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27 Jan 2023.

Minister Vučević attends St. Sava Day celebration in Skopje

Acting as a delegate of the President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces Aleksandar Vučić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Miloš Vučević has attended the celebration of St. Sava Day – the national holiday of the Republic of North Macedonia. The celebration was held in Skopje’s National Theatre tonight.

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, was awarded the St. Sava Charter, for everything he has done for the Serbian community in the Republic of North Macedonia, which was presented to Minister Vučević, as a representative of the President of Serbia, by the chair of the organizing committee for the event, Ivan Stoilković.

Minister Vučević addressed the audience, saying that the St. Sava Day celebration has been held for years to mark the national holiday of Serbs living in North Macedonia, and that it is traditionally held in Skopje, under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia.

According to Minister of Defence, the goal is for “Svetosavlje”, as an idea of ​​enlightenment, harmony and fraternal love, to remain inextricably woven into our national being and for future generations to "learn how to live a life worthy of the ideal that has sustained and united us throughout the centuries".

- Saint Sava does not belong only to Serbs. He belongs to all people of good will. Saint Sava belongs to all Christians. His work is timeless and it still inspires us today. “Svetosavlje” is a foothold for the entire Serbian nation, because it has showed us the path of faith and goodness, it has showed us what we should learn, what we should be and where we should go, said the Minister of Defence.

He said that in 1219, Serbia had stood up and decided to make its own decisions.

- And when Saint Sava brought autocephaly to the Serbian Orthodox Church, he also brought freedom to our people and our country, as well as the right to speak our own language, to make our own decisions and choose our own path. And 804 years later, while dangerous geopolitical games are being played, Serbia remains independent and its own, dependent exclusively on the interests of its people, Minister Vučević said.

Today, Serbia is facing the same trials and tribulations as it did in Saint Sava’s times, but "thanks to the wise and responsible leadership of President Aleksandar Vučić, Serbia is moving forward bravely and holding its head high and it is developing despite all the challenges that the whole world, and Serbia in particular, is facing".

- The President of the Republic of Serbia and the entire leadership of our country pursue a policy that rests on the St. Sava Covenant. Serbia is unequivocally and strongly committed to pursuing the policy of peace and the freedom-loving spirit, to living in fraternal harmony and love both with each other and with other nations, to bringing prosperity to our people, to building a better and safer future for our descendants, said the Minister of Defence.
 

Serbia attaches great importance to improving bilateral relations with the Republic of North Macedonia, Minister Vučević said.

- As good friends and neighbours, together we have launched a major development initiative called "Open Balkan", we have settled the decades-long burning issue between the two churches, which we are proud of, bringing the two brotherly nations even closer together, because everything that unites us is good and beneficial. It is no coincidence that today the construction of the magnificent Church of St. Sava is being completed on the same site where his relics were burned long ago. Also, today we can proudly stand in front of the first monument erected in honour of St. Sava’s father and the founder of the medieval Serbian state, the great Stefan Nemanja, said the Minister of Defence.

The paths of “Svetosavlje” must remain unsullied, because they guide us through life and future, he said.

- This great holiday, which is celebrated by all Serbs in the mother country, whose rich symbolism reminds us to be better people and responsible citizens, to preserve the memory of our glorious ancestors and at the same time to build a secure future for our descendants, to be united, to cherish the Serbian language and the Cyrillic alphabet, to foster good relations with our neighbours, to strive for a peaceful and better future. Following the paths of Saint Sava, we cannot make mistakes, we cannot go astray, and that is the only way we can defend the right of our children and our children's children to live in freedom and peacefully coexist with all our neighbours in these areas, said Minister Vučević, extending his best wishes for St. Sava Day and expressing gratitude to the hosts for their warm hospitality.

Addressing the audience, the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovacevski, wished everyone a happy holiday, on behalf of the government of that country and on his own behalf, expressing hope that this holiday would be celebrated for a long time. He said that Saint Sava’s ideas would go down in history and be remembered by the nations living in this region. He added that we should be united in our common idea of ​​peace and that only thus we can move forward as nations living in this region.

Radovan Kovačević, acting as the representative of the President of Republika Srpska Milorad Dodik, and Ivan Stojiljković, the organizer of the event, also addressed the audience, and dramatist Dragoslav Bokan gave a lecture on Saint Sava.

The Ministry of Defence "Stanislav Binički" Artistic Ensemble gave performance at the event, with soloists and the Mixed Choir, starting with the performance of St. Sava’s Anthem. Folk and spiritual compositions alternated, which the audience greeted with thunderous applause.

Earlier today, Minister Vučević also visited the "St. Cyril and Methodius" Primary School in the village of Kučevište, where he attended a school celebration of St. Sava Day.


The Ministry of Defence delegation led by Minister Vučević visited the Church of Saint Michael the Archangel and the ossuary where Minister Vučević laid a wreath to honour Serbian soldiers who died in the First World War and attended the commemoration.
 


News

23 Dec 2022.


Ceremonial closing of the exhibition „Memories from the Ashes: National Library of Serbia on 6 April 1941“


The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in the Republic of North Macedonia, in cooperation with the Belgrade Museum of Genocide Victims and with the support of the National and University Library „St. Kliment Ohridski“ from Skopje, organised the closing ceremony and expert management of the exhibition „Memories from the Ashes: National Library of Serbia on 6 April 1941“.

The expert management of the exhibition, arranged by the author of the exhibition and Director of the Museum of Genocide Victims Dejan Ristić, was attended by numerous representatives of diplomatic missions, prominent cultural institutions, the Serbian community in North Macedonia and interested citizens.

On that occasion, the attendees were presented with the historical context and consequences of one of the biggest crimes against cultural heritage in the Second World War.


News

19 Dec 2022.

Skopje: Ambassador Jovanović interviewed for the Serbian language magazine Slovo

Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in North Macedonia Nevena Jovanović gave a long interview for the December edition of the Serbian language magazine Slovo, issued by the Serbian cultural-information centre SPONA in the Republic of North Macedonia. She talked about the bilateral relations between Serbia and North Macedonia, the current situation in Kosovo and Metohija, the Open Balkan Initiative, the status of the Serbian community in North Macedonia, and the preservation and protection of the Serbian cultural heritage in North Macedonia.

Ambassador Jovanović stated that Serbia’s relations with the neighbouring North Macedonia were very good, close and friendly, and that their foundations were the strong cultural and historical connections between the two countries. She emphasised that the Republic of Serbia, led by President Aleksandar Vučić, was strongly committed to building good neighbourly relations and deeply dedicated to the preservation of peace and stability in the region, as one of its absolute priorities. In that context, she stressed that Serbia’s only interest with respect to North Macedonia was to further intensify the bilateral relations, which had been showing progress over the preceding few years. She also stated that the Open Balkan Initiative, as well as the resolution of the multi-decade dispute between the two Orthodox Christian Churches in May 2022, had certainly helped the two countries develop closer relations.

Talking about the Open Balkan Initiative, Ambassador Jovanović said that it provided an efficient and stimulating model of regional cooperation and further inter-connecting of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania, and the region as a whole. She emphasised that the main objective of this Initiative, which promoted the four fundamental freedoms which the European Union was based on (free movement of goods, capital, services and people), was the improvement of the overall quality of life of our citizens. She also highlighted that the Open Balkan Initiative, through the agreements concluded up to date, provided mechanisms which would make it easier for citizens of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania to face the consequences of the energy and food crisis and the difficult winter ahead.

As regards the geostrategic position of Serbia, Ambassador Jovanović emphasised that, in spite of everything, the Republic of Serbia, led by President Aleksandar Vučić, remained strongly committed to the preservation of peace and stability, and was doing everything in its power to protect the lives and interests of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. She described the policy of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and President Vučić as an open-handed, future-facing policy, and said that Serbia, although it was not infrequently faced with a policy of double standards, never allowed that to affect its commitment to preserving peace and stability at any cost.

To the question about the “different” views of Belgrade and Skopje in the matter of resolving the problems in Kosovo and Metohija, Ambassador Jovanović stated that the Republic of Serbia was committed to building good relations with North Macedonia, in spite of their different views about this matter, which was a vital and essential one for Serbia.

In her interview to the Slovo magazine, Ambassador Jovanović also talked about the status of the Serbian community in the Republic of North Macedonia, which, although numerous and active, was drastically declining in numbers according to the results of the latest population census. She said that a particularly worrying matter was the the number of people who had said they spoke Serbian, and emphasised that the preservation of the Serbian language was necessary in order to preserve the Serbian identity, culture and traditions.

Ambassador Jovanović also stressed that the preservation and safeguarding of the Serbian cultural heritage in North Macedonia was a comprehensive and highly responsible task, which required thorough and careful work in collaboration between relevant institutions of both the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic of Serbia, and that the volume of that heritage obliged everyone to approach its preservation with particular attention.

 


News

13 Dec 2022.

Exhibition „Memories from the Ashes: National Library of Serbia on 6 April“ opened


Exhibition „Memories from the Ashes: The National Library of Serbia on 6 April 1941“, organised by the Belgrade Museum of Genocide Victims, with the support of the Cultural Information Centre „Spona“ from Skopje, was officially opened in the National and University Library „St. Kliment Ohridski“ in the capital of the Republic of North Macedonia.

This exhibition will present to the Macedonian public the historical context and tragic consequences of the largest single war crime committed against cultural and identity heritage in the entire area of Europe during the Second World War, in which almost the entire national fund was destroyed, which included about 354,000 titles of monographic publications in about 500,000 volumes, over 1,400 Cyrillic manuscripts and charters from 12th to17th century, a cartographic and graphic collection of 1,500 issues, 4,000 magazine titles and 1,800 newspaper titles, including the entire libraries of cultural greats such as Vuk Karadžić, Lukian Mušicki and Đura Daničić.

During the opening ceremony of the exhibition on the destruction of the National Library of Serbia on 6 April 1941, Director of the National and University Library „St. Kliment Ohridski“ Rahmetuli Kući, author of the exhibition and Director of the Museum of Genocide Victims Dejan Ristić and Ambassador of Serbia to the Republic of North Macedonia Nevena Jovanović, who officially opened the exhibition, addressed the audience.

Ambassador Nevena Jovanović noted that the National Library was, not by chance, one of the first targets of the Nazi German Air Force, and for this reason 6 April 1941 is not only the day when the Second World War began in Serbia and when the capital of the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia was mercilessly bombed, but also one of the saddest dates for Serbian and world cultural heritage, when an attempt was made to erase the entire cultural and national identity of one nation.

She emphasised the importance of fostering a culture of remembrance so that such crimes would not be repeated in the future.

Exhibition „Memories from the Ashes: The National Library of Serbia on 6 April 1941“ will be open until 22 December 2022.


News

17 Nov 2022.

Ambassador Jovanović met with directors of veterinary specialist institutes from Serbia

Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of North Macedonia Nevena Jovanović met with directors of veterinary specialist institutes from Serbia, who were visiting Skopje on the occasion of marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in that city.

In a conversation with Director of the Scientific Veterinary Institute of Serbia Dobrila Jakić-Dimić PhD, directors of the veterinary specialist institutes from Niš Miloš Petrović PhD, Nikola Milutinović PhD from Šabac, Sava Lazić PhD from Novi Sad and Miša Kolarević PhD from Kraljevo, and with Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Belgrade prof. Milorad Mirilović PhD, Ambassador Jovanović highlighted the good bilateral cooperation between Serbia and North Macedonia and discussed with the interlocutors the possibilities offered by the Open Balkan initiative.

At the Ceremonial Academy on the occasion of marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje, the hosts emphasised the long-standing successful cooperation between the two faculties and related institutions in the field of education, science and animal health care.

Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of St. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje Lazo Pendovski PhD presented long-term collaborators from Serbia with plaques for their contribution to the development of this institution.

 


News

28 October 2022.

 Ambassador Jovanović meets with Minister of Labour and Social Policy of North Macedonia Jovana Trenchevska

Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in North Macedonia Nevena Jovanović met with Minister of Labour and Social Policy of North Macedonia Jovana Trenchevska, and discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and the possibilities of cooperation within the Open Balkan Initiative.

Ambassador Jovanović and Minister Trenchevska agreed that the relations between Serbia and North Macedonia were exceptionally good and based on friendship, mutual understanding and trust, and that the Open Balkan Initiative had made the two countries even closer.

Ambassador Jovanović emphasised that Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia had signed the 2002 Social Security Agreement, and that all social security matters were being successfully addressed in direct communication of the competent institutions.

Minister Trenchevska thanked the Republic of Serbia for the support it had provided in moments of crisis to the Republic of North Macedonia, and congratulated Ambassador Jovanović on the formation of the new Government of Serbia.

 


News

24. October 2022.

The 110th anniversary of the Battle of Kumanovo marked



Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in Skopje Nevena Jovanović and representatives of the Embassy attended the state ceremony marking the 110th anniversary of the Battle of Kumanovo at the Zebrnjak Memorial near Kumanovo.
The state ceremony, honouring the remains of fallen Serbian soldiers, was organised by the Serbian Government's Committee for Nurturing the Traditions of the Liberation Wars of Serbia and the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Skopje, with the support of the city of Vranje.

In addition to the state delegation, the ceremony was attended by representatives of the Serbian Army and the Army of the Republic of North Macedonia, local self-governments of North Macedonia, numerous associations of Serbs from North Macedonia, veterans' associations and associations for nurturing traditions, as well as descendants of fallen Serbian soldiers.

The Battle of Kumanovo, fought on 23-24 October 1912 during the First Balkan War, in which the army of the Kingdom of Serbia won a magnificent victory over the military of the Ottoman Empire, is considered one of the most significant battles in the history of the Serbian people.


News

21 October 2022.

Serbian Language Day celebrated



The Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in Skopje, Nevena Jovanović, participated today at a conference marking the Day of the Serbian Language in North Macedonia.

The conference was organized by the Institute for the Macedonian Language Krste Misirkov from Skopje. The participants included the director of the Institute for the Serbian Language of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Sofija Miloradović, who signed a Memorandum with the director of the Institute for the Macedonian Language Krste Misirkov, Elena Jovanova-Grujovska, on cooperation between the two institutes.

Ambassador Jovanović said that preserving a native language is an integral part of preserving national identity and pointed out the importance of education in Serbian language for representatives of the Serbian community in North Macedonia, reminding that the Serbian language in Macedonia is studied in primary and secondary schools as well as universities.

Ambassador Jovanović pointed out that today's signing of the Memorandum on Cooperation between the Institute for the Macedonian Language Krste Misirkov and the Institute for the Serbian Language of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts will further deepens the relations between our two countries.

Pupils from Strašo Pindžur Elementary School from the village of Josifovo, who study Serbian language within the subject Language and Culture of Serbs recited famous verses by Jovan Jovanović Zmaj and Ljubivoje Ršumović.

 


News

18. Oct 2022.

Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selaković at the meeting of the UN Security Council on the report on the work of UNMIK

Mr. President,

Madam Special Representative,

Ladies and gentleman,

It gives me honor to address this distinguished body once again and to discuss the latest report of the Secretary-General on the work of the UNMIK.

I would like to thank the Secretary-General and the Special Representative for submitting the report. We take note of the efforts that Ms. Ziadeh makes in performing this very responsible duty, especially bearing in mind the necessity of a comprehensive overview and the complexity of the situation on the ground.

I also take this opportunity to underline that the Republic of Serbia highly values the activities of UNMIK in Kosovo and Metohija, established under UN Security Council Resolution 1244. We advocate for its continued operation in an unchanged and undiminished scope and capacity, especially bearing in mind that the Mission has not yet achieved the main goal of its mandate - a peaceful and normal life for all citizens of our southern province.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Unfortunately, the last few months have not brought more stability in Kosovo and Metohija and the situation in the Province is not exactly as presented in the report. Unilateral moves of Pristina continue to consciously and systematically deepen ethnic differences, causing discrimination against the non-Albanian population. To our knowledge, 105 ethnically motivated attacks have been recorded since the beginning of this year. In addition, Pristina is actively working on administrative and bureaucratic obstacles, by taking measures that were not agreed upon in the dialogue as the basic mechanism for negotiations and reaching solutions between Belgrade and Pristina. Pristina’s approach is problematic in many ways. This irresponsible conduct of Pristina is consciously sabotaging the efforts not only of Belgrade, but also of the EU and other involved parties of the international community, with the clear intention of achieving two goals - the first being to avoid the implementation of assumed commitments. The second, the ultimate and far more alarming goal is the intimidation, marginalization and persecution of Serbs.

In all previous statements before this this distinguished body, Pristina focused on what happened in the past while failing to mention, which is painful to witness, how non-Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija live today. Serbs are still intimidated in different ways, forced to leave their homes, villages and cities. Those displaced are discouraged from returning to where they were born and lived their lives.

The provisional institutions work systematically to remove and erase as much as possible of the cultural and national diversity that is left. At the same time, Pristina is consciously fueling inter-ethnic tensions using all available methods.

Attending religious celebrations seems to be a crime in Kosovo and Methohija. It is the case of Nikola Nedeljković who was arrested for allegedly "inciting ethnic hatred and intolerance", but actually his imprisonment was for attending the St. Vitus Day (Vidovdan) celebration.

Nikola was sentenced to eight months in prison without any material evidence. On the other hand, let me remind you that even to this day there is not a single perpetrator held legally accountable for the more than 1,000 Serbs killed since 1999. Due to planned intimidation, almost all towns and villages in Kosovo and Metohija are ethnically cleansed.

Representatives of Pristina are ignoring the suffering, insulting the open wounds of the Serbs who had to leave their ancestral homes, and I underline, there are more than 200,000 of them. Such conduct has not change for last 23 years and is in complete opposite to the democratic values and principles that the provisional institutions of self-government often promote in their statements.

Therefore, I consider it necessary to emphasize that the true political will of the involved international actors and Pristina is necessary in order to create the conditions for the beginning of the end of discrimination on a national basis and common life in the Province.

Esteemed members of the Security Council, I would like to draw your attention to the rigid, problematic and extremely irresponsible conduct of the other negotiating party within the dialogue. In achieving the above-mentioned goals, Pristina applies the so-called policy of reciprocity, a well-thought-out, malicious strategy that, unfortunately, was not constructed independently. By continuously insisting on mutual recognition as a central part of the dialogue, the so-called policy of reciprocity demonstrates the essential unwillingness of the current political leadership of Pristina to find any compromise solution. Let me remind you that the talks between Belgrade and Pristina did not start with last elections in Pristina, but have been in progress for 11 years since the technical dialogue started (8 March 2011). Therefore, we assess as inadmissible attempts to disregard the current format of the dialogue, and annul the agreements only because they are not to the liking of the current political factors. It is unacceptable that the current geopolitical circumstances are being used to simply erase what has been painstakingly worked on for years. Belgrade, I underline, was institutionally involved in the dialogue from the very beginning, while the commitment of the other side has varied and continues to vary depending on the political option that is in power.

The harsher political rhetoric and narrative of the current leadership of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina are accompanied by concrete destabilizing steps. In the reporting period, measures on license plates were imposed, disguised as attempts at alleged integration into society.

Let me remind you again, there was no agreement on such measures in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. I believe, ladies and gentlemen, that even today we will hear from the representative of Pristina that their side has fulfilled all obligations, but the decision on re-registration of license plates shows that Pristina is not only failing to fulfill what has been agreed upon, but it nullifies the results of the dialogue, creating a new crisis all over again. The effect of such forcibly imposed measures is best illustrated by the fact that since the decision was made a single-digit number of re-registered vehicles with Serbian license plates has been recorded, of which only two are Serbs from the north of Kosovo and Metohija. This is another indicator that Pristina does not enjoy full support, but that, on the other hand, it continuously provokes the natural reaction of the Serbian population, which cannot endlessly be subject to the arbitrariness of temporary institutions.

I believe that even today we will hear already known narrative of representatives from Pristina who try to present every reaction of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija as an activity organized by Belgrade in alleged attempts at destabilization.

Such claims are simply not true. Serbia, for its part, cannot in any way contain the revolt present among the non-Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohija. It is an undeniable fact that citizens' protests represent a voice against many years of institutional violence and the deprivation of rights of the non-Albanian population, which, in this case, is denied the right to peaceful enjoyment of private property acquired in a legal manner.

Pristina does not cease in its attempts to confiscate property, and, as is well-known, one of the targets is the Serbian Orthodox Church. By calling into question the return of property to the Dečani Monaster Pristina paradoxically does not execute the decisions of its own so-called Constitutional Court.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I thought for a long time how to best illustrate the true picture of everyday life of the non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija. I will mention only some of the facts. Numerous ethnically motivated incidents, hate speech, intimidation, violations of the right to a fair trial, threats to the right to freedom of movement and religious rights, desecration of churches and graves were recorded in the last reporting period as well. The frequent attacks on the sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church are also unacceptable, and especially the humiliating attitude towards the Serbian cultural and spiritual heritage, including the 4 monuments that have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Numerous administrative and technical barriers are imposed on priests and monastic communities, making it difficult and even impossible for them to survive on church properties.

When it comes to civil rights, try to imagine that the basic political and civil right to vote has been taken away from you.
This is precisely what the Serbs in the Province have experienced along with frequent intimidation and violent incursions of the ROSU special forces, which are an instrument for the implementation of Pristina's goals under the pretext of allegedly fighting crime.

