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Conferring the Decorations (October 2005)
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The Slovenian President meets UNESCO General Secretary Koichiro Matsuura, Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and the new head of UNMIK, Harri Holkeri

Ohrid, Macedonia, 08/29/2003  |  press release

Click to enlargeThis afternoon, on the sidelines of the forum Dialogue between Civilisations, taking place in Ohrid today and tomorrow under the auspices of Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski and UNESCO General Secretary Koichiro Matsuura, President Dr Janez Drnovšek had separate meetings with both President Trajkovski and Mr Matsuura. He also met with the special UN emissary for Kosovo, Harri Holkeri.

The UNESCO General Secretary first informed the President that, from October, the United States of America will again be a member of UNESCO. They agreed that this is important not just for this United Nations agency but also for multilateral relations in general. After the USA rejoins, the organisation will have 190 member states from all over the world, added Mr Matsuura. He then told President Drnovšek about some of the activities carried out by the agency and about the renovation of the Mostar bridge project, which is in its final phase. Mr Matsuura acknowledged the importance of Slovenia’s imminent membership of the European Union and said that Slovenia has made an important journey. President Drnovšek said that Slovenia will strive for as active a role as possible in SE Europe, while it is already helping candidate states by transferring Slovenia’s experiences of the EU accession process, and added that this transfer of knowledge and advice would continue.

Click to enlargeThe Macedonian President thanked Dr Drnovšek for attending the forum and for his contribution. Dr Drnovšek said that the theme of the forum is a very important one, although establishing a dialogue among different ethnic groups is a time-consuming process. In relation to this, he emphasised the importance of Macedonia’s inclusion in the European Union for the establishment of inter-ethnic equilibrium. Slovenia has always supported Macedonia in these processes, but the latter will have to complete the hardest part by itself, said the Slovenian President, expressing his hopes that Macedonia will succeed in continuing to successfully realise the Ohrid Agreement. This would send the right signal to the European Union, he added. President Trajkovski described the current situation in Macedonia, saying that more than 90 percent of the Agreement has already been realised. The political will exists, but more time is needed for certain matters, concluded the Macedonian President.

In the late afternoon, President Drnovšek met with the new head of the UN mission in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, who began by saying that this was his first trip abroad since he had taken on this function. He summarised the work of his three predecessors and said that the priorities in the mission’s activities remain the same, based on Security Council Resolution No. 1244. They relate in particular to the return of refugees and displaced persons, to improving the economic situation and to the encouragement of dialogue between Priština and Belgrade. Mr Holkeri’s predecessors had established a good working relationship with Slovenia, he added, and expressed his acknowledgements of Slovenia’s journey and the reputation Slovenia enjoys in SE Europe.

Dr Drnovšek then outlined the historical background of the Kosovo issue and presented his personal experience when, as President of the Presidency of the former Yugoslavia, he tried to conciliate the Serbian and Albanian sides at the negotiating table. Slovenia is and always has been willing to offer advice and its experience, as stability in Kosovo is undoubtedly in the interest of our country, said Dr Drnovšek.

Tomorrow morning, President Drnovšek will meet the Croatian President, Stjepan Mesić.
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