|At the invitation of the President of the Italian Republic, Mr Giorgio Napolitano, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr Danilo Türk last night attended a ceremonial concert marking the beginning of the Slovenian EU Presidency.
In the morning, President Türk had been received by Pope Benedict XVI. They discussed the recently published papal encyclical, the importance of hope and several other aspects of relations between the State and the Church. President Türk gave Pope Benedict XVI a presentation of the activities to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Primož Trubar. They also touched on several international issues, including the situation in Kosovo, international activities relating to global warming and other matters. Emphasising the good bilateral relations between Ljubljana and the Vatican, Dr Türk and the Pope also addressed the principle of separation of Church and State, as well as cooperation between them. President Türk reiterated the invitation to the Pope to visit Slovenia in the near future.
With the Cardinal Secretary of State, Msgr. Tarcisio Bertone, President Türk discussed, among other things, the possibility of establishing an ordinariate within the Slovenian Army and the restitution of cultural assets. In Dr Türk’s opinion, this era of intensive European integration offers a good opportunity to address the issue of the restitution of works of art confiscated from the Primorska Region and taken to Italy before World War II not only as a legal issue, but also as an issue of the definition of the cultural environment where these works of art belong. According to the Slovenian President, this would be a contribution to the co-existence of the Italian and Slovenian nations. “There is a new quality at work. I think that my partners in discussions understood the point being made and understood that this is the way in which problems should be solved in the future,” emphasised Dr Türk during an afternoon conference with members of the Slovenian press in Rome. In the day’s conversations, he had also especially asked for assistance in obtaining permission for the Vatican Library to lend Slovenia the only original copy of Trubar’s Cerkvena ordninga (Rules of the Protestant Church) for the purpose of the anniversary exhibition.
During the lunch in Dr Türk’s honour hosted by the President of the Italian Republic, Mr Giorgio Napolitano, the two Presidents discussed the situation in South-Eastern Europe and other topical international issues. The Slovenian President also informed his Italian counterpart regarding his meeting with the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Stjepan Mesić.