In December last year Bratislav Nikolić the president of municipality of Štrpce has been detained, as suspected of the organized crime and corruption - still not charged, kept in detention unit in Podujevo, only for the reason to make additional and final pressure on the Serbian community living in the enclave of Štrpce. How can this be justified as the fight against crime when special forces are used to raid village festivals, schools and kidnap drivers of ambulance transporting infusion containers and medicines? What are the motives behind and how can one rationalize these actions?

Just try to imagine and put yourself in the shoes of Ms. Dragica Gašić, the only Serbian returnee in Djakovica. Imagine that you are still not allowed to buy bread because of your origin and nationality, because you live in a municipality that the local Albanians proudly consider forbidden to non-Albanians. Imagine that as many as eleven Albanian civil society organizations demand your expulsion, as well as a ban on any non-Albanian ever returning to that town. Then you will realize the level of intimidation that Serb returnees are facing. It will be clear to you why the percentage of returnees is below 2% and why it is still one of the lowest in the world. Let me pose a question - are these the characteristics of a society that presents itself to the world as a fully fledged democracy and a factor of stability in the region?

We are aware that the dialogue has a wider dimension and that it can affect the situation in the entire region.

This is reflected in every statement given by Serbian officials, including the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić. "It is better to negotiate for a hundred years than to fight for a day" are the words of our President that best describe the policy of peace, reconciliation, and regional cooperation pursued by the Serbian leadership, which is guided by the vision of building a common and prosperous future of the Balkans.

I believe that it is a duty of today's leaders to create a clear common vision for the future generations. Such a vision was shown by the leaders of Belgrade, Skoplje and Tirana by creating Open Balkan, an initiative from the region for the region, which is already producing concrete results. Serbia has on several occasions reached out to Pristina inviting it to join this initiative. We counted on an awareness of the importance of economic connectivity and progress for the benefit of the citizens of the entire Balkans. However, our invitation was not met with understating from the other side.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We categorically reject Pristina's argumentation regarding the alleged unconstitutionality of the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities. It is clear that Pristina's attitude towards this obligation reflects its attitude towards the Serbian people in the Province. It also indicates that Pristina is against Serbian people being organized as an ethnic community and thus exercising their collective rights.

The aim of their approach, as a preferred model, is a community without Serbs, such as those in Pristina, Djakovica or Pec, or some similar localities in the Province. For our side, it is unacceptable that Pristina has refused to fulfil its obligations and discuss the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities for as much as 3,470 days but I assure you that, regardless of this fact, Serbia will not give up on its efforts to find a compromise solution for the current situation.

I will remind you that the representatives of Pristina, although they often repeat in their statements that the case of the so-called Kosovo is a fait accompli, continue not to be recognized by the majority of UN member states for 14 years now. If the so-called Kosovo's independence is a reality, how come that we have the dialogue? And how come that Belgrade is faced with increasing pressures as regards the need for mutual recognition? What the current political leadership of Pristina refuses to accept is that Belgrade cannot be left out in the search for a final solution. The same also applies to the case of the increasingly frequent indications about Pristina's upcoming membership in international organizations. Will these moves help to create the necessary atmosphere for dialogue? Are we, in this way, rewarding Pristina's destructive behaviour and refusal of dialogue? Our view is that the attempts of the so-called Kosovo to join international organizations are an unacceptable act and Serbia will work decisively against such steps.

During the last session in April this year, we could hear the calls of some members of the UN Security Council to reduce and even terminate UNMIK, with the explanation that Pristina has its own functional institutions. However, the circumstances I have presented to you and the situation on the ground remind us again that international presence in our southern province is still necessary. In this regard, we support the efforts made by UNMIK, KFOR, EULEX and OMIK within their mandates. The Serbian and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija has the highest confidence in the international presence and considers it a guarantor of security, which additionally confirms that international missions need to remain engaged in an undiminished scope and capacity in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

In conclusion,

I would like to point out that lately in all international forums we keep hearing calls for respect of the principles of the UN. We support the territorial integrity of all UN member states. But, what about Serbia? I would like to ask the esteemed members of this distinguished body whether the need to implement the principles of the UN Charter applies only to some or all of its members? As a country that consistently respects international law and still suffers the consequences of it being violated, we believe that the UN Charter and international law, including the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, should be respected by all and apply indiscriminately to all UN member states.
Ladies and gentleman,

It was this body that more than two decades ago adopted Resolution 1244, which confirmed the territorial integrity of Serbia. This fact did not prevent certain countries from recognizing the so-called “Kosovo” and thus violating the UN principles, but also the resolution that they adopted, by adjusting international law to their interests and goals. Precisely because of this, the more and more frequent mentioning of the case of "Kosovo" is an indication that the precedent made opened a Pandora's box, because the strength of each principle rests on its full and universal application and unconditional adherence.

You will notice that I posed a lot of questions in my statement and I express hope that today we will hear answers to at least some of them from you, esteemed members of the UN Security Council and representatives of Pristina, because the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija, of any nationality, whether they are Serbs or Albanians deserve it.

All the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija have every right to expect an improvement in the atmosphere and the reduction of tensions on the ethnic level, which are a prerequisite for a normal life. For such a step to be made, we need constructiveness, which is not lacking on the Serbian side, genuine support of international actors. I emphasize that Serbia has always been and remains deeply committed to finding a sustainable solution by peaceful means, for the sake of peace, stability and a common future.

Thank you.

 


News

14 October 2022.

Ambassador Jovanović at the Women in Foreign Policy Conference

On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of North Macedonia Nevena Jovanović spoke at the Women in Foreign Policy International Conference, as part of the panel Women in Leading and Decision-Making Positions, held at the level of Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the region.

Organized for the second year by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia, the conference was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Slavica Grkovska and Minister of Foreign Affairs Bujar Osmani.

Ambassador Jovanović presented positive experiences and examples of good practice of the Republic of Serbia regarding gender equality and strengthening the position of women in all spheres of social and political life. She pointed out that Serbia is making efforts to achieve greater representation of women in leadership positions, pointing to statistics in the context of the percentage of women in high positions in the executive and legislative branches in Serbia.

Ambassador Jovanović said that the Republic of Serbia adopted several laws and strategic documents in this area, including the Law on Gender Equality, the Strategy for Gender Equality and the Strategy for Preventing and Combating Gender-Based Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. She pointed out that the Republic of Serbia is supporting a high level of participation of women in foreign policy, which is best illustrated by the fact that of the total number of heads of diplomatic and consular missions, 31 percent are women.


News

10 September 2022.

Ambassador Jovanović with Director of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism

Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in Skopje, Nevena Jovanović, met with Director of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism in North Macedonia, Ljupčo Janevski, with whom she discussed tourism potentials of the two countries as well as the Open Balkan Initiative, which opens unlimited possibilities in this field.

Ambassador Jovanović pointed out at the meeting that the tourism sector is one more bridge connecting our two friendly and close people, and emphasised the importance of affirmation of the common tourism potentials.

Interlocutors confirmed excellent results in this field to date, and particularly within the Open Balkan Initiative, assessing that the Initiative opens possibilities for acting together in third markets.

Director of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism Janevski informed Ambassador Jovanović that in the first seven months of 2022, tourists from Serbia visited North Macedonia by 16% more compared to the same period in 2019, and that an even higher influx of tourists from Serbia is expected in the coming year.

At the meeting, it was emphasised that the high level of cooperation in the field of tourism between the two countries is also indicated by increased cooperation within IPA, and it was assessed that this trend will continue in 2023 as well.


News

Survey on the Citizens of the Republic of Serbia living Abroad

Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia in the period from 1 to 31 October conduct "Survey on the Citizens of the Republic of Serbia living Abroad". We invite the citizens of the Republic of Serbia who live abroad with all the members of their households or as a single-person household to take part in the survey.

The aim of this survey is to obtain as complete a picture as possible on the number and main demographic, migratory, educational characteristics of our citizens abroad. If you wish to participate in the survey, please register and fill in the on-line Questionnaire .


News

16. Sep 2022.

Ambassador Jovanović with Mayor of Bitola Municipality Toni Konjanovski

Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in Skopje Nevena Jovanović, during her visit to Bitola and the marking of the Day of Serbian Unity, Freedom and National Flag, met with Mayor of Bitola Municipality Toni Konjanovski.

During the meeting, it was noted that bilateral relations between the two countries were at a very high level, with the assessment that such cooperation should be further expanded, primarily in the field of trade, agriculture, culture, and that it would be useful to make the most of the current upgrade in relations between Serbia and North Macedonia to connect and bring together the local self-governments of the two countries.

Ambassador Jovanović pointed out the excellent bilateral relations between Serbia and North Macedonia, which was the result of responsible thinking and actions of the political leaders of the two countries, who recognised the importance of rapprochement and regional cooperation. In this context, she expressed her satisfaction that the Open Balkan initiative, thanks to the concrete results it produced in a short time, was strongly supported by the Macedonian public, just as it was the case in Serbia.

The Ambassador especially thanked the interlocutor for the attitude of the Municipality of Bitola towards the local Serbian community, assessing that the members of the Serbian community in the Republic of North Macedonia, as well as the Macedonian national minority in Serbia, represented a bridge that further connected the two friendly countries.

The Mayor of the Municipality of Bitola used the opportunity to once again thank the Republic of Serbia and President Aleksandar Vučić for the help provided in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the Republic of Serbia was among the first to send a contingent of Covid-19 vaccines to North Macedonia, and also enabled the citizens of North Macedonia to be vaccinated on the territory of Serbia.


News

15. Sep 2022.

Day of Serbian Unity, Freedom and National Flag marked

Representatives of the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Skopje marked, at the Serbian Military Cemetery in Bitola, the Day of Serbian Unity, Freedom and National Flag, by laying a wreath on the common grave with the remains of Serbian heroes who fell for the king and the fatherland in the wars for liberation and unification in the period 1912–1918.
In addition to representatives of the Embassy, ​​the wreath laying was attended by Mayor of Bitola Toni Konjanovski, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Serbia in Bitola Siljan Micevski, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Serbia in Ohrid Mihailo Filev, Member of the Macedonian Parliament Sobranje and President of the Democratic Party of Serbs in Macedonia Ivan Stoilković, as well as numerous representatives of associations and organisations of Serbs in the Republic of North Macedonia.

In her address, Ambassador Nevena Jovanović highlighted 15 September, the date when the anniversary of the breakthrough of the Thessaloniki front is also marked, the day in which both pain and  glory of the Serbian people were simultaneously woven, the day on which a new page of Serbian history began, thanks to the incredible military superhuman endeavor of Serbian soldiers who from 15 September to 1 November, under full combat equipment, crossed in just 45 days the distance from the Nidža Mountain and Kajmakčalan to Belgrade, which was liberated already on 1 November.

She pointed out that, because of its symbolism, this holiday represented a clear message to us and our generations that together we could do great deeds, which remain written in golden letters on the pages of history.

Ambassador Jovanović noted that the Republic of Serbia, led by President Aleksandar Vučić, was fully committed to regional peace and stability, building good relations with its neighbours, at the same time reserving the right to nurture the culture of remembrance and adequately help the Serbian people abroad to preserve their traditions, language and identity.

At the same time, she called on her compatriots to preserve their culture, religion, language and Cyrillic script wherever they are, as well as the memory of the superhuman feats of our glorious ancestors and their struggle for freedom.


News

08. Sep 2022.

Ambassador Jovanović laid flowers on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of North Macedonia

On the occasion of 8 September, the Independence Day of the Republic of North Macedonia, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of North Macedonia Nevena Jovanović and the defence envoy Lieutenant Colonel Vujica Vukobratov laid flowers at the eternal resting places of former presidents Kiro Gligorov and Boris Trajkovski.

The laying of flowers was attended by the President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovačevski, Ministers in the Macedonian Government, as well as representatives of the diplomatic and military corps.


News

17 June 2022

Region’s integration into EU necessary for overall progress

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated today at the Prespa Forum in Ohrid that integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union (EU) is necessary for the overall progress of the region.

Speaking at the panel of prime ministers “65 years after Treaty of Rome: is Europe fully economically reconstructed & integrated?”, Brnabic noted that the answer to the name of the panel should be “no” because the countries of the Western Balkans, which are surrounded by EU Member States, are still not part of the Union.

The Prime Minister called on EU Member States to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible and to accelerate the integration processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Speaking about the linking of the region, Brnabic pointed to the benefits of the Open Balkans Initiative and called again on all countries of the region to join in.

She underlined that the two main priorities of Serbia are entry into the EU and cooperation with countries of the region, adding that our country builds roads in order to promote the transport of goods, but also the flow of people and capital, both by motorway to North Macedonia and Bulgaria, and by building a motorway to Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Once Serbia gets a new government, the number one issue will be the security of energy supply and the construction of a gas interconnector with North Macedonia and gas connections with Greece and Bulgaria, Brnabic said.

The Prespa Forum will be attended by a large number of officials from the region and representatives of European institutions, NGO sector, academic community, international organisations and other.


News

25. Feb 2022.

Selaković: Serbia remains committed to the development of friendly, partnering and good neighbourly relations with North Macedonia

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selaković stated today, after concluding his official visit to the Republic of North Macedonia, that he had exceptional talks with the highest officials of that country, during which a common willingness to continue intensifying mutual cooperation was acknowledged.

"We continue to cooperate very intensively, especially through the Open Balkans initiative launched by President Aleksandar Vučić together with the Prime Ministers of North Macedonia and Albania. We are convinced that by elaborating and implementing the agreement within the scope of the initiative, we are creating conditions for an even more intensive economic cooperation, and we remain committed to the development of our friendly, partnering and good neighbourly relations", Selaković said.

He reminded that a record economic and trade exchange of 1,120,000,000 euros was realised in the previous year, which increased by 30.4 percent compared to the year before.

Minister Selaković pointed out that 95% of what had been agreed a year ago during the first meeting with Minister Bujar Osmani was fulfilled, and that, among other things, the Commission for the Protection of National Minorities held its first session, the agreement was signed on opening the Cultural and Information Centre of Serbia in Skopje and of North Macedonia in Belgrade.

In the official part of the visit, apart from meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Osmani, Minister Selaković also met in Skopje with President of North Macedonia Steve Pendarovski, Prime Minister Dimitar Kovačevski, and President of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia Talat Xhaferi.

On the first day of his visit, Minister Selaković also met with the representatives of the Serbian people in North Macedonia - with representatives of Serbian associations, political entities and the Serbian economy, and he also visited the Primary School "Svetozar Marković" in Staro Nagoričane.

 


News

25. Feb 2022.

Selaković and Osmani: Extremely good and friendly relations between Serbia and North Macedonia

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selaković met today in Skopje with Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani, and on that occasion it was mutually stated that the relations between the two countries were extremely good, in the field of both political and economic cooperation.

At the press conference, after the sixth meeting with Minister Osmani, Selaković expressed special satisfaction with today's signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of Cultural and Information Centres in Skopje and Belgrade.

According to Minister Selaković, it was stated at today's meeting that the economic and trade exchange in 2021 reached the historic maximum of 1,120,000,000 euros, which exceeded the level of exchange from the period before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Selaković specified that Serbia`s export to North Macedonia reached 815 million euros, and that the export from North Macedonia to Serbia increased by 41.7 percent in the previous year, expressing confidence that the exchange between the two countries would continue to grow as a result of further implementation of the Open Balkans initiative.

“The Open Balkans initiative is inclusive for us and we would like to see the entire Western Balkans within its framework. We are convinced that we will see the interest of others to be part of the winning team, when the initiative starts to produce serious results", Selaković said.

He added that special attention was paid to the European integration of our region during the discussion, and underlined that Serbia was providing full support to North Macedonia in that process.

Minister Selaković also expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the Mixed Commission for the Implementation of the

Agreement between Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia on the Protection of National Minorities held its first session, 17 years after signing the Agreement.

"We also talked about our interest in continuing the practice of holding joint sessions of the Governments of Serbia and North Macedonia and about the necessity of organising the first session of the Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation," Selaković said.

The Ministers also talked about the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, and Minister Selaković reiterated the standpoint that Belgrade was committed to dialogue as the only acceptable way to resolve political issues.

Minister Bujar Osmani said that today's meeting was open and constructive, and that it was acknowledged that the relations between the two countries were friendly and partnering, with a tendency to expand the cooperation.

Osmani expressed his satisfaction with the signing of the Agreement on Cultural Centres, which, according to him, opens space for a more intensive cultural exchange.

He was pleased with the achieved level of economic cooperation, noting that there was room for its further expansion.
According to Minister Osmani, the Republic of North Macedonia gives full support to the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština and to resolving all open issues in the region through dialogue.

 


News

 

February 15, 2022

The Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia - Sretenje

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, conveyed a congratulation to the citizens of Serbia on the occasion of the Statehood Day of Serbia, which reads as follows:

"None of what we have today would exist without what happened on Sretenje 1804, in the Marićević Gully near Topola. That moment made ourselves and our state possible owing to the heroism of our ancestors and their awareness that freedom is more important than anything. And much like as Karadjordje’s insugrents gathered to fight for freedom and the resurrection of the Serbian state, we should be united as a nation today, in the fight for the Serbia of the future. We owe that to our ancestors, but above all to our descendants.

Today, Serbia is among  the fastest growing economies in Europe. We have made it a country of fast roads, strong economy and modern technologies. After years of stagnation and lagging behind, we caught up with the world and became the engine of development of the entire region.

The number of friends of Serbia is growing, and those who were not always so willing to hear us out on our state and national interests in the past, are ready to listen to us today, which is a result of remarkable efforts Serbia made to secure that, as a successful democratic state.

The symbolism of Sretenje is not something that should make us feel superior as a nation, but it is certanily a reason for us not to feel less valuable than some others in our immediate or distant enviroment. Serbia and the Serbian people today are equally freedom-loving and have the same desire to organize their society on the basis of the most advanced achievements of civilization. We are obliged to do that by countless sacrifices of our compatriots who built their lives into the foundations of this state – so that our people would be independent in its own country, so that it would grow and prosper.

On this great day, we remember our glorious ancestors, all those who gave their lives for the existence of Serbia, and we vow to live to make it better and more successful every day. Our struggle today needs to be a democratic one, our pistols and sabres will be knowledge and hard work, and our ammunition our unity and patience. Stability and peace are the requirements of our success.

Let us meet on Sretenje for our Serbia, a country of hardworking and successful people, which our glorious ancestors would be proud of, and which our children will love and fight for with all their hearts. Happy Statehood Day."


News

7 February 2022

Belgrade to get Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic attended today in Geneva the signing of the Agreement on the Establishment of the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Serbia, the first of its kind in the Western Balkans.

The agreement was signed at the headquarters of that forum by Director of the Office for Information Technologies and eGovernment Mihailo Jovanovic and Managing Director and Head of the Forum's Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Jeremy Jurgens.

The centre in Serbia will be the 16th in the network of centres of the World Economic Forum in the world and the first in the region of the Western Balkans.

The new centre will start operating on 1 March and will function as a non-profit organisation and a platform for public-private partnership and cooperation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, while the focus of work will be on artificial intelligence and bioengineering.

This centre will work within the Serbian government’s Office for Information Technologies and eGovernment and will cooperate with scientific institutes, state institutions and the private sector.

The signing of this document was also attended by founder and Executive Director of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab and President of the World Economic Forum Borge Brende, with whom Brnabic had previously met.

Addressing the press, Brnabic pointed out that this agreement is the result of many years of joint work between Serbia and the World Economic Forum.

We started talking in 2018, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, then 2020 hampered us a bit, but we continued to plan in 2021 and here we are today, she said.

According to her, the centre will be focused on the development of artificial intelligence, biomedicine and biotechnology, and on the ways in which digitalisation can raise the productivity of companies and the entire economy.

This is what further leads to higher salaries, a better standard of living, as well as to an economy that is mainly based on knowledge, creativity and innovation, Brnabic emphasised.

Today, we have received great recognition for everything that Serbia has done in the field of digitalisation, development of high technologies and paradigm shift – from an economy that was based on labour-intensive investments to digital development.

That is why this agreement shows that Serbia has been recognised as one of the leaders in the economy and IT industry in the last six years, the Prime Minister pointed out and assessed that this is the announcement of the beginning of an even closer cooperation between Serbia and WEF.

She added that they will have a joint meeting with the 16 WEF centres for the fourth industrial revolution in the world every month, at which they will talk about what each of them is doing, since each has a different focus.

That is how we will hear what everyone is doing every month, learn from each other and I am sure that the centre in Belgrade will be one of the best, the Prime Minister said.

According to her, this gives us visibility, the opportunity to further establish Serbia as an investment destination, a country good for living and investing in new technologies and knowledge.

Jovanovic said that the ecosystem formed around the centre will use the infrastructure of the National Platform for the Development of Artificial Intelligence, the Centre for Genome Sequencing and the future bioeconomic centre – BIO4 Campus.

Source/Photo: Tanjug


News

27. Jan 2022.

Selakovic and Pendarovski discuss fostering good-neighbourly relations and cooperation between Serbia and North Macedonia

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic met today in Skopje with President of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski on the occasion of Saint Sava Day, which is marked in that country as the national day of Serbs.

"This year, due to Covid-19, the Republic of North Macedonia is the only country in the region in which the celebration of St. Sava's Day and the Saint Sava Academy are being organized for the Serbian minority. That was the reason for the meeting with President Pendarovski, which took place in a warm, friendly and festive atmosphere", Selakovic stated after the meeting.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy added that they also talked about what the two countries could do to improve the position of persons belonging to national minorities, both in Serbia and in North Macedonia.

