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Interview: Slovenia wishes to become major logistic hub of Belt and Road Initiative, says minister

Xinhua, May 19, 2017 Adjust font size:

A senior Slovenian official on Thursday praised the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, saying it would enhance economic cooperation and promote sustainable development within the Euro-Asian region.

"Slovenia wishes to establish itself as one of the major logistic hubs of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in this part of the world," Slovenian Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Pocivalsek told Xinhua in an interview.

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt form the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road and maritime trading routes.

Pocivalsek has just returned from the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was held in Beijing on May 14-15.

Over 100 countries and international organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund participated in the forum.

The forum is very successful for both China and other participating countries, Pocivalsek said.

"We support the goals of the forum and wish this project all the success," he said, adding Slovenian sees a lot of potential of cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We are especially interested in improving land, sea and air connectivity with China," he said. "We hope that direct flight connection between (China's northwestern city of) Xi'an and our capital city Ljubljana will be established soon."

Connectivity with China, he believes, will enhance bilateral tourism and people-to-people contacts, which is another very important dimension of this initiative.

Slovenia also sees great cooperation potential in the fields of digital and high-tech projects as well as sports and culture, Pocivalsek said.

Slovenia is prepared to join the initiative since it believes that "there is no connectivity without infrastructure. Without infrastructure, there is no economic growth. Without economic growth, there is no prosperity," Pocivalsek noted.

The minister said his country will do everything in its power to support the initiative in the next stages of its implementation, and will cooperate with other European countries that also support the idea. Endi