interest of domestic economy. Full story