“I wish to thank President Pendarovski for his helpfulness, for the willingness to hold a meeting like this, and it is up to us to foster the good-neighbourly relations with North Macedonia”, Selakovic said.

He added that the deepening of economic cooperation and the importance of the "Open Balkan" initiative were also discussed at the meeting.

"Our focus is on mutual respect, fostering friendly and good-neighbourly relations, but also on deepening our cooperation in all fields, with a serious emphasis on economic cooperation", Selakovic said.

In addition to Minister Selakovic, the meeting with the President of North Macedonia was also attended by President of the Republic of Srpska Zeljka Cvijanovic and representatives of the Serbian community in North Macedonia.

This evening in Skopje, Minister Selakovic will also speak at the Saint Sava Academy held at the Macedonian National Theatre on the occasion of the National Day of Serbs in North Macedonia.

 


News

17. Jan 2022.

Selakovic congratulated Osmani on his re-appointment as Foreign Minister of North Macedonia


Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic extended congratulations today to his counterpart Bujar Osmani on his re-appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, expressing belief that by working together they would further promote the traditionally friendly relations between the two countries.

"I will be honoured to continue working with you on further enriching our excellent bilateral cooperation and strengthening the close ties between the two countries, for the benefit of our citizens, as well as the stability and prosperity of our entire region", reads the congratulatory message from the Serbian Foreign Minister.

Minister Selakovic expressed his belief that the political dialogue at the high and top levels would be intensified in the period ahead, thus contributing to the deepening of good-neighbourly cooperation.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy reiterated that he highly appreciated the work done by Minister Osmani so far on the development of positive dynamics of our good-neighbourly relations and his personal commitment to their further strengthening, and that he was looking forward to a meeting in the near future.


News

24 November 2021

“Open Balkans" one of Serbia’s main priorities


Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated today that, in addition to the basic foreign policy priority of European integration, regional security, stability and a prosperous region are equally important for Serbia, brought by the “Open Balkans” initiative.

At the conference "Open Balkans - The Road to Stabilisation, Cooperation and Prosperity of the Region", Brnabic pointed out that our region is relatively small and instability anywhere in it will undoubtedly have a bad effect on any of us.

Serbia has done a lot in the last seven years. It has some of the best economic results in Europe, we have created 60,000 new jobs despite the corona crisis, we have a clear plan for the future and a record level of capital investments, and we see our future clearly and it is bright for the first time in decades, Brnabic stated.

The Prime Minister underlined that, if we fail to transfer part of that prosperity to our neighbours in the region with initiatives like the “Open Balkans”, we risk all our success.

It is not just a nice political idea, but it is the smartest possible policy for Serbia as well as for our partners from the "Open Balkans". I hope that everyone else from the region will see that and that they will join us, said the Prime Minister.

She added that it is very important to achieve the goals of the initiative on the free flow of people, goods and workforce in the region.

Investors are looking for a good environment to invest, which is a great comparative advantage, especially if you see that Albania and North Macedonia have a fairly high unemployment rate, because investors will see the benefits of a large labour market, she said.

Brnabic estimated that in the next two or three years, the realisation of these goals will increase the GDP of each country from the "Open Balkans" by one percent, and in five to seven years, if some other country joins, by up to seven percent.

The Prime Minister also said that this will open completely different perspectives for young people from the region, because they will be able to work in this part of Europe.

www.srbija.gov.rs
 


News

12 November 2021

UNESCO’s role extremely important for preservation of Serbian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija


Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated today that severe examples of endangering the Serbian cultural, historical and spiritual heritage in Kosovo and Metohija are proof of the important role of UNESCO in protecting and preserving heritage.

At the 41st session of the General Conference of UNESCO in Paris, Brnabic emphasized that four jewels of the Serbian medieval cultural heritage in Kosovo – Visoki Decani, Pec Patriarchate, Gracanica and Bogorodica Ljeviska, have been preserved thanks to the fact that they are inscribed on the endangered world heritage list. Hundreds of other sites and monuments are endangered.

The Serbian heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is of immeasurable importance, not only for the national identity of Serbia, but also as a part of the esteemed European and world heritage, she underlined.

Source/Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs
 


News

4 November 2021

Joint statement of the participants in today's meeting of the Open Balkans initiative: "The future of enlargement – a view from the region"


The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama, and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia in charge of European affairs, Nikola Dimitrov, signed a Joint Statement "The future of enlargement – a view from the region" today, within the Open Balkans cooperation initiative. We transmit the text of the Joint Statement in its entirety:

"The European Union and its member states, together with partners from the region, reaffirmed their unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans at the Summit in Brdo on 6 October.

The Western Balkans reiterated the region's commitment to European values and democratic principles, the rule of democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law.

However, the European Union's questionable capacity to integrate new members, internal debates among EU member states and bilateral relations have hampered the region's real progress towards the EU.

On paper, enlargement policy remains active. In practice, however, there is growing disappointment among citizens in the region regarding the EU perspective.

In addition, delays in the EU perspective have cost the region too much politically.

Northern Macedonia is a great example of unfulfilled promises of the European Union. Its government tried to meet Brussels' conditions, only to find itself isolated and left to deal with the consequences of EU decisions. This weakened perspective of European integration threatens to leave us more disintegrated than ever. This feeling is common throughout the region.

As the European Union develops new and far-reaching strategies, the region is desperately trying to implement existing ones. And while our path to the European Union has derailed, we still remain committed to meeting EU standards.

We cannot allow this negative spiral to jeopardize the very basis of the region's future and prosperity.

The European Union is moving forward, while the region is stuck within the dilemmas of the EU itself. The European Union should and must explore all ways towards faster integration of the Western Balkans in the run-up to their accession, together with its commitments for phased accession as defined in the new methodology.

Accordingly, it would be useful to involve the region in the development of the European Union's trade and tax policy, such as the mechanism for adjusting the carbon dioxide emission limits and protective temporary measures to restrict steel imports, to name just a few.

We could also explore the possibility of exempting the Western Balkans from various erga omnes trade policy measures.

Our universities could be involved in the field of higher education and research of the European Union, which would provide an equal chance to participate in tailored programs, research and innovations of the EU. At the same time, our agriculture is crying out for additional funds, and it has huge potential for expanding and delivering high quality products to the market of the European Union.

This could prevent the negative impact on the stabilization and economic performance of the region. We believe that it is in the interest of the European Union to help build and promote a secure and prosperous region.

And more than that – together we could explore Schengen participation and gradual integration into the single market of the European Union.

Today's world is changing rapidly. It is time to act, and act decisively. We cannot afford nor will we be forgiven for missed opportunities, indulgences and lack of determination to realize this strategic vision.

We need to understand each other better if we want to achieve the best results. If anyone thinks we have to act now, that was already yesterday.

To this end, today we reaffirmed our determination to deepen our economic cooperation within the Open Balkans initiative, building on the Berlin Process agenda and focusing on rapid and tailored implementation.

In this endeavour, we have engaged our chambers of commerce and instructed them to prepare detailed guidelines for the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation regarding the facilitation of imports and exports, which was signed in Skopje on 29 July.

Today, we approved a detailed plan to implement trade facilitation measures and asked the Western Balkan Regional Chamber of Commerce to further monitor the implementation process. We have also decided to form an Inter-Ministerial Council, which will work closely with the chambers of commerce to implement these measures.

The Western Balkan is ready to move at an accelerated pace. We need to move forward. That is how the European Union should also move – towards the Western Balkans. Staying idle is not an option.

We invite all other parties in the region to join us and we welcome them. The Open Balkans is open", the integral text of the Joint Statement reads.

Source: www.predsednik.rs
Photo: Dimitrije Goll
 


News

4 November 2021

Cooperation initiative "Open Balkans"


The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, welcomed today in the Palace of Serbia the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama, and the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Nikola Dimitrov, with whom he had several meetings within the cooperation initiative called "Open Balkans". 

The three officials spoke with representatives of companies from Serbia, Albania and Northern Macedonia, after which they also met with representatives of the Atlantic Council.

"I am glad because of such a great interest of businessmen, but also of the media for the "Open Balkans" initiative. This confirms that our decision to cooperate within this initiative was the right one. We found that all the people from our business communities support this project and see the huge benefits they can have. This strengthens our economies, enables a better life for citizens, but also for our businessmen to work incomparably better. The "Open Balkans" is a remarkable initiative, which makes a difference and which is made for the people who live in each of our cities, in each of our villages. We must fight for higher growth rates, for faster development and we must do everything we can to enable our people to make faster progress", said President Vučić in his address after the trilateral meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Rama and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Dimitrov, with whom he discussed joint projects and further development of relations between countries in the region. He conveyed that at the meeting, they also agreed on the formation of the Implementation Council, whose task will be to coordinate the agreement, because it was concluded that many things that were achieved at the political level were not always implemented on the ground.



President Vučić stated that unhindered transit between the countries had been agreed, in order to enable faster growth and a higher rate of development, because all three countries lag behind developed countries, and announced that the next meeting would be held in Tirana at the end of December, at which a Memorandum of Understanding on work permits will be signed, as it is the only way to keep the workers in the region.

"We are frustrated when we do not do and implement what has been agreed at the political level, and that is why all agencies and inspections will now have to gather in order for this idea to win and for everyone to be able to move forward. All businessmen support this initiative and are just looking for faster results, activity, and for us not to stop only at political declarations", said President Vučić.



The Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama, stated that the focus of the initiative is on businessmen, farmers, distributors, workers, students and academic citizens. He pointed out that the essence of the initiative is to make our economies and markets grow together, as they individually remain small, as well as for the whole region to have a larger inflow of foreign direct investment.

"You can see what Serbia has done, which I take as an example because it has really made a big step forward in attracting foreign direct investment", the Albanian prime minister said, adding that all agreements would be turned into "concrete results" at the next meeting in Tirana. He also said that joint steps should be taken in order to bring the region closer to the European Union.


Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Nikola Dimitrov, pointed out that regional cooperation is a wise, true and European choice, and that solidarity is the basis for future integration, which means that we must take care of each other as we take care of ourselves.

"The initiative is aimed at building solidarity by establishing a single market, which represents a transition to a green economy, but also to help each other when we face disasters", Dimitrov said, adding that a great benefit would be to eliminate trade impediments. He also stated that he considers it necessary to cooperate as much as possible in the region, in order to be more convincing before the EU in the position that we will not bring unresolved problems with us.

Source: www.predsednik.rs
Photo: Dimitrije Goll

 


News

2nd November 2021

Address of the President of the Republic of Serbia at the United Nations climate change conference COP26 held in Glasgow


"Your Excellences,
distinguished delegates,
dear Sarah,

At the very beginning, I feel obliged to thank Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Her Majesty’s Government for exceptional hospitality.

I feel privileged to represent the Republic of Serbia at this important place and at the highest-level world forum, in working on the most important topic of today – promoting climate awareness.

We all agree that we must make investment into climate and environment.

We all, likewise agree, that future generations must be educated in order not to repeat the mistakes we made, by hurting the only Planet that makes life possible.

I am very honoured that the Republic of Serbia is co-chairing this year’s Conference as a Non-EU representative of the Eastern Europe Group.

In concrete terms, we see the special contribution of our expert team in finalising negotiations on the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which refers to the establishment of the global market and non-market mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to remaining provisions referring to advanced transparency framework and common timeframes for Nationally Determined Contributions, which are the key provisions of the Agreement that have not yet been covered by the decision that is to be adopted by the Conference, i.e. all member states.

We, therefore, believe that this is an exceptional opportunity for Serbia to give its full contribution to the finalization of negotiations, which, we hope, will secure full implementation of the Paris Agreement.



As a result of strong economic development, modelled for Serbia by 2050, the impact of the implementation of climate measures to employment will be optimal, through new jobs creation and creation of new industries which have not existed so far.

One billion euros was raised at the first green bonds auction in Serbia, which clearly confirms the trust of international investors in our green agenda, but also to the economic and political stability of our country.

Incomes from green bonds issuance will be used for financing renewables, energy efficiency, sustainable water management, prevention of pollution and circular economy development and biodiversity preservation.

And as you can see, dear friends, my people made a terrific speech for me, but I am going to add a few more words and a few more questions for those that are coming from big powers and that haven’t answered yet several questions:

Number one is: how are we going to finance all these activities?

We’ve heard the story of trillions of dollars that are at our disposal. My question would be: what would be the interest rate, what would be the terms for taking these amounts of money, and actually how are we going to tackle that issue?

Number two: how are we going to treat the nuclear power plants? Are we going to shut them all or are we going to build them more?

Then, how are we going to build more renewables if we already started endorsing populist movements against wind parks, new hydropower plants, and are we going to put in jeopardy the level of our public debt to GDP ratio if we raise huge amounts of money?

How are we going to treat natural gas, and how are we going to secure decent prices of natural gas and electricity power as well?



And, I came here using an electric car from Edinburgh to Glasgow. But, how are we going to do mining and refining of lithium, nickel, cobalt and many other very important minerals?

In the end, we all know what is our final aim, what is our final target. But, it’s not a fairytale – we’ll have to work a lot, we’ll have to be 100 per cent dedicated, and we’ll have to be more honest with each other.

The health of people living in Serbia depends directly on the implementation of this Agenda, just like the health and life of each living being on Earth depends on arrangements that will be reached here and on national implementation of the respective arrangements.

Perhaps it is the right time to listen and hear the cry of Mother Earth because if we lose this race against time, our children will inherit an irreparably polluted Planet.

Thank you very much for listening to me."

Source: www.predsednik.rs
Photo: Dimitrije Goll


News

15th October 2021

Selaković in UNSC: Dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached are the only right way to resolve all open issues


Distinguished President of the Security Council,

Esteemed members of the Security Council,

Distinguished Special Representative,
I would like to thank Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Guterres and Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK Mr. Tanin for the report submitted and for their efforts made towards the implementation of the UNMIK mandate. I would also like to thank the members of the Security Council for the continued attention they have devoted to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. The Republic of Serbia highly values the activities of the Mission of the United Nations in Kosovo and Metohija and supports it in carrying out its work as efficiently as possible, pursuant to the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and undiminished in scope, aiming to build and preserve lasting peace, stability and security in the Province.

Mr. Tanin,

Please accept the expressions of our gratitude for your engagement and the cooperation we achieved during your term of office.

Mr. President,

Deep regret and concerns are raised by the fact that the security situation in Kosovo and Metohija in the past period has been marked by an increasing number of various ethnically motivated attacks and incidents targeting Serbs, which was also stated in the Report; that the provisional institutions of self-government (PISG) in Pristina continue to take unilateral steps and refuse to implement the agreements reached in the Brussels dialogue; and that institutional discrimination against Serbs, attacks on the sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church and the undermining of the economic sustainability of Serb communities in the Province have continued.

We are witnessing that dangerous provocations by Pristina are taking place every day, at an accelerated pace, thus seriously threatening the safety of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and directly violating the agreements and arrangements reached within the Brussels dialogue.

The latest violent incursion of the so-called ROSU units into the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, on 13 October, is the ninth incursion of its kind. Tear gas, shock bombs and unbridled violence are becoming a matter of everyday life for Serbs in the north of Kosovo and Metohija, and that must be stopped immediately.

In the last attack with firearms and chemicals used by Pristina special forces, 71-year-old Verica Djelic died as a result of chemicals used in the intervention, 10 unarmed civilians were wounded, one of them 36 years old Srećko Sofronijević was critically wounded in the back with of an automatic rifle. A three-month-old baby, who miraculously remained unharmed, was also the target of the shooting.

The false excuse for the latest unilateral action, as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell called it, was the fight against organized crime and smuggling. Ladies and gentlemen, Serbia is strongly against organized crime and smuggling, but the members of the UNSC should know that such an important and general global goal, which we all share, was cynically used for an armed attack on unarmed civilians, which began with an automatic rifle raid of pharmacies in which patients of Serbian and other nationalities are supplied with vitally important medicines. Four days before the local elections in Kosovo and Metohija, in order to gain votes in an irresponsible and inhumane way, fully motivated by separatist goals, the current PISG regime used medicines on which people’s lives depend to prove its position on the status contrary to UNSCR 1244.

Only a few days earlier, another provocation on the part of Pristina led to a dangerous crisis, when personnel of the so-called ROSU unit, armed with long firearms and reinforced with armoured vehicles, were deployed to administrative crossings between central Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija - Brnjak and Jarinje – in order to remove Serbian license plates and replace them with temporary ones, thus violently preventing the free movement of citizens.

These events do not fall within the reporting period covered by the latest Report of the UN Secretary General on the work of UNMIK, but it is incumbent upon us to address them on this occasion, in order to have everyone understand how dramatic the situation on the ground has been and how serious the consequences of Pristina's unilateral actions can be.

The incursions of heavily armed Pristina police formations, composed exclusively of Albanians, into the north of Kosovo and Metohija, under various pretexts and motives, with the use of excessive force, are provocations that have an extremely dangerous potential to destabilize the already sensitive security situation on the ground. The goal of the latest incursions of Pristina’s special force personnel into the north of the province was to provoke the Serbs and additionally intimidate them with a demonstration of force, as well as to provoke Belgrade to react hastily in some way.

It is obvious that with such moves Pristina aims to erase the 10 years of dialogue, which is the only way to resolve open issues. These provocations once again demonstrate that the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina, not only do not intend to implement everything agreed in the Brussels dialogue, but that their goal is to completely deny dialogue as a means of resolving problems. An effective response to Pristina's lack of credibility and their dangerous play with fire, which could have unforeseeable consequences, cannot be provided by calling on "both sides" for constructiveness and restraint, which has long been a manner in public communication of some important factors in the international community. There is only one source of destabilization, it has a name – and that is the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina - and after the events of 13 October, it is clear that it can and needs to be stopped by urgent and decisive action of the international community. It is now quite obvious that these are no longer sporadic and isolated provocations by Pristina, but that this is an organized campaign of ethnically motivated violence and discrimination against Serbs.

We also express our concern over the latest imposition of tariffs by Pristina on certain products originating from central Serbia, which was made public on 8 October. We remind you that the unilateral decision of Pristina to impose duties on products from central Serbia in November 2018 resulted in a de facto complete trade blockade and a long-term stalemate in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. In contrast to Pristina, which persistently seeks to raise barriers towards central Serbia through unilateral acts, Belgrade is persistently and consistently working to liberalize the flow of people, goods, services and capital, which is the basic goal of our "Open Balkan" initiative. North Macedonia and Albania joined this initiative, but Pristina did not.

Distinguished members of the Security Council,

In the period from March to September this year, which is covered in the latest Report, close to 100 ethnically motivated attacks were carried out against Serbs, their private property, religious and cultural heritage sites. The increase in the frequency of attacks was accompanied by the strengthening of the intensity of ethnically motivated violence, which more and more often targets children, the elderly, women, the few returnees present there, as well as churches and other property of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

This systematically intensifies the ubiquitous sense of insecurity of the remaining Serbs, but also deters potential returnees, who are in fact being told that local Albanian communities can attack them with impunity and prevent them from returning to live in their own homes.

The most striking example of the position of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is the case of the displaced person Dragica Gašić, who moved into her apartment in the municipality of Djakovica again in early June. In that town – to which local Albanians proudly refer as a place forbidden to Serbs - Ms. Gašić, on her return, first faced physical and verbal attacks by citizens of Albanian nationality living there. Instead of being provided protection, that seriously ill woman then became a victim of institutional persecution as well, that the local self-government bodies and the police unleashed against her. Since this is a person who is the first and only Serb returnee to Đakovica after more than twenty years, it was to be expected that, at that moment, at least civil society organizations would attempt to protect her rights. However, NGOs from Djakovica soon joined the activities aimed at the expulsion Ms. Gašić, including those receiving funding from international donors for projects related to strengthening democracy and the rule of law.

I must also mention the latest attack on the house of the only remaining Serbian woman in the center of Pec, retired teacher Rumena Ljubić, whose windows were stoned twice in just 24 hours on 13 October.

Dragica's and Rumena’s fate is a frightening reflection of the real situation of human rights that almost every one of over 200,000 displaced Serbs and non-Albanians would face in Kosovo and Metohija - provided that they gather the courage to return to their homes in the Province after more than twenty years. I would like to remind you again that since 1999, only around 1.9% of internally displaced Serbs and other non-Albanians have achieved a sustainable return to Kosovo and Metohija.

Therefore, I believe that the aforementioned will encourage the members of the Security Council and the international presence on the ground to devote priority attention in the future

to the issue of the return of displaced persons, which is an important part of the UNMIK mandate under UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

I therefore thank the Secretary-General in particular for keeping this extremely important issue in focus and for calling again, in the conclusions of his Report, for the creation of conditions for the sustainable return of internally displaced persons and the sustainable reintegration of returnees.

Distinguished members of the Security Council,

Serbian medieval monuments in Kosovo and Metohija, including monuments that, due to their exceptional value but also constantly being subject to threats are inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger, are still among the most endangered cultural heritage in Europe.

I wish to recall that there are over 1,300 Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija. Attacks on Serbian cultural and religious heritage are at the same time attacks on the identity of Serbs in the Province and directly affect their sense of safety.

A striking example of disrespect for Serbian cultural and religious monuments in the Province is the case of the Visoki Decani monastery. The monastery, which has been the target of attacks and shelling several times since 2000, is still secured by KFOR forces due to being under a threat. It is faced with a series of hostile actions, and the perpetrators are not deterred by the fact that this is a World Heritage Site. Despite frequent declaratory statements, even the decision of the so-called "constitutional court" of the PISG in Pristina five years ago confirming ownership of Visoki Decani Monastery over 24 hectares, is not respected. We welcome the assessment made by the UN Secretary General in his Report.

