Slovenian President concludes official visit to Latin America with a meeting with Venezuelan President Chavez
Caracas, 4.4.2008 | press release
The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk, concluded his official visit to the countries of Latin America with a meeting with the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in Caracas.
The Slovenian and Venezuelan presidents focused their discussions on three groups of issues. President Türk presented the concept of the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit to be held in May in detail to his Venezuelan counterpart, as well as the keynote topics of the Summit. The two presidents discussed the different ways of assuring social cohesion and the progress achieved in this area in Latin America in recent years. According to President Türk, the positive effects of strong economic growth can be observed in the entire region; however, development has been unbalanced. Venezuela urgently needs to strengthen its educational system, health services and other services. The country is also interested in international cooperation in these areas, as it is disposed of sufficient financial resources earned from oil sales. Venezuela is willing to cooperate with all European countries, including Slovenia.
The two dignitaries also discussed the problem of global warming and energy strategies related thereto. Venezuela's oil reserves are among the greatest in the world, but the country is interested in renewable energy sources as well. President Chavez assured that he would take part in the Lima Summit and prepare a constructive approach to the issues to be discussed.
The presidents further talked about possible forms of cooperation between Slovenia and Venezuela in the future. "Venezuela appreciates Slovenia's contribution within the European Union and respects its achievements in the field of economic and social development. The country is interested in cooperation with Slovenian companies in the development of small and medium enterprises, the processing industry and trade network," explained the Slovenian president after the meeting with President Chavez.
President Chavez acquainted President Türk with his view on the question of peace and stability in Latin America, in particular in the Andean region. The recent crisis related to the incident between Columbia and Ecuador has been resolved; however, the reasons for the instability have not yet been eliminated, stated the Venezuelan president at the joint press conference. President Chavez ensured, among other things, that he would make every effort to enhance stability, a commitment made by the leaders of Latin American countries at the Rio Group Summit held in Santo Domingo at the beginning of March. Dr Türk commended the promptness of the action undertaken by the leaders to reach an agreement. He pointed out that he was encouraged by the assurances of constructive action in the future given to him by Columbian President Alvaro Uribe Velez and President Chavez during the meetings in the past two days.
The Slovenian and the Venezuelan presidents also touched upon the current efforts undertaken to free French-Columbian citizen Ingrid Betancourt. "I again urge those involved in the kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt to cooperate in this purely humanitarian mission," stressed Dr Türk at the press conference in Caracas. President Chavez ensured his cooperation in these efforts, stating that he would act with discretion.
During his official visit to Latin America in the past few days, the Slovenian president met with the presidents of Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela. The basis for President Türk’s visit was the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit, due to take place in Lima in May. The Slovenian president and the presidents of the four Latin American countries paid their utmost attention to the preparations for the EU-Latin America and Caribbean Summit, to assessing existing forms of cooperation between the EU and the countries of Latin America, and to the issues to be covered by the concluding document of the EU-LAC Summit, focusing in particular on the issues related to combating poverty and climate change. The presidents also discussed bilateral cooperation and topical international issues.