Interview for Kuwait News Agency
Ljubljana, 10.1.2010 | interview
Slovenia's President praises ties with Kuwait
Journalist: Abdelwaheb El-Gueyed
Slovenia's President Danilo Turk has said that relations between his country and Kuwait have developed significantly in all fields.
Speaking to KUNA in interview prior to his visit to Kuwait on Monday, Turk said that the base for the Slovenian-Kuwaiti good ties dated back to the independence of Slovenia.
He said that his visit to Kuwait, at the top of a delegation of ministers and senior officials, reflects the keenness of Slovenia to boost cooperation and strengthen ties with the Arab Gulf state.
Turk said that he will discuss with Kuwaiti officials issues of joint interest, political issues in the Middle East, and economic cooperation.
It is important to think about new forms of economic cooperation, especially in the field of investment and energy, he stressed.
He pointed out that Slovenia hosted a new European center to organize energy, Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER), adding that he looked forward to exchanging opinions on that issue with officials in Kuwait.
He called for boosting tourism between the two countries and improving the system of granting visas.
The President, who will visit Qatar as well during his Gulf tour, noted that he had recently visited Jordan and will be visiting other countries of the region.
He said that his country's Prime Minister visited Egypt shortly after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visited Slovenia last November.
Such frequent visits to the Arab world prove that Slovenia is serious about developing its relations and increasing cooperation with Arab countries, he stressed.
Meanwhile, Turk said that his country, as an active member of the European Union (EU), strongly supports the establishment of two states, an Israeli and a Palestinian, based on the borders of 1967.
In addition, Slovenia calls for halting the construction of Israeli settlements in occupied territories in the West Bank so that the peace process could resume, he said.
He expressed belief that the resumption of talks between the Palestinians and Israelis was greatly related to halting the construction of settlements.
The President stressed that Slovenia needed more economic and social development reforms, adding that the average yearly income of Slovenians is USD 27,000, which ranks the country between 27 and 30 on the international development index of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
On terrorism, he said his country coordinated with the EU developing a program to fight terrorism. He added that more cooperation, regarding the exchange of information and coordination between security bodies, was needed.
He said that Muslims were a minority in Slovenia, mostly of which are originally from Bosnia.
He stressed that his country respected their religious traditions, adding that the construction of a mosque in Ljubljana will be done soon.
He expressed hope that Muslims will continue their contribution in the cultural, social, and economic development of Slovenia.
According to the latest statistics issued in 2002, there are about 27,000 Muslims in Slovenia, making up 2.4 percent of the population.