Dear Mr. President,

The Republic of Serbia remains committed to finding a compromise political solution, as prescribed under Resolution 1244, which will ensure lasting peace and stability. We firmly believe that dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached are the only right way to resolve all open issues.

As a state committed to the respect for international law and a member of the United Nations, Serbia opposes any attempt at establishing an artificial balance between the parties in the dialogue, as well as the relativization of responsibility for unilateral acts.

We note with concern that not even eight years after reaching the Brussels Agreement, the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities has not been initiated, although Belgrade has fulfilled all its obligations under that agreement.

There are also numerous and repeated examples of Pristina violating or obstructing agreements reached in dialogue, in the areas of energy, justice, freedom of movement and visits by officials.

One such example is the verdict sentencing Ivan Todosijevic to two years in prison, which is also pointed out in the Secretary General's Report. The Brussels Agreement was directly breached, which was also stated by the representatives of the European Union. With its conduct Pristina caused immeasurable damage to the reconciliation process in Kosovo and Metohija.

Despite the interpretation from the European Commission that this is a violation of the Brussels Agreement, because Todosijevic had to be sentenced by a panel consisting of the majority of judges of Serbian ethnicity, Pristina still does not take any action in this regard.

Pristina also continued with the practice of banning Serbian officials from entering the territory of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

We believe that it is important that the international community, and especially the European Union, as the guarantor of the agreement, firmly insists that the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina start implementing all the agreements reached.

Distinguished members of the Security Council,

As before, the Republic of Serbia remains fully committed to resolving the issue of missing persons, as also demonstrated through full cooperation with relevant international mechanisms as well as participation in the work of the Working Group on Missing Persons. We expect that the representatives of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina will fulfill their obligations.

Bearing in mind everything I delivered here today in my address, we hold the position that the international presence in Kosovo and Metohija, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, is still necessary. In addition to UNMIK, the presence of KFOR as the main guarantor of security and EULEX, due to its engagement in the field of the rule of law, is also important. I would like to emphasize once again that Serbia fully supports respect for international law, comprehensive implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and activities of UNMIK in an undiminished scope and with adequate financial resources, so that the Mission fulfills the mandate entrusted to it under the Resolution.

Thank you.
 


News

6 October 2021

President Vučić visits the Republic of Slovenia


The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, participated in the Summit of the Leaders of the European Union and the Western Balkans, at which a Declaration was adopted in which EU leaders give unequivocal support to the European perspective of the Western Balkans and reaffirm their commitment to the enlargement process based on "credible partner reforms", emphasizing the importance of "strengthening the integration and the capacity of absorbing new members" by the EU itself.

After the EU-Western Balkans Summit, President Vučić stated that there is a perspective of EU enlargement, but that not all member states have the "same appetite" for enlargement.

"On behalf of the Republic of Serbia, I am satisfied with the fact that the presidents and prime ministers of the EU countries talked to us for four hours about the future of the Western Balkans. On behalf of Serbia, I thanked for the help and support, investments and money that EU taxpayers invest in our country. We talked about the fact that there is a prospect of enlargement and it is clear that there are strategic interests of the EU in that European area", said President Vučić and added that there was a positive atmosphere at the Summit and that the host, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Janez Janša, has always fought for a clearer European perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans.



"It seems to me that we have presented ourselves in a good way with a responsible and serious policy, and I believe that in the coming period, we can improve our position in the EU", said President Vučić, adding that he had many bilateral talks: with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said Athens would continue to support Serbia's territorial integrity, with the French president, the Hungarian prime minister, the Spanish prime minister, the Slovak prime minister, the Romanian president, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and with many other European leaders.

President Vučić stated that he also talked with the prime minister of the Republic of Croatia about the relations between our two countries, as well as with the prime ministers of the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Edi Rama and Zoran Zaev.

President Vučić paid a two-day visit to the Republic of Slovenia, where he attended the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the European People's Party on the first day and assessed that, after the loss of the German Christian Democratic Union in the elections, the strength of the European People's Party was concentrated in Central and Eastern Europe.

Source: www.predsednik.rs
Photo: Dimitrije Goll


News

26 September 2021

Telephone conversation of President Vučić and General Secretary of NATO


The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, has discussed today by phone with the General Secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg about, as the General Secretary said, worrisome situation in northern Kosovo and Metohija.

President Vučić said that Serbia had not violated either Brussels Agreement or Resolution 1244 by anything, by any single move or in any manner jeopardized peace preservation.

“The complete occupation by armored vehicles of northern Kosovo and Metohija has lasted for seven days and it is conducted by Priština and everyone in the international community “are thunderously silent”, said Serbian President. “However, everyone is worried all of a sudden when they spot Serbian helicopters and airplanes at the territory of central Serbia, because apparently they should not exist, or should not take off until they receive the approval from Kurti or someone from the international community”, says President Vučić.

Serbia observes all international agreements it signed, Serbia will always conduct responsibly and seriously, but Serbia is still asking when the formation of SMC will start and when Kurti’s armored units will be withdrawn from northern Kosovo and Metohija.

Finally, with the gratitude to General Secretary Stoltenberg for the fair relation and wish to listen to the Serbian side, President Vučić asked about the norm and international regulation violated by Serbia? Today, yesterday or any time?

The two interlocutors agreed to stay in constant touch due to necessity of the preservation of peace and stability in the entire region.

 
Source/Photo: www.predsednik.rs


News

25 September 2021

Selaković in New York with 28 foreign ministers on economic successes of Serbia and K&M situation


The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, has stated that in New York he introduced foreign ministers of 28 countries to economic success of Serbia but also to the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, which he also discussed with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, who told him that we could count on the support of the Russian Federation, with regards to Serbian interests in K&M.

Summarizing results of his visit to New York within the session of the UN General Assembly, Minister Selaković says that one of the last meetings was with Minister Lavrov, which was their third meeting in the previous nine months.

The Serbian Foreign Minister says that he surely used this opportunity, too, to introduce Minister Lavrov to the latest events in northern Kosovo and Metohija, the situation of the dialog between Belgrade and Priština and very clear and unambiguous attitude of President Aleksandar Vučić regarding the continuation of the dialog and subsequent events in K&M.

“We discussed the principled support of the Russian Federation, which is constantly present not just in Moscow, Belgrade, in the field, but also here in the East River, by the delegation of the Russian Federation as the permanent member of the UN Security Council. Of course, we will continue to maintain this type of dialog. What Minister Lavrov said was that we could count on the support of the Russian Federation in future with regards to our interests in K&M”, highlighted Minister Selaković.

He said that he had had the opportunity in New York to hold 33 meetings, of which 28 with ministers of foreign affairs, whom he had introduced also to topicalities related to the latest events in Kosovo and Metohija, but also to our principled position regarding the observance of the international public law, territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Minister Selaković said that his colleagues at the meetings had praised the substantial and fantastic success of Serbia in the consolidation of the economic sphere and transformation of what had been on the edge of collapse and economic disaster seven years before to the fastest growing economy in Europe, which Serbia was in the past two years.

He said that most of his interlocutors had supported our reforms and expressed great respect toward what President Aleksandar Vučić and Serbia had done in the previous period.

Many of them, says the Serbian Foreign Minister, showed great interest in the manner in which Serbia organized the figth against Covid 19.

“It was a great pleasure and pride to represent the Republic of Serbia in all these meetings. Many of my colleagues confirmed their arrival to Belgrade to the Conference on 11th and 12th October, which is dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Non-Allied Movement”, said Minister Selaković.

He emphasized that it was not just the evidence of how much they had cared to come to Belgrade to the conference, but also to see and witness the Serbia which after several decades of attempts to fight different challenges rose to its feed, was economically consolidated and turned towards its traditional friends.

“That is a great deal and our country will surely during October be one of the spots on Earth of greatest importance for multilateralism, for cooperation among the countries which share the same values, the values entered into the UN Charter and which are based on the promotion and fight for peace, equality, observance of the international public law and rights of every country to pursue its path to happiness and better and more ordered society in compliance with the wishes of its population”, said Minister Selaković.

He said that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Jeyhun Bayramov, would come to Belgrade to the conference on the occasion of the Non-Allied Movement adding that we had strategic cooperation with Azerbaijan and frequent contacts.

“We agreed to realize as soon as possible after the Belgrade conference his bilateral visit to Serbia”, added Minister Selaković.

He said that it had been agreed to intensify the cooperation and finalize the agreements which should be signed and after that realized when the meeting of Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev took place.

Minister Selaković says that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had recently received its sector for economic diplomacy and there were great expectations from it and one of the tasks was to deepen the cooperation with Azerbaijan.


News

25 September 2021

Pristina seriously jeopardised regional stability


Prime Minister Ana Brnabic warned today that Pristina has seriously jeopardised local and regional stability after sending heavily armed special units to the north of Kosovo who are exerting ` against the peaceful Serbian population.

Brnabic spoke at the general debate of world leaders, as part of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

We bring the Prime Minister's speech in its entirety:

Mr. President,

Mr. Secretary General,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have the great honor to address you today on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia.

Esteemed Excellencies Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Mr. Volkan Bozkir and Mr. António Guterres, I would like thank you for the active engagement, dedication, and leadership you have shown during these difficult times for the United Nations and all of humanity.

Serbia shares your conviction and we remain fully committed to supporting your efforts.

This year, we come together at a decisive moment in our history.

Covid-19 has shaken our foundations to the core.

At the same time, we are increasingly witnessing and experiencing effects of climate change.

And, finally, we are seeing significant shifts in global partnerships and alliances, trade wars between traditional partners and allies, protectionism instead of openness and free market, and overall uncertainty at an unprecedented scale.

Some of the pressing and extremely emotional issues that we have locally, in the Balkans, are still unresolved and while we are trying – and Serbia is especially dedicated to this – to change the future by working together and creating alliances, through initiatives such as the Berlin process or Open Balkan, others are trying to disrupt these processes, and instead of focusing on the future, they want to recreate the past – whatever the cost of that may be.

But, let me start with COVID:

COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical weaknesses in the architecture of global governance. It has threatened to erase the progress many nations have achieved in recent years.

It has placed nations at a junction between isolation and collaboration, between panic and hope, between chaos and order.

The pandemic questioned some of the basic tenets of the open and cooperative international order.

Global exchanges, international communication, cross-border trade have all seen a vast decrease.

Curfews, restrictions on freedom and lockdowns of entire societies have created uncertainty in many segments of the individual lives of our citizens or – for that matter – our own individual perception of what freedom in today’s world even means.

For Serbia, this pandemic threatened to undermine everything we have been doing for the past 7 years, to crush all of the results and accomplishments of difficult reforms we initiated in 2014, and to propel us back to the times of high unemployment, rising public debt, uncontrollable deficit, and overall desperation.

Much as in any other country, COVID-19 has tested our nations’ resiliency and, this time, unlike during the global financial crisis – which was of much more limited scope and incomparable in consequences to COVID-19 pandemic – Serbia stood strong.

The reforms we undertook in the pre-COVID times made us more resilient than ever.

The fiscal consolidation, the budget surplus we had, efficient and predictable investment environment, became a lifeline that saved us from a recession during the pandemic and one that ensured we could support our citizens and our economy during these, most difficult of times.

Despite the effects of the crisis, Serbia has managed to preserve financial and economic stability. In 2020, we recorded a decline in GDP of only 0.9% – one of the best results in Europe. Our public debt remained below 60% of our GDP, average salary continued to grow by almost 10%, while despite the pandemic the number of people employed increased by over 3%.

The recovery in this year has been stronger than expected – our GDP will grow approximately 7%, and perhaps even stronger.

Prior to the pandemic, we have opened our borders to investment, technology, and ideas, and we managed to create peaceful and stable environment that allowed us to pursue rapid domestic transformation, with innovation and knowledge-based economy as the foundation.

The innovative advances we had made allowed us to diversify our capabilities when the virus hit – through e-Government, online education and digital textbooks, or central software system for a successful vaccination rollout.

We invested heavily in health infrastructure and strengthened the health system in order to respond to the current crisis, eternally grateful to the health care workers for their dedicated struggle.

Our decision to put geopolitics aside, and people at the center of our policies, is the reason we were able to acquire vaccines quicker than most other nations.

We did not discriminate between manufacturers, did not care whether vaccines are from the East or from the West, but chose to negotiate with all vaccine manufacturers deemed safe by regulators. This openness gave us the ability to purchase vaccines from around the world, giving our citizens the unique freedom to choose which vaccine they prefer.

Excellencies,

Serbia believes in solidarity between nations, multilateralism and helping others when in need.

Since the beginning of this year, we have made it our mission to support our neighbors, and all those in need, with COVID-19 vaccines and we have also allowed foreign nationals to come to Serbia to receive the vaccine which will protect their lives.

In total, Serbia has donated or allocated over a million doses of vaccines – of which 230.000 doses to the region; 300.000 doses for foreign nationals which came to Serbia to get vaccinated; and additional 570.000 doses to countries of Africa and Asia.

We will keep doing so, to the greatest extent possible, and until COVID-19 is behind all of us.

That is why we have also taken steps to acquire the technology to produce at least two types of COVID-19 vaccines to help improve global access so we can all be safe and victorious.

However, as stated by dignitaries of some of the largest nations during this General Assembly, there are other pressing issues that all of us need to keep addressing without any delay and in a bold manner – and that is climate change.

Serbia has redoubled its efforts to make our country safer and cleaner for its citizens, and by doing so, contribute to the fight against climate change and for environmental protection.

We are strongly committed to the implementation of the sustainable development goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. We are committed to global efforts and will continue to work actively to meet our obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

We are about to submit our revised Nationally Determined Contributions to contribute to this critical global effort. We have already announced our intention to reduce greenhouse gasses for at least 33.3% compared to 1990, and 13.2% compared to 2010, which we are currently incorporating into our energy and climate strategic documents.

We work strategically on planning and investments in this sector. These investments are extremely expensive, requiring years and decades of commitment and a systemic approach - but we are clearly set on the path of this transformation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Of all the challenges we face, the most worrisome for Serbia is the maintenance of peace and stability in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija.

For more than two decades, we have been constantly drawing international attention to the problems that non-Albanian population is facing in Kosovo and Metohija. Physical safety, respect for and protection of human rights, especially of minority communities, are far from satisfactory.

We are now witnessing a constant increase in the number of attacks targeting Serbs, their property and religious heritage in Kosovo and Metohija.

To illustrate, there were 55 such incidents in 2014, 62 in 2016, 71 in 2020, and 100 since the beginning of this year. The total number of attacks in 2020 has already been surpassed by June of this year.

According to the UN, Kosovo and Metohija is still the territory with the least number of returnees (internally displaced Serbs) of all post-conflict areas in the entire world!

I will give you just a few examples to depict how life of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija looks like.

On the 11th of May the house of Radoje Pumpalović, 81-years old returnee to Kosovo in the village of Dubrava, in Istok municipality, was attacked. This was the 5th attack on him in the same year. Again… he is 81 years old.

Since June 2021, multiple attacks were carried out against Dragica Gašić, 59-years old woman, the first Serb returnee in Đakovica after 22 years since the end of the conflict. Attacks include stoning of her apartment, banning her from shopping for food in the local store and petitions by civil society organization demanding her eviction from the city.

On 2nd of July, in the village of Gobulji near Vučitrn, a group of Albanians attacked 13-year old Nikola Perić. The attack occurred when he was returning home from the school playground with three friends.

Attacks on Serbian medieval churches, monasteries and monuments in Kosovo and Metohija, make them some of the most endangered cultural heritage sites in Europe.

Monastery Visoki Dečani was recently listed, by Europa Nostra, as one of the 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe in 2021. The Advisory Panel of Europa Nostra noted that Dečani is the only monument in Europe under robust military protection for a continuous period of 20 years, although it constitutes a monument of ultimate historical and cultural importance for Europe and the world.

This spiral of violence occurring in Kosovo and Metohija culminated at the beginning of this week. On the pretext of enforcing new license plate rules, Priština dispatched heavily armed special units to the north of the province. This is yet another brutal violation of the Brussels Agreement, and this irrational show of force has ignited a major crisis. It disrupted the supply of food and medication to Serb communities in the north of the province. Local Serbs who peacefully gathered to protest this measure were met with tear gas and police brutality, thus seriously threatening local and regional stability.

Despite of all the challenges and daily provocations, Serbia remains strongly committed to finding a compromise-based solution that will ensure lasting peace and stability.

Dialogue and the implementation of the agreements reached – are the only proper way to resolve all open issues.

However, almost 9 years after reaching the Brussels Agreement, as the 1st agreement on normalization between Belgrade and Priština, the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities – the backbone of this agreement – has not yet even begun.

I would like to appeal, once again, to the international community, and especially the European Union, as the guarantor of the Brussels Agreement, to firmly insist that the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Priština start implementing all of the agreements reached.

The Republic of Serbia, by defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity, at the same time defends international law, the UN Charter, legally binding UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and the supreme authority of the Security Council when it comes to the preservation of international peace and security.

We attach special importance to the activity of the UN mission in Kosovo and Metohija and expect it to continue to implement its mandate in the Province in accordance with this resolution.

Dear friends,

Our generation shares the common destiny of the modern world, which is becoming increasingly complex in terms of geopolitics, technology, health, climate. In the face of these challenges, Serbia will continue nurturing international partnerships, on a predictable and transparent basis.

We will continue pursuing the rule of law reforms on our EU path, which is our strategic foreign policy goal. We see this as inseparable from achieving sustainable peace, stability and prosperity.

We will host, together with the Republic of Azerbaijan as the current chair of the Non-Aligned Movement, a commemorative high-level event marking the 60th anniversary of the First Non-Aligned Movement Conference, which was held in Belgrade in 1961. We are very much looking forward to hosting our friends from all parts of the world in Belgrade in October this year.

We will further enhance cooperation across the Balkans, through the Open Balkan initiative and Berlin process, by opening borders, harmonizing differences, and further integrating our region.

In conclusion,

Over the past 7 years, Serbia has been transformed: we sparked an economic revival, created opportunities for young people, cultivated a tech boom, and improved Serbia’s position abroad. The progress we have made has allowed Serbia to better face and survive the pandemic.

The world now faces a turning point. The recovery from COVID-19 and sustainable reconstruction will not proceed if issues, new and old, are not handled by joint forces and collaborative international actions.

This pandemic taught us one important lesson: unless all of us are safe, no one is safe – so we can either win together, all of us – regardless of how rich or poor, large or small, from Europe, Asia, Africa, America or Australia, or fail together.

But, if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the issue of climate change, should have taught us to stand together.

Thank you.


Source: www.srbija.gov.rs
 


News

22 September 2021

Prime Minister Brnabic at Global COVID-19 summit organised by White House


Prime Minister Ana Brnabic participated today at the Global COVID-19 summit, organised by the White House, which was opened by US President Joseph Biden.

The video messages are attended by a large number of world leaders and officials of international organizations, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, British and Canadian Prime Ministers, Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and many others.

In the message, the Prime Minister pointed out that Serbia was among the first European countries to procure a covid vaccine, and that she was the first European Prime Minister to receive the vaccine.

Thanks to years of investment in digitalisation and development of eGovernment, we have managed to organise a complicated and complex vaccination process very efficiently and in a way that it is focused on citizens, she explained.

However, as she added, from the very beginning we were aware that this is not just a matter of our citizens and only our struggle. In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all safe or no one is safe.

That is why, in addition to procuring vaccines for our citizens, we donated vaccines to the citizens of the Western Balkans, but also to other countries, she reminded and specified that Serbia donated 230,000 doses of vaccines to the region, we vaccinated foreign citizens in Serbia with approximately 300,000 doses and set aside we have 570,000 doses of vaccines for countries in Africa and Asia.

Brnabic mentioned that Serbia has already started the production of covid vaccine from one manufacturer, and that it will start production from another by the end of the year, because in that way we want to help and support all people and countries that need vaccines.

This is a pandemic in which we will either win together or lose together, but we must fight together, the Prime Minister repeated.

That is why Serbia supports the goals of this global summit, she emphasised, and expressed her gratitude to the United States of America and President Biden for organising the summit and supporting joint efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vaccines are the only way out in the fight against the pandemic, concluded Brnabic.
 


News

09. Sep 2021.

Selaković sent a telegram of condolences on the occasion of the fire in Tetovo

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, sent a telegram of condolences to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Northern Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, on the occasion of the tragic fire in Tetovo.

In the telegram, the Minister pointed out that the tragedy in the Covid hospital shook him deeply, especially having in mind that we are all facing difficult challenges that the pandemic had brought.

"It is difficult to find appropriate words that would provide comfort to the families of the victims, as well as to all citizens of the Republic of Northern Macedonia. Please convey the expressions of our sincere sympathy to the families of the victims", it is stated in the telegram of the head of Serbian diplomacy.


News

08. Sep 2021.

Selaković congratulated Northern Macedonia on Independence Day

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, sent a congratulatory message on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, in which he wished well-being to the entire state and all its citizens.

Selaković pointed out that in the previous period, great progress was noted in the field of strengthening regional cooperation, emphasizing the importance of the "Open Balkans" initiative, which represents a moment in the relations between Serbia,

Northern Macedonia and Albania aimed at changing the entire region.

