At the bilateral meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Karl Erjavec, new areas of cooperation in the political, economic, education, energy and technology spheres were identified.Foreign Minister Samaraweera thanked his counterpart for the warm reception accorded to him and his delegation by the Slovenian Government. He offered to host the first round of political consultations in 2017 and invited Foreign Minister Erjavec to visit Sri Lanka.Minister Samaraweera was invited to deliver a keynote address at the International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies (IFIMES) on “Democracy, Reconciliation and Development – vision for a new Sri Lanka”. At the Institute, Minister Samaraweera was presented with an award in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of reconciliation and harmony among different groups in Sri Lanka, by Professor Ernest Petric, Vice President of the Advisory Board of IFIMES. Presenting the award, Professor Petric commended the Minister for dedicating his political career to the promotion of social and ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka and noted that the new trajectory of the present Government of Sri Lanka provided an example to other countries. During the bilateral discussions with the Slovenian leadership, both sides noted the shared values and common commitment to upholding the principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights, which are an integral part of the policies of the two countries and central to ensuring the human security of the people.The Slovenian leadership commended the efforts of Sri Lanka’s National Unity Government’s political and economic reform agenda and reiterated the support of the Government of Slovenia for the efforts made to strengthen democracy, promote reconciliation and a lasting peace in Sri Lanka. During the visit, Minister Samaraweera met with President Borut Pahor, Prime Minister Miro Cerar, Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec and Minister of Economic Development and Technology Zdravko Počivalšek and reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to strengthening and consolidating the longstanding relations between Sri Lanka and Slovenia and identifying new areas of cooperation between the two countries. Minister Samaraweera also visited the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, one of the top ten research institutes in Europe and discussed research collaboration with identified Sri Lankan research institutions and universities. Sri Lanka has reaffirmed its commitment to further advance ties with Slovenia, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera visited the Republic of Slovenia on the invitation of Hon Karl Erjavec, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia to attend the 11th Bled Strategic Forum 2016. Speaking at the Bled Strategic Forum at the panel discussion on “Human Security: You and I Matter”, Minister Samaraweera outlined Sri Lanka’s experience of a protracted conflict and the efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka to move in a new direction based on the three pillars of democratization, reconciliation and economic development.