Minister Vučević meets with Slovenian Minister of Defence Šarec in Ljubljana
As part of his official visit to the Republic of Slovenia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Miloš Vučević, met with the Slovenian Minister of Defence, Marjan Šarec, in Ljubljana today.
After inspecting the Guard of Honour at the welcoming ceremony, ministers Vučević and Šarec had a tête-à-tête conversation, followed by a meeting between the two delegations they led.
In his address after the meeting, Minister Vučević said he was pleased with his visit to Slovenia and his talks with his Slovenian counterpart, during which mutual cooperation and assistance during natural disasters were emphasized.
- I would like to underline that if, God forbid, a situation arises again similar to that experienced by Slovenia when disastrous fires swept through the country, you can count on the Republic of Serbia to make all its resources available and selflessly share them with its Slovenian friends, just as the Republic of Slovenia helped my country, Serbia, during the floods in 2014, for which we are deeply grateful. The citizens of Serbia and the Serbian people will never forget that, said Minister Vučević.
According to him, the topics of conversation also included the current political and security situation and the war in Ukraine.
- One of the topics was also the position of our two countries, taking into account the fact that Slovenia is a NATO member country and the fact that Serbia is a neutral country, a country that has a very clear position when it comes to Ukraine, fully recognizing its internationally recognized borders, stressed the Serbian Minister of Defence.
He said that the meeting had also discussed the participation of members of the Slovenian Armed Forces in KFOR in Kosovo and Metohija, and expressed Serbia’s gratitude, primarily that of the Serbian people living in Kosovo and Metohija, for the contribution of the Slovenian soldiers.
- It is a good relationship and Minister Šarec has visited, if I am not mistaken, Kosovo and Metohija twice and has seen the situation in Slovenian and KFOR troops, and has learned what the thinking of the local residents is. He has also visited some of Serbia’s most important national religious and cultural buildings, and I am grateful to him for that, Minister Vučević said.
Speaking about the other topics discussed at today's meetings, the Serbian Minister of Defence said that there had been talk of improving military-economic and military-technical cooperation.
- The Serbian Defence Industry purchases a large number of products, raw materials, and components for our weapons and military equipment from Slovenian companies. We have also discussed potential projects involving joint production of certain combat systems and possible ways for us to improve that cooperation, considering all the things that are happening globally, and being aware of the arms race that is taking place throughout the world, including our region. We must be aware of this, not because we want anyone to go to war or die, but in order to protect the security and sovereignty of our countries, respecting each other. Therefore, the Serbian side is very interested in maintaining and, if possible, improving military-economic and military-technical cooperation with Slovenian companies, said the Serbian Minister of Defence.
At the end of his address, Minister Vučević thanked Slovenia for supporting Serbia on its European path and Minister Šarec for his personal commitment and for always having a positive attitude towards Serbia’s European path.
According to the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, Marjan Šarec, it is very important to strengthen cooperation between Slovenia and Serbia, which have very good bilateral relations. He said that good cooperation and solidarity was particularly evident in the case of natural disasters. He expressed his gratitude for Serbia’s assistance in the fight against the fires that hit Slovenia last summer and highlighted the importance of cooperation between the countries in the region in emergency situations.
- Bilateral defence and military cooperation is already established in most areas of mutual interest. We cooperate mainly in the fields of military medicine, veterinary medicine, education and certain logistics segments, as well as in units’ training, Minister Šarec said.
The Slovenian minister of defence said that the meeting was an opportunity to exchange opinions on the current security situation in the region, and particularly on the war in Ukraine, regional cooperation and cooperation in international missions and operations.
- The Western Balkans is a very important region in strategic sense, and our foreign and security policy is focused precisely on the Western Balkans region. We participate in a number of international missions and operations. Slovenia plays an active role in this region, from our military presence to various forms of promoting stability, security and development. Slovenia will continue to work on deepening defence and security cooperation, Minister Šarec said, adding that Slovenia's primary role was aimed at solving common challenges, such as hybrid threats.
According to Minister Šarec, cooperation within regional initiatives is important and Slovenia and Serbia are cooperating very well within the Balkan Medical Task Force. He said it was important to discuss the archives of the former joint country and offered help in digitizing the joint archival heritage.
The two ministers discussed defence reforms and the modernization of the armed forces. The meeting was an opportunity for Minister Šarec to brief the Serbian MoD delegation on the changes in the long-term development and equipping programme of the Slovenian Armed Forces until 2040.
Today, Minister Vučević also visited the members of the Slovenian National Assembly's Committee on Defence in Ljubljana, where he spoke with the chair of the Committee, Martin Premk.
Today, Minister Vučević and his delegation will visit the Pokljuka training ground, where the 132nd Mountain Regiment is trained.