"Our three countries remain firmly on their European path, motivated to create a better future for their citizens with their own efforts and joint work", said the minister, ending his congratulations with a message that everything can be changed for the better with joint forces.


News

5 August 2021

Marking the Remembrance Day of all Serbs who died and were expelled in the armed operation "Storm"


The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, attended the celebration of the Remembrance Day of all the victims and expelled Serbs in the armed operation "Storm" and said that Serbia remembers!

"Today, when we remind ourselves again of what happened in August 1995, the terrible pogrom, the expulsion of more than 250,000 Serbs, the exodus and ethnic cleansing, we, at the same time, and finally, remind ourselves of who we are, what we are, where we come from and where we are going. Thank you all for being here together tonight and for showing how much we love our people", said President Vučić, adding that we will not forget any of the things that the Krajina people had to go through.

"For us, these are not just terrible numbers of victims", said President Vučić and emphasized that Serbia will not forget.

"History has never been rewritten like today. That is why I want to remind us all not only of what others have done to us, not wanting us to exist, but also of what we have done to ourselves, just as if we ourselves did not want to exist", said the President, noting that we must never again allow Serbia to forget its silent heroes.

President Vučić emphasized that we must never again cover our eyes, ears, and mouths in front of something that truly was a pogrom and the downfall of all humanity.



"Pretending that this is not true, avoiding saying it, is a crime not only against the victims, but also against ourselves, every living Serb, people from Krajina, as well as Serbia and its future", said President Vučić and underlined that people can stand up straight and live with themselves and the others without hesitation, fear and doubt, only if they remember.

President Vučić pointed out that Serbia must fight for peace and cradles with children, as well as that not remembering annuls and erases us from the history and the future, depriving us of the right to tomorrow.



"Our mission is a happy future for us and for the new generations! Today's Serbia is based on a clear identity and a culture of remembrance", said President Vučić and reminded that everything that had been neglected for decades had been done, and that a strong Serbia has become the master of its own destiny.

"Eternal glory to you, Serbian martyrs who perished in the "Storm" and all other pogroms. Your children are in their Serbia, taken care of, loved and successful. Sleep peacefully, Serbian falcons, the future of your children is our vow", concluded President Vučić and thanked everyone who showed that night how much they love their country and that Serbia remembers.

Source: www.predsednik.rs
Photo: www.predsednik.rs


News

28 July 2021

President Vučić visits Skopje


The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, is on a two-day visit to Skopje, where he met with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama, within the cooperation initiative known as "Mini Schengen".

President Vučić emphasized that this initiative was a great idea, which started in 2019, and that it shows that, in accordance with European values and ideas, we are able to take care of our future on our own and to take our destiny into our own hands.

President Vučić said from Skopje that this is a very important visit and announced that three agreements will be signed tomorrow, which include faster flow of goods between Serbia, Northern Macedonia and Albania, assistance, support and joint action in cases of natural disasters, as well as creation of a single labor market, with the abolition of work permits.



"We have an idea to make personalized electronic cards through which we would offer numerous benefits to people from these countries so that, when they come to Serbia, they can have discounts – for train tickets, restaurants and cafes. This is of great interest for Serbia", said President Vučić and added that 4,144 companies in our country do business with Northern Macedonia, and 1,004 companies work with Albania. He pointed out that there are joint plans on the green agenda, industrialization, as well as attracting new investors with a single labor market.

"This is a big step into the future! An important aspect, which contributes to the further consolidation of peace, better and closer political cooperation and cooperation between our peoples, and that brings stability and many things important for the future of the region. Work will be done on mutual acceptance of academic qualifications, but also professional ones. This will bring us even closer, strengthen our economies, so that we can provide a better standard of living for our people", said President Vučić and announced that a joint portal will be created in three languages, in which cultural and historical values will be presented, as well as information on each country.



"It is important that we strive to establish the Balkans without borders, because that is how we can achieve the best results", concluded President Vučić.

On the second day of his visit to Skopje, President Vučić participated in the Economic Forum for Regional Cooperation, where he signed three documents with the prime ministers of the Republic of Northern Macedonia and the Republic of Albania: Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation to facilitate import, export and movement of goods in the Western Balkans, Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation regarding free access to the labor market in the Western Balkans and the Agreement on Cooperation in disaster protection in the Western Balkans.

After the Economic Forum, within the Mini Schengen initiative, i.e. Open Balkans, President Vučić expressed satisfaction with the agreements reached today and said that Serbia would be a reliable partner for both Northern Macedonia and Albania on the path of further rapprochement and regional stability for all citizens. He pointed out that the goal of the initiative is to make life easier for citizens and improve the standard of living, and stressed that, if its implementation is successful, from 1 January 2023, there will be no borders for the citizens of the three countries.



"We do not have an easy road ahead of us. These are fantastic ideas, an extraordinary vision. We have to work hard, we have to convince our people to be hard-working, diligent, to deliver all the results on time. When we talked, we thought about how good it would be if those who were never very close, and Serbia and Albania have never been particularly close in history, decided to turn their heads from the past to the future", said President Vučić and stressed that in the last two years, sincere mutual trust has developed and that that is why it is important to show the citizens of the three countries that we are able to make decisions on our own, to take care of ourselves, to improve our lives, to be on the road to the EU, but also to work with everyone and not wait for someone to introduce us somewhere, but to change our destiny on our own. He said that countless possibilities are opening up for everyone.

"We can be the growth engine of this part of Europe, but we have to help businessmen. We work in such a way that we can leave the past behind and look to the future, to our lives, to the progress of the standard of living. People can only benefit from this, there can be no harm", stated President Vučić and added that concrete initiatives will be launched to provide benefits to citizens.

"It is our job, and I am asking businessmen to help us, to put pressure on the chambers, but also on us to work faster. Let us try to open the borders completely. This is a historical task, we will see if we are up to it, and I believe that we are", concluded President Vučić.

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, said that a new era of cooperation in the region begins today, which will be an additional impetus to economic cooperation, but also to the relaxation of political relations in the region. He added that the three nations have the same path, vision and European values in front of them.

"We are moving forward on the same path, connected together. Instead of walls, today we built new bridges. For this new regional connection, we have received strong support from the business communities of our three countries, as well as the business communities of other countries in the Western Balkans and beyond. This will be a recognized initiative that will be widely accepted in both Brussels and Washington. This can make a serious contribution to the political relaxation in the region", the Macedonian Prime Minister Zaev pointed out and said that this initiative is open to all countries of the Western Balkans. He stated that more than 350 companies from the region are participating in the Forum, but also about a hundred other representatives of chambers of commerce and companies from outside the region.

"It is clear that only with an integrated and connected region can we move faster towards EU membership. Everything we do is the result of European values, because we strive to improve the four freedoms – movement of people, goods, capital and services", said the Macedonian Prime Minister.



The Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama, pointed out that there will be no progress in the region if the countries do not jointly develop the economy and create prospects for more jobs, especially for young people. He said that we should not turn our backs on each other, as we have done for 500 years, while, on the other hand, EU countries have their own rhythm of movement and conditioning.

"And when the region is integrated into the EU, we will still work the same as now. Now we are establishing this without the EU, and when we become part of the European family, there will be no discussion about whether four freedoms are enabled in our region or not", said the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
 

Source: www.predsednik.rs 
Photo: Dimitrije Goll


News

22 July 2021

President Vučić: We have decided – our goal is the EU, but China is an important partner


We have decided – our goal was and remains the EU, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said in an interview with the German daily "Handelsblatt", adding that there is no alternative for Serbia, but also stressing that China is an important partner for Serbia, and that the task of the state is to take care about the interests of its citizens.

He thus answered the question of what Serbia will choose once it has to choose between close relations with Beijing or the EU. Vučić emphasized that Serbia wants to become a full member of the EU.

"We are connected by history, common culture, EU members are already undoubtedly our most important partners", he explained and added that the trade exchange between Germany and China is 3,000 times higher than between Serbia and China, and, as he noted, even despite that, Serbia's business operations with China are portrayed as a problem.

To the statement that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not congratulate the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, and that he did so, he replied that Serbia is not Germany, but a small country. On additional insistence on what Serbia will do if it has to choose between the EU and China, he underlined that Serbia has already decided, that its goal was and remains the EU membership.

"Our biggest investors are from the EU. The EU accounts for 67% of our trade while 17 percent of the trade is with countries of the region that are all on the way to the EU. We cannot survive without the EU", he added.

"But can we do a lot of good things with China – of course. And we do that, just like Germany does", Vučić pointed out, and to the remark that the quality of the Silk Road projects was being criticized, primarily because of Chinese workers, he answered that the quality of roads or bridges, which Serbia is building with China, is excellent.

"We give jobs to those who submit the best offer to us. That is why I tell Europeans who criticize Chinese projects in our country – offer us a project for one euro more and you will get it", he emphasized.

In that regard, he pointed out that Serbia is building a railway to Northern Macedonia with 600 million euros of EU aid, stating that that offer was better than China's.

"There is often talk of a 180-kilometer railway to Budapest through the territory of Serbia, which is financed by China. But the railway that is being built with the help of the EU from Belgrade to the northern Macedonian border is twice as long and no one is talking about it. It is all too political", he stated.

Asked whether he welcomes the plans of the EU and the USA regarding an alternative initiative to the Silk Road, Vučić said that he supports everything that brings advantages to our region.

"The Chinese want to expand their presence everywhere, but many processes in the West are, frankly, more efficient and without problems. We still have a lot to learn from the West, but we are getting there", Vučić said.

He pointed out that China was an important partner for Serbia and added that when the consolidation of state finances began in 2014, our country received good conditions from China for development projects.

He also stated that a competition for a copper mine was announced in eastern Serbia, at the request of the EU, that no European company had made an offer for six months, and that it had then been taken over by the Chinese.

"Our job is to take care of our people", he said.

He reminded that the Serbian economy grew by 52% in eight and a half years, which for the EU means that Serbia could be a strong member and engine for the entire region.

Explaining how Serbia is developing so well economically, he pointed out that Serbia has an excellent workforce, which speaks English, that society and administration are digitalized, and that it has the most flexible labor law in Europe, as well as consolidated public finances.

He reminded that previously the public debt was at 78% of GDP, and that today it has been reduced, thanks to the strong growth of the economy, to 52%.

"We can afford to give investors an incentive to come", he added, emphasizing that Serbia offers investment assistance, but that, for example, subsidies were not the motive for the arrival of the development center of the company Continental.

He pointed out that, five or six years ago, only Serbia started using the dual education system in this region, which Germany, Switzerland and Austria also use, that tens of thousands of people are in dual education, and that this is appreciated by foreign investors, who, in addition, can work closely with universities as well.

Germany, he stated, is the most important trade partner and the largest investor.

We started with the arrival of small textile companies from Turkey, and now primarily large German companies are coming. Today, 71,000 people work in German companies in Serbia", he explained.

Vučić said that the European perspective is very important for investors, stating that Nidek, Toyo Tires or Mitsubishi are coming from Japan to Serbia because our country is on a stable European path.

Asked if he believes that Serbia will become an EU member in the foreseeable future, he said that he does not complain.

"It is certain that if we had received 45 billion euros of EU aid, we would have been much further economically. Instead, we received 1.6 billion euros from the EU. We are used to achieving our successes on our own", said Vučić.

The President of Serbia reminded that in Croatia, salaries used to be 2.2 times higher than in Serbia, and today they are only 1.7 times higher.

"We are closing the gap with our own efforts. If we were to become a member of the EU, then we would certainly not ask for the biggest subsidies", he assures.

He said that the Serbian path follows the German path to Europe, and that Serbia wants a fair chance.

"I believe Merkel's words. She is at the end of her term and I would not have to praise her anymore. But she gave us stability, freedom of travel to the EU, helped us with the migrant crisis in 2015, and asked the Minister of Economy Altmeier and others to work closely with us", he reminded.

Asked if there were any indications that the new German government would support Serbia in the same way, Vučić expressed confidence that it would be the same.

"I know Armin Laschet, I talked to him while he was the Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia. He is very smart and understands the situation in the Balkans, and he will certainly continue Merkel's policy towards our region as the new chancellor", he added.

Vučić also expressed his belief that Russia, if Serbia's accession to the EU were concretized, would not react similarly as in the case of Ukraine, as this is a sovereign decision of Serbia.

To an additional question in this regard, Vučić pointed out that whenever he met with Vladimir Putin, and there were 18 or 19 meetings, he told him that he was grateful for the traditionally close friendship with Russia, but also that Serbia is on a clear course towards the EU.

"He asked if it was our choice and I answered that EU membership is indeed our goal", he added.

When it comes to "Kosovo", Vučić emphasized that a compromise is needed regarding this issue.

"Only in this way can there be sustainable peace. Serbia wants peace, me as well. Let's stop with the madness of the past. Only then can the whole region become the engine of new growth for Europe", said Vučić.


Source: Tanjug
 


News

20 July 2021

Serbia has achieved great success in the field of digitalization


The Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, stated at a gathering dedicated to digitalization and the IT sector, which was held in New York, that since she became Prime Minister, she is most proud of Serbia's success in the field of digitalization.

Brnabić, who is on a two-day visit to the United States, said that when she was elected Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government in August 2016, she wanted to do everything to change the public administration and what bothered her as a citizen.

She stated that, when she took office as Prime Minister, she knew what her priorities were and that first of all, digitalization needed to be raised to a higher level, that the education reform was supposed to begin, as well as work on strengthening the economy.

I believed in a country that believes in its people, because the Serbian people are creative. From 1 June 2017, we started working as an e-Government, i.e. we started exchanging data electronically, said the Prime Minister.

According to her, our citizens no longer had to go to, say, the Tax Administration, and since then, the public administration has exchanged 50 million documents, which means that citizens did not have to go from office to office for 50 million papers.

Brnabić pointed out that she is proud of what has been done in the field of education since she became the head of the Government, specifying that in September 2017, programming was introduced as a compulsory subject in primary schools.

Nobody believed that we could do that, but we cooperated with the private sector and some social organizations and we succeeded. At the moment, we are far ahead of numerous countries in Europe and the world, said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister pointed out that she was most proud when the cornerstone was laid for the science and technology park in southern Serbia, noting that so far, our country has four science and technology parks.

She pointed out that Serbia has since become one of the most successful countries in the world in the field of technology, and that according to some parameters, it is among the ten countries in the world, or among the five, assessing that this is proof that the country can change quickly.

Answering the question about vaccination, the Prime Minister emphasized that our country has never seen it as a geopolitical issue, but as a health issue.

According to her, Serbia talked with producers from both the East and the West and was among the first European countries to sign agreements with the company Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm.

Unfortunately, many countries have viewed this issue as geopolitical. It did not matter to us, as long as the vaccines were safe, the Prime Minister emphasized and added that this was not the end of Serbia's success, because good organization was also needed.

Brnabić explained that the organization is another important thing in vaccination, because it is a logistically very difficult process, adding that, with the help of digitalization, success has been achieved and that everything we did in the previous years has paid off.

She stated that Serbia quickly established a system through which citizens could express interest in vaccination against the coronavirus and choose which vaccine they wanted to receive, as well as to be informed by a message when to go and get vaccinated.

Now I can log in on my phone, to see how many people have received the vaccine, how many more have registered, so that the effects of digitalization are obvious. We have made everything very efficient and easy for our citizens, the Prime Minister explained.

Answering the question of what she can tell other countries of the world about how to progress faster, Brnabić said that it is important to invest as much as possible in digitalization and education.

You need to teach children how to think, not what to think. Not all children will become IT experts, but what they can learn is an algorithmic way of thinking and how to make decisions, she said.

The Prime Minister mentioned investing in high-speed internet and providing infrastructure for start-ups as an important thing for progress, because more and more economies will be based on start-ups and innovations, emphasizing that people should be helped to start companies and implement their ideas.

Speaking about social networks, she pointed out that fake news has become the biggest problem on these networks and that it will remain so for some time.

This is the biggest challenge I face as Prime Minister, especially during the corona virus pandemic, she said, adding that social networks are also a great opportunity for politicians to communicate with citizens.

Source: www.srbija.gov.rs
Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


Mini Schengen conference

29th June 2021

President Vučić participates in the Mini Schengen conference


President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić participated today via a video link in the conference "Mini Schengen" with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev. The officials discussed further steps in regional cooperation, as a process vital to the progress of the Western Balkans and the European path as a whole.

The interlocutors agreed that the countries of the Western Balkans need membership in the European Union, but also that the European Union needs the Western Balkans just as much since the region is surrounded by EU borders and the countries aspiring to membership share common European values.

The President of Serbia and the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia have expressed the wish that the four European freedoms - the movement of people, goods, services and capital, begin to be implemented as soon as possible throughout the region, and that in this context they will provide full support to the regional common market at the Berlin Process Summit to be held on the 5th July.

"We are aware that only by working together and accepting regional cooperation within various regional initiatives such as the common market, regional Schengen, green corridors or the Berlin Process, can we bring our economies closer, increase the well-being of our people and bring in large investments that would otherwise not be possible for any of us individually", is one of the joint conclusions of this video conference.

The interlocutors agreed to meet in Skopje on July 29th to review the progress in the implementation of existing initiatives and projects and to sign additional agreements between the three countries related to the implementation of the Berlin Process commitments, as well as cooperation and assistance in the event of natural disasters and relief measures for trade, export and import.

"We call on and encourage our colleagues from the region to sign and implement similar agreements, so that the vision of a common political and economic space across the Western Balkans would soon, through the single market, become an important part of our citizens' daily lives," said the Serbian President and Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia.

The interlocutors pointed out that despite the delays in the enlargement process, they will continue to try to identify new ways, policy areas and financial instruments for all three countries to increase their contribution to Europe, strengthen ties with the European Union and gradually integrate the region into the single European market.

Speaking on the Green Agenda, the interlocutors issued a joint call to the European Union and the United States to join countries across the region to support the development of projects that could be invested as soon as possible to improve environmental protection and increase the widespread use of renewables as part of the EU Economic and Investment Plan implementation and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.

"Our countries have a huge potential for sustainable growth and development of this sector. We will ask for practical support to find out which projects can improve our region in terms of renewable energy sources for our citizens and for the green energy future of the EU ", said the interlocutors during the "Mini Schengen" video conference and concluded that only regional connecting, with the EU support, can contribute to the overall stability and progress of the entire region and Europe.

Source: www.predsednik.rs
Photo: www.predsednik.rs
 


Berlin process

5 July 2021

Serbia strongly supports Berlin Process


Prime Minister Ana Brnabic participated today in the online Summit of Leaders of the Berlin Process, which discussed the concrete results achieved during its seven-year term, plans for the next period and initiatives aimed at providing support Western Balkans on its way to the European Union.

The focus of the summit was on building a common regional market related to four fundamental freedoms: free movement of people, goods, services and capital, for which the Action Plan was adopted in November last year, and from which the region would have special benefits.

The summit said that the transport and energy infrastructure has been expanded in recent years and connected to the roads of the European Union, and praised the implementation of the agreement on the abolition of roaming fees in the Western Balkans, which began this month.

An important project of the process is the Regional Office for Youth Cooperation (RYCO) in order to connect and build understanding and tolerance in the region.

The activities of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the Secretariat of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) were also praised for their efforts to implement the Common Regional Market Action Plan.

Assessing that the Berlin Process is firmly based on the fundamental belief that the economy of the Western Balkans is part of Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pointed out that it greatly contributes to stability and connecting the Western Balkans region, which is also in the interest of the European Union.

In her address today, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic thanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her strong support and active approach to regional cooperation.

Thanks to the support of Germany and Chancellor Merkel, but also to the internal initiatives of the representatives of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia, the Prime Minister explained, the implementation of the Action Plan will enable further expansion of economic and trade cooperation in the region, which will make it more attractive for foreign investors.

Brnabic pointed out that Serbia strongly supports the Berlin Process, not only for the purpose of economic development of the region, but also as an idea of connecting and unifying the Western Balkans and its approach to the European Union.

She concluded that support in the region was particularly visible through solidarity with neighbours during the pandemic and assistance with vaccines and medical equipment.

The summit, opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was attended not only by representatives of the region, but also by Slovene Prime Minister Janez Jansa, European Commission President Ursula von der Layen, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, French President Emanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Jakub Moravjecki and Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Majlinda Bregu.


Source: www.srbija.gov.rs
Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs
 


Prespa forum

2 July 2021

Continuation of European integration along cooperation with countries of region


Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said today that the Western Balkans region should continue with European integration, but that it should also focus on regional cooperation that can improve the quality of life of citizens.

Speaking at the Prespa Forum in Ohrid, Brnabic stated that today's abolition of roaming tariffs among mobile operators is one of the concrete things that citizens benefit from, pointing out that difficult political issues should be kept in mind, such as the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, but that there are so many other things that can be done for citizens.

We owe that to future generations, the Prime Minister said, adding that the continuation of quarrels in the region does not bring good to anyone.

At the panel, at which topic was the synergy of the European Union and the United States, she reiterated that Serbia is a country that is committed to European, but not Atlantic integration, adding that in that matter, it differs from other countries, except Bosnia and Herzegovina.

We want to enter the European Union, but not NATO. We are a military-neutral state that has great bilateral relations with the United States of America in all fields, Brnabic underlined.

The Prime Minister commented on the statement of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama that he is no longer frustrated and depressed because of the dynamics of European integration by saying that no one is frustrated any more and that this brings some new things in terms of regional cooperation.

All countries must continue to do what is needed in terms of continuing the European path, but also to cooperate regionally, because they have an influence on that, she said.

Whatever you do, it all comes down to the fact that each EU Member State individually decides whether progress has been made, and that is becoming an increasingly complex and complicated process day by day, the Prime Minister stated.

According to her, it is no longer a question of European values, progress in key areas and bilateral issues, but of "linguistics and history".

In addition to Brnabic, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions in Pristina Albin Kurti and others also took part in the panel.

Source: www.srbija.gov.rs 
Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


News

17 June 2021

Selakovic: Cooperation and good-neighbourly relations are in the general interest of the entire region 

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic took part today in Antalya in the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South-East European Cooperation Process participants.

Selakovic underlined that the key foreign policy and strategic goal of our country was to achieve full membership of the European Union.

“I hope that the European Union will continue to support the process of integration of SEECP participants into the EU, which will, I am confident, bring lasting stability and prosperity to the region and help the consolidation and development of Europe as a whole”, Selakovic said.

The Minister pointed out that peace and stability had no alternative, representing the guiding star on the path of our region towards the European Union. Furthermore, he emphasized in particular that Belgrade was determined to resolve all open issues through dialogue and in good faith - as a responsible and predictable partner, and in line with the principles of international law.

“We need to make sure that what is agreed upon is also respected and fulfilled on the ground later on, because our agreements primarily concern the well-being of our peoples, but they also reflect who we are and what kind of future we want”, the Serbian Foreign Minister said.

Selakovic stated that Serbia devoted full attention to the promotion of regional cooperation and good-neighbourly relations, stressing that the strengthening of economic ties within the region also contributed to the relaxation of existing political relations.

“Through participation in various formats we have committed to undertake the necessary reforms and promote regional cooperation in numerous areas, and among them, as particularly important and being in the general interest of the entire region, I would like to underline the joint infrastructure projects in the transport and energy sectors”, Selakovic said.

As concrete positive results of regional cooperation, the Minister underlined the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), the Western Balkans Fund, the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, the Southeast Europe Transport Community, the Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum, and the signing of the "Agreement on the Price Reduction of the Roaming Services in the Western Balkan region".

Selakovic commended in particular the establishment of “Green Lanes” in our region during the coronavirus pandemic, while pointing out that it was now necessary to enable their extension to border crossings with neighbouring EU member states.

The Minister also stated that Serbia welcomed the Common Regional Market Action Plan and added that this document was largely based on concrete proposals stemming from the initiative launched by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in cooperation with the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia.

In addition, Selakovic emphasized that Serbia had demonstrated its commitment to enhancing regional cooperation with its neighbours in the region - by sending vaccine shipments and enabling vaccination in Serbia,

“So far, Serbia has sent 120,000 vaccines to the region and vaccinated around 65,000 citizens from countries of the region on its territory, which means that we have provided a total of around 200,000 vaccines for our neighbours”, the Minister said.

In his statement, the Head of Serbian diplomacy also touched upon the importance of the Regional Cooperation Council which, as a pivotal regional initiative, provided concrete results and contributed to achieving economic progress and deepening cooperation, and said that he expected that the implementation of the South East Europe 2030 Strategy, once it is adopted, would benefit our region. 

Selakovic congratulated Turkey on its successful chairmanship and wished Greece every success as the upcoming chair.


News

18 June 2021

Austria-Western Balkans Summit in Vienna without concrete agreements

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated today that the representatives of the Western Balkan countries in Vienna agreed that everyone feels equally frustrated when it comes to European integration and the EU's attitude towards the countries of the region, adding that they failed to agree on other issues, such as the declaration and regional agreements.

Brnabic told reporters in Vienna, where she participated in the Austria-Western Balkans Summit, organised by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, that of all the problems that exist when it comes to European integration, the two biggest ones are the fact that there are EU member states that are absolutely against enlargements and the issue of setting new precedents.

According to her, it is a political game that will be counterproductive because people will get tired.
I think it would be more honest for those member states to say that there is no enlargement for them, but I do not believe that will happen, the Prime Minister emphasised.

The second problem, as she pointed out, is setting a precedent, and the latest is that members resolve bilateral issues using European integration.

When asked if there are joint declarations, Brnabic answered that they do not exist, unfortunately, and that the declaration of Chancellor Kurz and EU representative Miroslav Lajcak was accepted.

Until the last moment, we tried to find a compromise, Serbia agreed to many things, but somehow in the end, Kurti removed that declaration from the table, Brnabic explained.

She mentioned that this is a new reality and that it will not be easy, and added that she believes that now more and more partners in the EU understand how difficult it all is.

The Prime Minister explained that two completely different signals arrived from Pristina in just two days, and in that sense she stated that yesterday Vjosa Osmani allowed the adoption of much more serious documents, the Strategy for Southeast Europe, where "Kosovo" is mentioned, not only with an asterisk. but also with a footnote and referred to the Brussels Agreement, while today we have a different message.

Speaking in general about what was discussed during the Summit in Vienna, Brnabic said that it was challenging to talk about regional stability and hear something new, considering that they are meeting for the third time in a few days.
She expressed gratitude to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for organizing the Summit, as well as for always openly showing commitment to the stability of the region, but also sincerely pushing the EU enlargement agenda.

www.srbija.gov.rs
 


News

17 June 2021

Meetings in Antalya successful for Serbia

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated today, after the plenary meeting of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) held in Antalya, that the Joint Declaration, the Strategic Document for South-East Europe and the annual report of the Council for Regional Cooperation were unanimously adopted at this meeting.

Speaking to the press, Brnabic said that the plenary meeting was marked by two things – the fact that even Pristina voted for all documents, although Kosovo is marked in them with an asterisk, and also that President of the interim institutions in Pristina Vjosa Osmani referred to the Brussels Agreement at one moment.

Brnabic underlined that in the Strategic Document for South-East Europe, in every place where “Kosovo” is mentioned, it is marked with an asterisk and a footnote.

It is also interesting that at one moment Osmani invoked the Brussels Agreement and said that according to it, asterisk is not put every time, but only the first time “Kosovo” is mentioned.

We see now that the Kosovo side invokes the Brussels Agreement when it suites them, and when it doesn’t suit them, then the agreement doesn’t exist. That is why I hope they will finally return to the Brussels Agreement, first and foremost in order to form the Community of Serb Municipalities, the Prime Minister underlined.

That has been constructive from them today and totally contrary to everything it could be heard in the Pristina parliament – that they would not allow the adoption of such documents.

Brnabic said that the meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was very good and that Erdogan once more sent an invitation to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to visit Turkey.

www.srbija.gov.rs


News

8 June 2021

Selakovic: Serbia attaches great importance to the Berlin Process and regional cooperation

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic participated today in an online meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Berlin Process participants.

Selakovic pointed out that Serbia attached great importance to this initiative which proved to be a good forum for strengthening regional cooperation and development, promoting a policy of reconciliation and overcoming inherited problems from the past.

“Serbia will always advocate a policy of peace and connectivity, because that is the only way to create the stability that is a precondition for economic growth and progress. Unfortunately, some have not yet grasped the real meaning and essence of the Berlin Process, and they should first start to respect their internationally assumed obligations such as the Agreement on Regional Representation", Selakovic said, reacting to the fact that the Pristina representative displayed a flag of the self-proclaimed "Kosovo".

He added that the Berlin Process provided support to the EU integration of the Western Balkans through concrete projects and measures, and underlined in particular that it was the backbone of regional cooperation focused on economic connectivity, which was in line with the foreign policy orientation of the Serbian Government.

“With a responsible and well-designed economic policy, Serbia has achieved the highest growth in the region, and according to the GDP growth rate in the first quarter of 2021 of +1.7%, our country ranks first in Europe”, the Minister underlined.

As the most current example of cooperation in this initiative the Minister pointed out the establishment of the Common Regional Market in the Western Balkans.

“Serbia welcomes the Common Regional Market Action Plan. This document is largely based on concrete proposals stemming from an initiative launched by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in cooperation with the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia”, Selakovic said and added that its application would expand the possibilities for improving economic cooperation in the region.

Furthermore, he reflected on the decision to establish “Green Lanes” which enabled medical equipment and food to be transported unhindered through the region in the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, without delays at border and administrative crossings.

“Serbia has also demonstrated its commitment to improving regional cooperation by showing solidarity with its neighbours in the region, through the delivery of vaccine shipments and by enabling vaccination in Serbia, including for the secretariats of regional initiatives in which Serbia participates”, the Serbian Foreign Minister emphasized.

Selakovic also pointed to other concrete results of regional cooperation within this initiative, such as the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, the Southeast Europe Transport Community, with the seat in Belgrade, the Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum and the Agreement on the Price Reduction of the Roaming Services in the Western Balkan region.

Selakovic took the opportunity to reiterate that full membership of the EU was the key foreign policy and strategic goal of Serbia. He also pointed out that the enlargement policy was one of the most successful EU policies, that this course should be maintained, and concluded that Serbia and the entire region belonged in the EU.

The meeting was held as part of the German presidency of this initiative in the form of a video conference.

In his statement, Selakovic thanked Germany and Minister Maas for the strong support they extended to the entire Western Balkans, stating that it was this commitment that contributed to connectivity and deepening the cooperation in the region.

“The vision and support of Germany and Chancellor Merkel personally, expressed almost seven years ago, when the Berlin Process was launched, significantly contributed to the creation of the necessary conditions for closer connectivity in our region”, Selakovic said and added that the support and active approach of German partners were of inestimable importance. Furthermore, the Serbian Foreign Minister said that it was very important that other members of the European Union had also recognized the importance of the Berlin Process.


News

09. June 2021.

Address by the President of the Republic of Serbia at the session of the United Nations Security Council


Dear Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, members of the delegations

I would point to a few ongoing issues in my speech that refer to the competences of the Mechanism, namely, the possibility of serving the sentences passed by the ICTY and Mechanism in the Republic of Serbia, with the current practice of disabling early release of the sentenced persons as well as obligation of the Mechanism regarding protection of sentenced persons.

The second part of the speech will be dedicated to issues that are opened by the six –month Report on the work of the Mechanism by Mechanism President Mr. Agius and Report by the Chief Prosecutor Mr. Serge Brammertz, especially regarding current cooperation of the Republic of Serbia and the Mechanism.

The third part of my speech, and I noticed that in many of your statements even today, is going to be the view of Serbia on everything that took place in The Hague Tribunal and what the Tribunal verdicts brought to people in the region of former Yugoslavia.

The Republic of Serbia has initiated before the Security Council, on several occasions, the issue of possibility of serving sentences passed by the ICTY and Mechanism in the Republic of Serbia. Beside the efforts to move this issue from “square one”, not a single response was obtained from the Security Council. The majority of persons that are serving their prison sentences are citizens of the Republic of Serbia, and it comes naturally that the Republic of Serbia is interested in enabling them to serve their prison sentences in the Republic of Serbia.

ICTY and the Mechanism are making references to the Security Council as an institution in charge of dealing with this issue.

I am ready to reiterate here the readiness of the Republic of Serbia to take over obligations and liability for executing prison sentences that the Tribunal or Mechanism passed on the citizens of the Republic of Serbia, under the monitoring of the Mechanism and full respect for the authority of the Mechanism regarding early release.

Mr. President

A particular problem that we are facing with is disturbance by the judicial institutions established in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, which is within Serbia and which is under Interim Administration of the UN. We are witnesses of attempts of retrial for two citizens that are serving their prison sentences for which they had already been trialed before the ICTY. More concretely, in previous period there was an attempt for hearing of Nebojša Pavković and for obtaining extradition of Vlastimir Đorđević.

I urge on the Mechanism and Security Council to prevent attempts of violation of the principle ne bis in idem, a civilization principle that was confirmed in Article 7 (1) of the Statute of the Mechanism and to disable retrials for persons already convicted by the ICTY, particularly to make sure that it is not done in the territory which is under interim UN administration.

Mr. President,

President of the Mechanism (Mr. Carmel Agius), apart from the regular Report, delivered also on 11 May 2021 a letter to the President of the Security Council, whose subject is the alleged omission of the Republic of Serbia to apprehend and turn over to the Mechanism Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta, indicted of contempt of court, claiming that in this way the Republic of Serbia was acting contrary to its obligations towards the UNSC Resolution 1966 (2010) and asking the Security Council to take measures in order to ensure that Serbia meets the alleged obligations in accordance with the Mechanism Statue and Resolution 1966.

The point of the argumentation of the President of the Mechanism comes to that that the Republic of Serbia has the obligation to deprive of liberty and extradite to the Mechanism its citizens accused of contempt of court, regardless of the nature of accusation, circumstances under which such an order was made and consequences that might result from its implementation.

It is about accusations that do not refer to sever violations of international humanitarian law and that are related to a case before the ICTY, which ended in 2018 (Vojislav Šešelj case), by acquitting the defendant in the first instance, and upon the Prosecutor’s complaint the defendant was declared guilty and sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment, which was covered by the time he spent at the UN Detention Unit.

Judge Agius states that Serbia ignores its obligations in accordance with the Resolution 1966 (2010). Quite the opposite- the Republic of Serbia takes seriously its obligations regarding cooperation with the Mechanism. After the warrant for apprehension and extradition of the two persons accused of contempt of court to the Mechanism had been introduced, the Higher Court in Belgrade established that assumptions for their apprehension and extradition to the Mechanism had not been met. The decision is founded on the rules of international law and domestic law of the Republic of Serbia and it is mandatory for holders of the executive power in the Republic of Serbia.

I would remind here that the first decision of a sole judge (Aydin Sefa Akay, 12 June 2018), that was acting in this case was that the criminal prosecution of V. Radeta and P. Jojić for alleged contempt of court was to be forwarded to the judicial authorities of the Republic of Serbia. In procedures that followed, the argument of the alleged unwillingness of the witnesses to cooperate with the judicial authorities of the Republic of Serbia was stated for the first time, and the decision on deprivation of transferring the case to the jurisdiction of the judicial authorities of the Republic of Serbia was based on the respective argument.

The Republic of Serbia expressed its readiness to take over the court procedure against Petar Jojić and Vjerica Radeta on several occasions and it provided appropriate guarantees. Additionally, the Republic of Serbia fully recognizes and accepts the obligation of the Mechanism to monitor trials that were transferred to national courts with the help of international and regional organizations, as well as to take measures envisaged by Article 6 of the Statute of the Mechanism.

I would remind here that the Republic of Serbia extradited to the tribunal all the persons indicted by the Prosecutor’s Office, and among the respective mostly highest political, military and police officials; it enabled presence of vast number of witnesses, delivered extensive documentation. Obligation of the Mechanism, in accordance with the Resolution of this Security Council, is to take measures that enable transfer of cases to national justice system. In previous practice, 13 cases were transferred to Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2 to Croatia and only one to Serbia.

The last but not the least, I want to remind all of you here of the fact that France- of course as a sovereign and independent country- upon request for apprehension and extradition of Florence Altman for publishing documents and contempt of court, refused the request for extradition, with an explanation that it does not extradite its citizens. For far smaller offence you ask as to extradite our citizens Jojic and Radeta, showing both the distrust to Serbian justice and judiciary and Serbian State, as well as a fact that the rule from ancient Rome is still valid – quod licet lovi non licet bovi.

It does not harm to underline that high-level officers and politicians were not trialed for crimes against Serbs, and that crimes against Serbs remained unsanctioned before ICTY and Mechanism. Let me remind you, just as an example that Ademi and Norac case for ferocious crimes against Serb civilians in Medački Džep was left to Croatian justice institutions. Proven crimes against Serbs, like those of Ramuš Haradinaj, Naser Orić, then Ante Gotovina and other indicted for military operation “Storm” that led to a complete ethnic cleansing of Serb population in the big part of today’s Croatia, resulted before the ICTY in acquittals. Many horrible crimes against Serb civilians that were committed in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, and that resulted in ethnic cleansing, simply were not the subject of interest of the ICTY.

What’s very important and not to leave anything unclear, Serbia is a country that condemns all crimes and all criminals who perpetrated them in the region of former Yugoslavia. However, it is interesting that despite often criticism Serbia is the only one that speaks openly and condemns crimes perpetrated by Serb nationals, while in other regional countries they do not speak at all about crimes that representatives of those nations committed against members of Serbian people.

And I want to emphasize once again here in front of you that Serbia condemns terrible crime in Srebrenica and extends its deepest condolences to the families of all killed in that massacre. And there are no “buts” about the respective.

Nevertheless, we are here to analyze results and penal policy of ICTY and the Mechanism and it was such that it has never gained trust among Serbian people, no matter where they live. And not because we Serbs do not acknowledge crime committed by some of our compatriots, but because The Hague Tribunal, with exceptions, was judging only to Serbs and in all three territories of former Yugoslavia- Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo and Metohija, which some of the SC Member States see and name of course, contrary to law and legal norms and UN Resolutions, as an independent state. I would try to plastically prove to you how The Hague justice was tailored even though I know that it will not come to understanding of many of you, but to me it is important because of the history, facts, and school books that will be made in accordance with the facts.

Namely, Serbs were sentenced to totally 1138 years of imprisonment, and to 8 life imprisonments. At the same time, The Hague Tribunal did not sentence a single Croat for crimes against Serbs, neither in actions Medački Džep, nor Flash and Storm. How politically cunning it was done in the Tribunal, and all wrapped in the form of law and justice. Prosecutors of The Hague Tribunal chose on purpose three military and political leaders of Croats, Bosniac Muslims and Albanians, on all three mentioned territories, committed against Serbs. – Ante Gotovina, Naser Orić and Ramuš Haradinaj. It is interesting that following the same pattern, the same pattern, this injustice was shared. Namely, all of them were sentenced in the first instance procedure, with the exception of Ramuš Haradinaj, because not a single witness survived. Gotovina was sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment in first-instance procedure, while by a mysterious decision of the second instance council and 3:2 judge ratio, the verdict was changed to acquittal. Naser Orić, for crimes against Serbs, was also sentenced in first instance verdict, but by a mysterious decision of the second instance court, and again 3:2 ratio decision was an acquittal and he was set free of any liability. Let me reiterate, all witnesses in process against Ramus Haradinaj, either committed suicide or were killed under very, very strange circumstances.

Let me conclude, I do not want to believe that someone wants to say that there had been no crimes against Serbs, but judging by the verdicts of The Hague Tribunal, no one- absolutely no one- is responsible for those crimes.

Nevertheless, we in Serbia will show responsibility and we will fight for peace, stability and reconciliation in the region.

We ask UN Security Council Member States to help us with rational and pragmatic approach and respect for international law and not by attempts of further humiliation of Serbia. Serbia is a small country, with proud and courageous people, the one that gave the biggest sacrifice during the WWI and WWII; people who wants to leave in peace with their neighbors. And when I am asking you for this, I do not think I am asking for too much.

At the very end, Serbia is the fastest growing country of the Western Balkans region and we cannot progress unless our relations with neighbors, friends and other countries are good, solid and better. That is why- despite the selective justice that was applied in The Hague Tribunal- we will be open for any dialogue, any kind of cooperation and we will look towards the future and not towards the past. And I have only one message for the citizens of Serbia and citizens of Serbian nationality in the entire region- keep your heads up, neither Serbia nor Serbian people are convicted of anything and it is up to us to work even more diligently, to open factories and to fight for our children and our future.

Long Live Serbia!


News

20 May 2021

Minister Selaković presented the new e-Consulate service

A new service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "e-Consulate" was presented in Belgrade today, intended for foreign citizens who apply for a visa and aspire to come to Serbia to work.

On that occasion, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic said that this service was one of the indicators of good development of our country, which, as he pointed out, was becoming a magnet for serious foreign companies, which brought a large number of workers from other countries to work in Serbia.

"Not to be pretentious, but completely realistic, this service represents a turning point in the functioning of our system. E-Consulate and digitalization of the procedure for issuing work visas for foreign citizens who want to work in Serbia, is the first electronic service offered by the Foreign Ministry, and I can promise you that this is indeed our first, but by no means the last e-service", Selakovic emphasized.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy pointed out that "e-Consulate" reflected the modernization of an extremely important segment of the activities of diplomatic and consular missions of Serbia, and that we were actually talking about something that was essential for the further development processes of our country.

The Minister recalled that, when the President of the Republic visited the construction site of the Moravian Corridor, he was told that some construction works were delayed because Bechtel company was not issued work visas on time.

“The moment we saw that and heard the President, I alerted the services in the Ministry. We were surprised, as we knew that the issuance of visas in Turkey had a good dynamic, and then we determined that it was actually workers from Bangladesh who applied for a visa through our Embassy in India, where we have a problem with staff shortage”, the Minister explained.

As he added, this is a demanding and laborious task, each of our employees had to receive the documentation on paper, check it, then request additional information, and only then forward it.

"Today, this has been fantastically perfected for our consular officers, all that documentation is submitted in electronic form. We used to have two filters to check the documentation, now we actually have three. And the work is significantly more efficient", Selakovic pointed out.

As he emphasized, this is a service which was promised less than four months ago and it becomes available on Monday, in 95 diplomatic and consular missions of Serbia, i.e. in all our embassies and consulates general.

The biggest result of that endeavor, the Minister pointed out, apart from the advantage it would bring in the future work, was the fact that it was not a project of one state body, but a joint endeavor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IT and eGovernment Office, General Secretariat of the Government, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, National Employment Service.

“We did an extremely good job in record time. This is to the pride of our Ministry, to the pride of the entire state. I am convinced that in the period ahead, we will further modernize our affairs and make Serbia one of the few countries that has such mechanisms and such state-of-the-art provision of consular services", Selakovic said.

Speaking about the "e-Consulate" portal itself, the Minister explained that there is a cartoon of Nikola Tesla and the building of the old railway station with one crane, which actually symbolizes a historical fact - that Tesla was in Belgrade in the year when it was built.

"Today it is the place behind which the Belgrade of the future is rising, and what we managed to do together is an indicator of something that is the future of Serbia, the development of artificial intelligence, IT and creating conditions for more people to live and arrive here in Serbia in the future seeking good life and employment", concluded the Minister.

The Director of the Office for IT and eGovernment, Mihailo Jovanovic, said that this was the first time that e-services were focused on foreign citizens, which was the case with our citizens so far.

In the period from 1 January 2019 to 17 May this year, the most applications for Serbian visas were submitted at the Embassy in Beijing, 6,766 applications, then in New Delhi - 2,973, Shanghai 2,115, Tokyo 1,798, and Cairo 1,756.

In that period, 1,270 requests were submitted in Algiers, 1,095 in Jakarta, and 1,077 in Beirut.

In terms of their nationality, Serbian D visa for employment is most requested by citizens of China - 9,516 applications, followed by India 1,955, and Ukraine - 673.


News

11 May 2021

Selakovic: Serbia demonstrated that solidarity does not solely have to be the privilege of the rich

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic participated today in the Adriatic and Ionian Council of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and the Ministerial Meeting of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, stating that it was necessary to include all available resources of this initiative more directly in finding common answers to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Serbian Foreign Minister pointed out that the pandemic can only be defeated by joint forces, emphasizing that solidarity was the key word in these challenging times.

“Being committed to the principles of solidarity, Serbia vaccinated a large number of foreign nationals, primarily from the region. We have donated a number of vaccine doses to neighbouring countries as well as to the secretariats of regional initiatives in which Serbia participates. In this way, although not one of the economically strongest countries in this initiative, Serbia endeavoured to demonstrate that solidarity does not solely have to be the privilege of the rich”, Minister Selakovic said.

The Minister stressed that Serbia had entered the process of immunization of citizens against Covid-19 at the end of last year, and underlined that Serbia was one of the countries that faced both the epidemic and the vaccination process in the most efficient way.

Selakovic expressed pleasure over the fact that the "Izola Declaration" recognized the importance of a common European response to the pandemic and the need to revise the activity, particularly within the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, while also being pleased that the Declaration confirmed the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

“Serbia's commitment to building a further European perspective and strengthening regional cooperation has been unequivocal”, Selakovic said adding that Serbia focused special attention on the green and digital transition in line with the European Green Deal, with support from the relevant EU funding programmes.

The meeting was held in video format, within the Slovenian Chairmanship of the initiative.


News


28 April 2021

Serbia donates another 13,000 vaccines to North Macedonia


Prime Minister Ana Brnabić stated that Serbia donated another 13,000 Sputnik V vaccines to North Macedonia, by which Serbia’s total donation in vaccines to that country stands at 48,000.

Speaking to reporters after a visit to the Kostolac thermoelectric power plant, Brnabić confirmed that the donation was delivered last night to North Macedonia, as part of a consignment of 20,000 vaccines of the component two, intended for revaccination.

The Prime Minister underlined that there are enough vaccines for our citizens and that if necessary, Serbia will continue to offer support to its friends and partners in the region.

We cannot return to normal life if everyone else does not do the same. That means investing into a common safety, Brnabić concluded.


Source: www.srbija.gov.rs
Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


News

21st April 2021

President Vučić met via video link with representatives of the IMF delegation


President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić talked today via a video link with the representatives of the delegation of the International Monetary Fund led by the Head of the Mission, Jan Kees Martijn. The interlocutors concluded that Serbia's main goal remains to preserve the hard-earned reputation of a fiscally secure country, as well as to continue with a responsible fiscal policy so that public debt does not exceed 60 per cent of GDP, whereby Serbia continues to work on further economic growth.

During the conversation, President Vučić and Jan Kees Martijn especially referred to the incentive measures and adopted three packages of measures to help the economy and citizens, which preserved macroeconomic stability and even achieved a higher employment rate. Martijn commended the responsible economic policy of Serbia and the successful crisis management during the pandemic.

"Serbia achieved one of the best results last year despite the challenges of the pandemic", Martijn said, noting that Serbia was one of the few countries to which the IMF did not adjust the initial projection of the 5% growth rate it gave last year.

President Vučić added that following the first quarter of 2021, Serbia is well on its way to achieving the planned growth of 6% as planned, since one of the main focuses of the Government is investing in large infrastructure projects and intensifying work on attracting foreign direct investments.

"In 2020, Serbia was at the very top in terms of economic growth in Europe, and I am convinced that this year we can enter the first three or four countries in terms of growth", said President Vučić, adding that he was satisfied that Serbia still, despite the pandemic situation, has an extremely strong inflow of investment.

President Vučić and Jan Kees Martijn also discussed a new advisory arrangement, which is of special importance in light of the improvement of the general investment climate in Serbia, as well as in the context of even greater investor assurance.

"Given Serbia's tremendous progress over the past eight years, the priority goal of this arrangement will be to preserve the results achieved, but also to provide support for further implementation of structural reforms aimed at even faster, stronger and more sustainable growth", said President Vučić and thanked the IMF and the personal engagement of Jan Kees Martijn in the professional and expert support that Serbia is counting on.

President Vučić pointed out that Serbia will pay special attention to reforms in public companies, and that priorities will continue to be investments in infrastructure, creating an even better climate for investments, greater investments in the environment, science and capital projects, which will further contribute to the long term stable financial growth in the coming years.

Source: www.predsednik.rs
Photo: www.predsednik.rs
 


News

20th April 2021

Meeting with the World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe


President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today with the Regional Director of the World Health Organisation for Europe Hans Kluge, to discuss cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as cooperation in improving health care in our country and other joint activities.

President Vučić thanked Dr Kluge for his personal engagement and support during the current pandemic, especially for technical assistance and expertise. On this occasion, he informed the WHO official about the results of immunisation in Serbia and plans on how to provide the vaccine to all citizens who want to get it.

Dr Kluge congratulated President Vučić on his leadership and personal commitment to provide vaccines. He emphasised that Serbia, with its good immunisation strategy, ranked among the global leaders, thus becoming an example of humanity and solidarity by enabling vaccination of elderly people in rural areas, foreign citizens and donating vaccines to other countries.

"Serbia has accepted the vaccine as a life-saving product and has not looked at it geopolitically", said Dr Kluge.
 
The two interlocutors agreed that the world should increase production capacities for vaccines, as well as develop new adequate therapies for the fight against COVID-19, and, in this regard, work on increasing the level of citizens' trust in science.

President Vučić informed Dr Kluge about the plans for improving the work of the Institute for Virology, Vaccines and Sera "Torlak".

"We want to make 'Torlak' one of the best vaccine factories in Europe", said President Vučić.


Source: www.predsednik.rs
Photo: www.predsednik.rs


News

19 April 2021

WHO describes immunisation process in Serbia as impressive


Prime Minister Ana Brnabic talked today with World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge about the epidemiological situation and the course of immunisation of citizens in Serbia.

Brnabic expressed gratitude for the cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, technical assistance and expertise, emphasising that the support of this organisation is very important for our country.

She informed the WHO Regional Director for Europe about the course of immunisation of citizens in Serbia, expressing her belief that, thanks to the large number of vaccinated people, we will be able to create collective immunity and return to normal life.

Kluge assessed the immunisation process in Serbia as impressive, and added that Serbia has made a good decision to offer citizens all available vaccines used in the fight against coronavirus.

Expressing concern over the emergence of new strains of the virus, he stressed the need to speed up the immunisation process and show mutual solidarity.

The WHO Regional Director for Europe praised Serbia for the humanity it has shown by donating vaccines to the countries of the region and enabling vaccination for those who do not have a sufficient number of vaccines for their citizens.

The Prime Minister said that Serbia will continue to cooperate with the countries of the region and help in accordance with its capabilities.

When it comes to the project "Roadmap for Health in the Western Balkans 2021-2025", it was stated that, if epidemiological conditions allow, a regional meeting will be held in Belgrade at the end of the year, important for future improvement of cooperation between countries in the field of health challenges.

Source: www.srbija.gov.rs
Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs


News

13 April 2021

Selakovic: Pristina persists in its campaign of hatred against the Serbian people

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic stated today that Pristina further persisted in its campaign of hatred against the Serbian people, which was most drastically seen in the unfounded accusations of mass rapes and genocide.

At the UN Security Council meeting discussing the Report of the UN Secretary-General on the work of UNMIK, Selakovic emphasized that the efforts of the provisional institutions in Kosovo and Metohija to create a narrative about mass rapes of Albanian women were obvious, and that propaganda methods and lies were used for that purpose.

"It is clear that there were victims on all sides in the conflict, as well as that our side has evidence of numerous Serb victims. But the precondition for ensuring the protection of rights that belong to each individual victim is a rational and well-argued approach", Selakovic said responding to the slander of the Pristina representative.

Selakovic underlined that, contrary to the claims of politicians from Pristina about 20,000 raped Albanian women, the information provided by the Commission for the Verification and Recognition of Sexual Violence Victim Status indicates 912 raped persons, however, failing to include in this number the Serb women who were victims of violence.

"Let me emphasize that Serbia condemns every act of sexual violence in conflicts and is committed to achieving justice for all victims. The number of victims certainly does not diminish the horrific effect of this type of violence on each victim individually, but also, speculating on numbers does not contribute to justice being served and leads to politicization and slowing down the reconciliation process", Selakovic said.

Regarding the genocide accusations, Minister Selakovic stated that they only went to prove that Pristina further persisted in its campaign of hatred, propaganda and open hostility towards the Serbian people.

"Through statements given on a daily basis, they attempt to paint a picture that Serbia is to blame for everything and that genocide was committed against Albanians, all in order to hide their own responsibility for the committed crimes", the Serbian Foreign Minister said. 

He underlined that anyone who knew what the definition of genocide implied would understand that it was not Serbia that committed something, but that the Serbian people was instead a victim of the "state-building" project of the Kosovo Albanians, based on the dangerous idea of ethnically clean territories, as evidenced by more than 200,000 expelled Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija.

"We are convinced that the civilized world will not agree to be their accomplice in concealing and covering up their crimes, and that a clear message will be sent to them that they must take responsibility for their actions", Selakovic said.
He reminded that until 1999, around 40,000 Serbs lived in Pristina, and that today there were only about twenty of them, that around 17,000 Serbs lived in Pec, and that today there were only the Serbian nuns in the Patriarchate of Pec, that around 12,000 Serbs lived in Prizren before the war, and that today only 17 families remained there, and that in Urosevac, out of 10,000 Serbs who lived there before the war, only the family of a Serbian priest remained.


News

13 April 2021


Selakovic: Political extremism of Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija is becoming stronger

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic warned, at the United Nations Security Council meeting, that the political extremism among Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija was not decreasing, but on the contrary, was becoming stronger.

At the meeting discussing the Report of the UN Secretary-General on the work of UNMIK, Minister Selakovic recalled that the obligation to form the Community of Serb Municipalities  remained unfulfilled for 2,917 days now and that, in fact, 19 April marked eight full years since the agreement was reached in Brussels, while Pristina still refused to follow up on its commitment and enable the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities. 

The Minister reminded that the current Prime Minister of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina repeatedly threatened to unite the self-proclaimed Kosovo and Albania, and that he also stated that the dialogue with Belgrade was low on the list of his priorities.

Minister Selakovic pointed out that it was high time for Albanian leaders in Pristina to show responsibility in fulfilling their commitments, but also a sincere commitment to reaching a compromise solution and building mutual trust.

"Serbia is determined and will not give up on identifying a compromise solution, which will be sustainable for future generations as well. The only way to build lasting peace and stability in our region is by working to build trust and insisting on positive political agendas", Selakovic concluded.

According to the Minister, lasting peace and stability can only be achieved if none of the participants in the dialogue pursued maximalist demands and insisted on the complete humiliation of the other.

He pointed out that the Serbian and Albanian peoples, as the two most numerous peoples in the Western Balkans, needed to find a way to reach reconciliation and a basis for cooperation, both in terms of the economy and in achieving shared prospects for membership of the European Union.

"Belgrade has made sincere steps in that direction, by being one of the initiators of the idea of relaxing the flow of people, goods, capital and services, popularly referred to as "mini-Schengen", the Minister underlined.

Pointing out that Serbia had time and time again demonstrated its commitment to dialogue as the only way towards a peaceful, political solution to the problem in Kosovo and Metohija, Selakovic underscored that the recent elections in the Province confirmed that political extremism among Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija was not decreasing, but on the contrary, was becoming stronger, which could be seen during the recent pre-election process.
Minister stressed that political pressures on Serbs continued even after the election process was completed, by denying Serbs fair representation in provisional institutions as the new so-called government in Pristina decided to assign only one ministry to the Serb community.

"Serb returnees represent a particularly vulnerable category, who spend their every day in fear of being attacked. I remind you that the southern Serbian province is still an area with the lowest return rate of displaced persons in the world", the Minister said and emphasized that, in the last year alone, more than 80 attacks and incidents took place in our southern province, targeting Serbs, their property and religious sites.

It is particularly worrying for the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, Selakovic noted, that in the previous period, and especially in March this year, there were frequent physical attacks on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

"A striking example of the disrespectful attitude towards Serbian cultural and religious monuments in the Province, whose exceptional universal value UNESCO confirmed by inscribing them on the World Heritage List, is the case of the Visoki Decani Monastery", the Minister underlined.

Furthermore, the Serbian Foreign Minister assessed as concerning the breaking into the Health Center in Strpce by police inspectors and officers, in January this year, who conducted a search aiming to discover Covid-19 vaccines there, originating from central Serbia.

"Although we consider this to be an intrusion into a health care institution, our reaction was restrained this time as well. We did not want our decisions to cause escalation and politicization of activities that are solely aimed at protecting public health. We organized the vaccination of citizens from Kosovo and Metohija at three locations in central Serbia and thus clearly demonstrated that people's lives are the top priority to us", the Minister stressed.

Minister Selakovic stated that Serbia highly valued the activities of UNMIK mission in Kosovo and Metohija and that it supported it in carrying out its work as efficiently as possible and undiminished in scope, aiming to build and preserve security in the Province.

Selakovic said that the international missions in Kosovo and Metohija - UNMIK, KFOR, EULEX and the OSCE mission, under the administration of the United Nations and in line with UNSC Resolution 1244, played a key role in the preservation of peace and protection of the population.

"We support and respect their engagement and efforts made in the framework of their mandates, with the common goal of creating conditions for a peaceful and safe coexistence of the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija. The Serb and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija have the utmost confidence in the international presence and consider it a guarantor of security and a barrier against the arbitrariness of the provisional institutions in Pristina", the Minister emphasized.

He said that this demonstrated the need that international missions remain engaged in an undiminished scope, in order to consistently implement UNSC Resolution 1244.

Selakovic further emphasized the importance of KFOR international forces and pointed out that any unilateral attempt to assign to someone else or that someone else assumes a part of KFOR's mandate and responsibilities constitutes a violation of UNSC Resolution 1244.

The Minister also noted as unacceptable the unilateral decisions on the formation of the Pristina "Ministry of Defence" and launching the process of transforming the so-called "Kosovo Security Forces" (KSF) into the so-called "Kosovo Army". 

At the beginning of his statement, Minister Selakovic lodged a protest against the abuse of the video format of the session by the representative of Pristina as she had a flag of the self-proclaimed "Kosovo" placed behind her, and the representative of Russia did the same.

Below is an integral version of the speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic

Distinguished President of the Security Council,

Distinguished Special Representative,

Esteemed members of the Security Council,

At the outset, I have no choice but to lodge a protest against the abuse of the video format of this session on the part of the representatives of Pristina in order to promote the symbols of the so-called statehood of Kosovo. Despite the fact that the representatives of Pristina were warned on several occasions, including by the President of the Security Council at the previous session, that such abuses of Security Council sessions are absolutely unacceptable and constitute a flagrant violation of the Security Council rules on participation of representatives of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina, under Rule 39 of the UN Security Council Rules of Procedure, we are again faced with their reckless disregard for the rules of this distinguished body. Let me reiterate our call for the necessary steps to be taken to prevent such abuses.

It is my great pleasure to address this august body at the meeting on the work of the Mission of the United Nations in Kosovo and Metohija. At the outset, I would like to thank Secretary-General of the United Nations Mr. Guterres and Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIK Mr. Tanin for the report submitted and for their efforts made towards the implementation of the UNMIK mandate, and also to the members of the Security Council for the continued attention they have devoted to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija. The Republic of Serbia highly values the activities of the Mission of the United Nations in Kosovo and Metohija and supports it in carrying out its work as efficiently as possible and undiminished in scope, aiming to build and preserve security in the Province.

Mr. President,

In the previous period we have faced political instability in Kosovo and Metohija. We recently had elections in the Province, which unfortunately confirmed that political extremism among Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija is not decreasing, but on the contrary, is becoming stronger. We have witnessed Albanian leaders competing among themselves in efforts to find the best way to provoke an incident in Serb communities, in order to score political points of the Albanian electorate. Under the pretext of amending the voter list, a large number of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija were deprived of one of their fundamental political rights - the opportunity to elect their political representatives. Out of approximately 140,000 of citizens of Kosovo and Metohija who were removed from the voter list in the latest election process, 85% are Serbs.

Despite numerous challenges and problems, the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija have shown, by high turnout and a convincing victory of the Serb List which won all ten seats reserved for Serbian representatives, that nothing can stop them from resolutely defending their position. Political pressures on Serbs continued even after the election process was completed, by denying Serbs fair representation in provisional institutions as the new so-called government in Pristina decided to assign only one ministry to the Serb community.

Distinguished members of the Security Council,

Unfortunately, it was not only during the election activities that we witnessed the unreasonable anti-Serb policy being pursued by the provisional institutions in Pristina. This goes to the length of breaking into the Health Center in Strpce, in the south of Kosovo and Metohija, by police inspectors and officers from Pristina, in  January this year, who conducted a search aiming to discover Covid-19 vaccines there, originating from central Serbia, which they did not find. In doing so they demonstrated force and threatened to arrest the director of the Health Center, medical staff and doctors. At a time when the whole world is fighting the pandemic with vaccines being the only way to end this challenge, while Serbia is showing support and solidarity by donating vaccines and medical equipment to all in need in the region, Pristina wants to destroy vaccines only because they originate from central Serbia. As the whole world expresses gratitude to medical doctors, who have made great and heroic sacrifices in combating the virus, the provisional institutions in Pristina are attacking Serbian doctors for doing their job.

Although we believe that intrusions into health care institutions are inadmissible, our reaction was restrained this time as well. We did not want our decisions to cause escalation and politicization of activities that are solely aimed at protecting public health. We organized the vaccination of citizens from Kosovo and Metohija at three locations in central Serbia and thus clearly demonstrated that people's lives are the top priority to us. Serbia continues to be ready to help all in need of assistance, and we call for reason and responsibility, especially in such difficult times.

Mr. President,

Attacks targeting Serbs and their property have been on the rise. In the last year alone, more than 80 attacks and incidents took place in our southern province, targeting Serbs, their property and religious sites. According to the information provided by the OSCE Mission in Kosovo and Metohija, in the second half of last year, the number of incidents increased by more than 30% compared to 2019. Therefore, we cannot agree with the assessment that the "security situation in Kosovo remained stable, with a few incidents reported affecting non-majority communities". Last weekend, for example, an entirely unprovoked physical attack by a group of Albanians on two Serb young men took place in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica.

Serb returnees represent a particularly vulnerable category, who spend their every day in fear of being attacked. The fact that one family of returnees was the target of seven attacks clearly indicates the persistence of those who do not want Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. There is absolutely no trace of political will in Pristina for 212,995 displaced Serbs who have been living outside Kosovo and Metohija for 22 years to return to their homes. Since 1999, the rate of sustainable return of internally displaced persons in Kosovo and Metohija has been only 1.9%, which according to the UN data is officially the lowest percentage of return of expelled population after a conflict anywhere in the world.

At the same time, while arresting internally displaced persons, Pristina authorities are exerting the strongest of pressures on the Specialist Chambers in The Hague. The aim is to completely prevent the further processing of a number of cases against members of the terrorist KLA, on charges of serious crimes committed during the conflict in Kosovo and Metohija against both Serbs and persons belonging to other nationalities. President of the Specialist Chambers Madam Trendafilova recently warned that, should the pressures continue, this would have very dramatic consequences to the trials in progress. President Trendafilova underlined as highly problematic the phenomenon of witness intimidation, who are key for conducting proceedings successfully and rendering a proper verdict.

Although the wait to raise indictments was far too long, we consider it commendable that efforts have finally been made to punish the perpetrators of numerous serious crimes which were committed during the armed conflicts a little over two decades ago, but also upon the arrival of the international forces to Kosovo and Metohija. For example, no one has been held accountable to this day for the killings and abductions of 17 journalists in Kosovo and Metohija, which is currently the largest number of unsolved cases of murdered and kidnapped journalists in Europe. Furthermore, the perpetrators of any of the mass crimes committed against Serb civilians after 1999 have not been brought to justice. I will remind you of only a few of these cases: 14 Serb farmers were killed in the village of Staro Gracko, 12 displaced Serbs were killed and 43 wounded in the attack on the "Niš Express" bus in Livadice near Podujevo, and in Gorazdevac near Pec unknown persons fired automatic weapons on children who were swimming in the Bistrica river. Two Serb children were killed then, and four were seriously injured.

We expect the EULEX Mission to continue to support the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor's Office, as well as its additional engagement in the field of the rule of law. Special attention needs to be devoted to witness protection, and determining the fate of missing persons.

International missions in Kosovo and Metohija - UNMIK, KFOR EULEX and OMIK are an integral part of the international civilian and security presence in our southern province, under the administration of the United Nations and in line with UNSC Resolution 1244 (1999), and play a key role and make an outstanding contribution to the preservation of peace and protection of the population. We support and respect their engagement and efforts made in the framework of their mandates, with the common goal of creating conditions for a peaceful and safe coexistence of the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija. The Serb and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija have the utmost confidence in the international presence and consider it a guarantor of security and a barrier against the arbitrariness of the provisional institutions in Pristina. This further demonstrates the need that international missions remain engaged in an undiminished scope, in order to consistently implement UNSC Resolution 1244.

I would like to further emphasize the importance of KFOR international forces and point out that any unilateral attempt to assign to someone else or that someone else assumes a part of KFOR's mandate and responsibilities constitutes a violation of the UNSC Resolution 1244, while also being a potential source of instability and tensions. I will remind you that Pristina, contrary to international law and completely ignoring the interests and positions of the Serb community in the Province, would not abandon its plans to install a new security actor in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. We consider the unilateral decisions on the formation of the "Ministry of Defence" and launching the process of transforming the so-called "Kosovo Security Forces" (KSF) into the so-called "Kosovo Army" to be unacceptable. I would like to reiterate that such unilateral moves on the part of Pristina constitute a gross violation of the UNSC Resolution 1244 and the Military Technical Agreement, according to which only the International Security Forces, that is KFOR, have the mandate for all military aspects of security in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

In this context, an additional reason for concern is the announcement of the construction of the largest base of the "Kosovo Security Forces" in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, which Serbs in the north of Kosovo and Metohija perceive as the most open provocation and threat to their physical safety.


Distinguished members of the Security Council,

It is particularly worrying for the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija that in the previous period, and especially in March this year, there were frequent physical attacks on the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In just two weeks, as many as seven Orthodox landmarks in the province were targeted by vandals, at a time when we all remember the March 2004 pogrom against Serbs and Serbian holy sites in Kosovo and Metohija. The condition of the Serbian cultural and spiritual heritage in Kosovo and Metohija is humiliating, including the four monuments that are inscribed on the UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger (Visoki Decani, Holy Virgin of Ljevisa, Gracanica and the Patriarchate of Pec). Numerous administrative and technical barriers are imposed on priestly and monastic communities, which makes it more difficult or even impossible for them to survive on church property.

A striking example of the disrespectful attitude towards Serbian cultural and religious monuments in the Province, whose exceptional universal value UNESCO confirmed by inscribing them on the World Heritage List, is the case of the Visoki Decani Monastery.


Distinguished members of the Security Council,

The reason for the nervous behaviour of Pristina is all too obvious, as the project of the so-called independence today fails to be recognized by more than a half of the United Nations Member States, including five members of the European Union. However, it is high time for Albanian leaders in Pristina to show responsibility in fulfilling their commitments, but also a sincere commitment to reaching a compromise solution and building mutual trust.

I will remind you that the current Prime Minister of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina has repeatedly threatened to unite the self-proclaimed Kosovo and Albania in the past. A member of his party publicly said last weekend that the self-proclaimed Kosovo and Albania would be united, I quote, "with rifle and gunpowder, or referendum boxes".

I need not explain why such dangerous ideas constitute a direct threat to peace and stability. They violate Resolution 1244, while continuously destabilizing not only our southern province, but the entire region as well, and in no way contribute to the dialogue process, but instead hamper it again.

We have demonstrated time and time again our commitment to dialogue as the only way towards a peaceful, political solution to the problem in Kosovo and Metohija. Even today, after many years of negotiations, but also failure to fulfill what was agreed and constant unilateral moves and provocations on the part of the provisional institutions in Pristina, we are still ready to sit down at the table and talk.

We are ready for dialogue but not to be blackmailed and threatened and especially not for ultimatums recently presented by Prime Minister of the provisional institutions of self-government in Pristina. I will remind you of his statement that the dialogue will be low on the list of priorities of the Pristina authorities. It is bewildering how Pristina refers to ultimatums completely undermining any chance of dialogue, as the European Union also pointed out, as "principles" and how it persistently insists that Belgrade should recognize the unilaterally declared independence of "Kosovo", upon which, they believe, all else would be resolved. What is the purpose of the dialogue then, if Belgrade is only expected to recognize the so-called Kosovo? Does the dialogue imply that one side should give up everything only for the other to win it all? And does the dialogue, in Pristina's opinion, imply that what was agreed should not be fulfilled?

I will remind you that Pristina still refuses to follow up on its obligations arising from the agreements reached so far and does not agree to discuss their implementation within the dialogue. And the situation is quite simple - in April 2013, the first agreement was signed in Brussels, which envisaged four obligations: one for Pristina and three for Belgrade. Belgrade has fulfilled all obligations, while the only obligation that the provisional institutions in Pristina had - to form the Community of Serb Municipalities - has remained unfulfilled for 2,917 days now. In fact, 19 April marks eight full years since the agreement was reached in Brussels, and of Pristina's failure to fulfill the obligation to form the Community of Serb Municipalities.

Distinguished Mr. President,

Regardless of the discouraging messages heard from Pristina and the fact that the dialogue has been in progress for many years, Serbia is determined and will not give up on identifying a compromise solution, which will be sustainable for future generations as well. Lasting peace and stability can only be achieved if none of the participants in the dialogue pursues maximalist demands and insists on the complete humiliation of the other. The Serbian and Albanian peoples, as the two most numerous peoples in the Western Balkans, need to find a way to reach reconciliation and a basis for cooperation, both in terms of the economy and in achieving shared prospects for membership  to the European Union.

Belgrade has made sincere steps in that direction, by being one of the initiators of the idea of relaxing the flow of people, goods, capital and services, popularly referred to as "mini-Schengen".

As far as Serbia is concerned, we are convinced that the only way to build lasting peace and stability in our region is by working to build trust and insisting on positive political agendas. The inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija, of any nationality, whether they are Serbs or Albanians, do not deserve anything less.

Thank you for your attention.


News

24 March 2021

Marking the Day of Remembrance of the victims of the NATO aggression

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic made a statement on the occasion of marking the Day of Remembrance of the victims of the NATO aggression.

"Your Holiness, distinguished Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, distinguished Speakers of the National Assemblies of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, distinguished Prime Ministers of the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, distinguished Ministers of both Governments, dear guests and friends, representatives of the Serbian People from Montenegro, North Macedonia, Croatia, thank you for the fact that we are all together tonight and that the Serbian spirit is unbreakable and invincible.

One child a day and a little more than that. That is the most difficult, sickening and painful number of the NATO aggression from 1999. Killed, stopped, guilty of nothing, having committed no sin, without the right to defence, without the right to justice and without the right to life.

No one has ever been held accountable for this crime, a crime greater than a crime. No one, for the 2,500 killed civilians, but also soldiers and policemen who were only guilty of guarding, protecting themselves and their homes. No one has ever been held accountable for more than 6,000 persons injured.

Even today, 22 years after the aggression, it is not possible to explain that, there is no universal justification, despite all the work done to that end, there is no reason, it makes no sense, and only names remain, as eternal as sin.

Miljana Milic, fifteen years old,
Vladimir Milic, twelve years old,
Miomir Mladenovic, fourteen years old,
Dragan Dimic, three years old,
Julijana Brudar, ten years,
Olivera Maksimovic, twelve years old,
Miroslav Knezevic, thirteen years old,
Dajana Pavlovic, five years old,
Stevan Pavlovic, eight years old,
Marko Simic, two years old,
Milica Rakic, three years old,
Ivan Ivancic, seven years old,
Marko Ivanovic, three years old...

And the list goes on, eighty nine names, not only Serbian ones...

The senselessness of sheer killing did not choose. Sixteen children, aged two to seventeen, from the Ahmetaj and Hasani families, were killed in a convoy returning home to Prizren.

In one headline in the West, this was simply explained as a "tragic mistake". The deaths of Marko Roglic, Milan Ignjatovic, Gordana Nikolic, Irena Mitic, Milica Stojanovic, Bojana Tosovic, Branimir Stanijanovic, our Sanja Milenkovic...could not expect or get even such an explanation.

Those deaths were not tragic, for those who caused them, much less a mistake. It was just an excuse, a miserable excuse.

They were a result of intent and a clear decision, as a severe judgment against one country, its people, its children.

And that is why today we will refrain from speculation in giving a name to everything that happened during the spring of 1999. Because a crime happened, a heinous and terrible one. And it was an aggression, not a bombing, not an intervention, not a campaign, not an operation. An aggression is what happened. An attack on a sovereign country, without a decision of the United Nations, without a sufficient reason that would justify attacking the then Yugoslavia or a neighbouring or NATO country.

No one was attacked by Serbia or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia at that time. They attacked us, with one goal. To defeat us, to keep killing us, and in the end to take away a part of our territory.

And no matter how much we analyze things today, no matter how harsh and critical we are towards ourselves, our policy and leadership at the time, it is clear that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Serbia were left with almost no choice then. The choice was horrible, either the loss of territory and people on the one hand, or the complete disappearance of the Serbian state, morals, honour, Serbian spirit, names and surnames. And we could not help but lose. Nineteen big ones attacked one small country, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They attacked both Serbia and Montenegro. And even when they don't talk about it today, in one of the two independent countries, those are the facts. And that small country, and that small nation, to all nineteen of them so great and powerful, held a lesson in what matters most - honour, morals and love for freedom that a nation can have.

Yes, justice, lest we forget justice. All those nineteen great ones today still silently talk about their military success, avoid answering questions, while - can you imagine, one small, only numerically small Serbian people, that small but magnificent nation, with sadness, tears in their eyes, proudly remembers their resistance and struggle against the nineteen cruel and arrogant ones.

We lost a lot, we lost our fathers, brothers, spouses, children, but the honour and Serbian heart are still there, to protect Serbia, which is eternal and indestructible.

We lost children, we lost people, we lost control over a large part of the territory, we lost billions because of the destroyed infrastructure and economy.

And all that was left for us was the body of a tortured, destroyed country, a country in disintegration, mutilated, looted, wounded, deserted, and guilty, condemned for everything that happened not only in the 1990s, but throughout history.

A country that, even ten years after the aggression, did not have the strength to stand up, rise to its feet, and do anything but be silent, or bow its head and obediently apologize, for everything, even for its dead, even for its murdered children.

Today, it is no longer that failed, tortured, devastated, mutilated Serbia.

Today, it is Serbia, which has found its strength and its pride again.

Serbia, which calls things by their real names.

Serbia, which turned its back on war and defeats, and started working.

Serbia, which rose to stand on its own feet and has a voice of its own.


Serbia, which, even when they don't believe it, they listen to. Which is capable, which is growing, and is no longer part of the problem. Serbia, which is and will be, at least we will do our best to this end, the very solution that enables the entire region to live in peace and understanding.

And that Serbia, today, when there are still many more bombs in the world than vaccines, sends not bombs, but precisely those vaccines to the region. Today, it is ready to produce them as well, and in just a few months we will do just that, but not only for ourselves, but also for others, for the entire Balkans.

We are ready, and we are willing to help.

We are not ready to be and we will not be silent, nor be humiliated again.

We draw the right to that not only from the victims we had, but also from the fact that we stopped looking at others only a long time ago, and looking for fault and guilt only in them, and not sometimes in ourselves as well.

We looked at each other and admitted. Every loss, every defeat and every crime that someone committed in our name, every failure and every wrong policy.

And we are no longer doing anything that could endanger anyone.


We continue to work and work, and grow more and more, gaining strength with only one goal - to be the best in economy and education, health, in culture, science, sports...

And we want to be safe, on our own. We want our army to be much stronger than it was in 1999. So that we never again face a situation that someone is killing our children, destroying the country, or expelling our people.

We want to remain free, to decide our own destiny, and for no one to take everything away from us ever again, and give us nothing.

And that nothing today, and I will repeat it as much as necessary, is the idea of some great, powerful ones, but also those who serve them, the idea that "Kosovo" should recognize us, so that we could recognize "Kosovo".

We do not need that recognition. And Serbia will not allow you to walk over our victims, our history, our past, but also to walk over our future. You will get the answer of reasonable, kind and responsible people. We need a compromise. We need all the obligations that we and Pristina have assumed to be fulfilled, but only we have fulfilled them so far.

And this is not our whim. It is not a phantasmagoria about a Serbian world that we want to create.

Even today, when they threaten us with the formation of a Greater Albania, when they say that the Community of Serb Municipalities is not going to happen, it is ours to be calm, to take care of our people in Kosovo and Metohija, but to send a clear message to all those great, powerful ones that we are not as weak as we were, that we will be able to preserve what is our own, not touching anything that belongs to anyone else. After all, Serbia is not and will not be but a handful of oats that every crow from the whole wide world can eat. As for those who used the strength and power of the nineteen arrogant and cruel ones, I only ask them not to threaten us. Please, please, don't threaten us. They should not think that Serbia is broken and that it will not have the strength to respond. Please, please, our Albanian neighbours, do not threaten us. And we ask all others, who have demonstrated their cruelty towards Serbia, not to help you in that. That is all we are asking and nothing more.

And we will respond to calls for peace, calls for compromise, and always with good will, because we do not want to have children killed again. And we do not want the children of others to suffer again. But do not underestimate Serbia, and do not look at Serbia with the same eyes as you did in 1999.

Today, Serbia is much stronger, much more powerful. Today, Serbia is a united country of togetherness, not a divided one. Today, Serbia is incomparably stronger and better in every aspect than it was in 1999, from the economy to our army. And we will never threaten anyone, we just ask you and request from you to respect us and nothing more.


Today, we are building roads that will connect us, among ourselves, with the region and with the world. Until the end of the year, we will work on eight motorways, on eight routes in the entire Balkans, not only Serbia, eight roads of peace and cooperation.

Only a crazy person would trade this for war, for dead children, for demolition and new loss. And yes, we want to have the closest relations with everyone who took part in the aggression against our beautiful Serbia, we have forgiven a long time ago, but no, we will never forget. And don't ask us to. That one day, every year, we will remind both ourselves and you. The nineteen of you, the most powerful, strongest, greatest in terms of might and force, but not so much when it comes to honour and morality. We will keep remind you and ourselves, just so it would never happen again. Not to us only, but to none other freedom-loving people in the world.

And if we have an offer, today it reads as follows: we are ready to make the whole Balkans a winner, for everyone to win, as long as no one tries to make Serbs the only losers.

And the path to this goal is not difficult at all.

We just need to respect and understand each other and not try to humiliate each other.

And not to touch into what everyone paid the highest and bloodies price for. Freedom. And we, Serbs, know the price of freedom.

Into our right to have it, to keep it and to remember all the victims who are part of it.

And our defeats, our lives and our children are built into ours. And the lives of our heroic pilots, and our giants from Kosare and Pastrik, and our children, innocent, completely innocent, and only guilty of living in Serbia.

This is too high a price to be quiet about it.

Because that would mean that we are ready for another defeat, for another humiliation.

And we are not.

And when all go quiet, we will keep repeating.

A child a day, and a little more. This was how much you killed us. In an aggression that even you did not understand why you carried it out.

And we will keep repeating this, just so it does not happen to us again.

With special reverence, we are fulfilling our obligation to pay tribute to all innocent Serbian victims who laid their lives on the altar of the homeland, both civilians and our heroic soldiers and policemen, the heroes of Kosare, Prizren, Mitrovica.

Today, for us Serbs, life in Kosovo and Metohija is like Via Dolorosa, using their last strength on the road to Golgotha, but we would not be Serbs if we were not capable to "exist in a terrible place".

And today, tonight, I can conclude with one important sentence. On the soil of Europe, there was, and today is stronger than ever, an indomitable, unwavering, unconquerable and never conquered Serbia.

May eternal glory be to all the victims of the NATO aggression and let us all exclaim together - long live free and proud Serbia", President Vucic said.


Source:www.predsednik.rs
Photo:www.predsednik.rs


Нењс

Commemorating Remembrance Day of 17 March 2004 - Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic participated today in the commemoration of the Remembrance Day of 17 March 2004 - Pogrom in Kosovo and Metohija. He said that exactly 17 years ago, a pogrom took place in Kosovo and Metohija, and that pogrom surpassed all other crimes.

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest, these words of Elie Wiesel, a camp survivor and Nobel laureate, make it forever incumbent upon us not to remain silent against crime, regardless of who and for what reason committed it", President Vucic stated and added that we remembered and learned every lesson in which we were losers, each one in which we were silent to our own victims, and each one when we were ready to forget.   

"Serbia is no longer weak today, nor is it a country of losers, it does not threaten, but it does not forget either, it is ready for talks, but not for humiliation. Serbia, just like everyone else, has the right to take care of its people, their safety and well-being. The right to life is a fundamental human right and we will always defend it", President Vucic said.

President Vucic said that pogrom surpasses all other crimes, because it is not only an act, but an intention, a policy, a premediated attempt to forcibly cleanse persons belonging to other peoples and faiths from a region or a country.

"We have no right to remain silent to that", said the President of Serbia, emphasizing that we have an obligation to be winners without blood spilled and war, to be the best in the economy, healthcare, sports, education and everything else that implies development and progress.

"We also wish others to work on themselves and be successful, because we are aware that crime is a tool for losers that winners do not need, as they remember, but forgive and move on, while the losers keep spinning in the same vicious circle. We Serbs do not want to be that anymore, we want a future in which we will remember, but from which we will not return. We know what happened and we call it by its real name", President Vucic concluded.

Photo: Dimitrije Goll


News

La République de Serbie au Mois de la Francophonie

 

La République de Serbie en qualité de membre associé à l'OIF, de concert avec toute la communauté francophone dans le monde entier, célèbre le Mois de la Francophonie. Pour tous les amateurs de la culture serbe et de la langue française, le Ministère de la Culture et de l'Information de la République de Serbie a préparé un vaste programme et L’Ambassade/la Mission permanente/le Consulat de la République de Serbie à…… vous invite à découvrir la diversité et la richesse de la culture serbe en français.

 


News

8 March 2021

Selakovic: Fight against all forms of crime is a priority of the Serbian Government

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic said today that the fight against all forms of crime was a top priority of the Serbian Government and an integral part of the EU accession process.

"It is also our moral duty, in order to leave a better world for the generations to come", Selakovic said participating via video-link at the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Kyoto.    

Minister Selakovic emphasized that Serbia, in its Second Serious and Organized Crime Threat Assessment from 2019, identified as its goal to eliminate cybercrime, human trafficking, terrorism and irregular migration.

The Serbian Foreign Minister pointed out that our country had established in a timely manner a normative and institutional framework that regulates prevention of abuse in this area, as well as that the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Cybercrime, a special court department and a special police unit were established. 

The Minister underlined that, in the field of the fight against corruption, Serbia was guided by the postulates set out in the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption.

Selakovic pointed out the efforts made by the Anti-Corruption Agency, as an independent state body, to protect the public interest, build individual and institutional integrity, strengthen transparency and accountability of the public administration.

"We strongly condemn all forms of terrorism, including extremism and radicalism, and call for them to be fully eradicated, while implementing the relevant UN resolutions and conventions and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy", the Head of Serbian diplomacy underscored. 

In order to combat these complex phenomena efficiently and successfully, Selakovic said, it was of vital importance to build capacities of our societies and states, while exchanging experiences at the regional and global levels.

Minister Selakovic thanked Japanese Ambassador Hikihara for the skill he showed in conducting the talks on harmonizing and adopting the Kyoto Declaration, which, as he stressed, was an important indicator of the commitment to creating and maintaining the institutional framework for crime prevention as one of the main preconditions for promoting sustainable development goals.

"Back in 1970 when Japan hosted this event for the first time, we demonstrated strong political will to draw attention to the problem. Today, it is incumbent upon us to reaffirm this willingness and resolve and translate it into concrete steps", the Serbian Foreign Minister said.
 


Нењс

La première réunion du Groupe de travail pour la coopération avec l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie

La toute première réunion du Groupe de travail interministériel pour la coopération avec l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, présidé par le Ministre des Affaires étrangères Nikola SELAKOVIĆ, a eu lieu aujourd’hui au Ministère des Affaires étrangères de la République de Serbie.
La décision de former ce Groupe de travail a été prise par le gouvernement de la République de Serbie le 18 février 2021, visant déterminer les objectifs de la Serbie dans le cadre de sa coopération avec l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, ainsi que leur atteinte efficace et à terme.
Le Groupe de travail met l’accent sur la promotion de l’apprentissage et de l’emploi du français, notamment dans l’optique de l’intention de la République de Serbie de devenir membre de plein droit de cette organisation, pour citer le chef de la diplomatie serbe Nikola SELAKOVIĆ lors de la Conférence ministérielle de la Francophonie, le 25 novembre 2020.
Le ministre SELAKOVIĆ, en saluant les participants de la réunion de ce jour, a souligné que l’objectif primordial du Groupe de travail était de voir la bonne volonté, la vocation de la Serbie à coopérer avec l’OIF traduite en activités concrètes, afin que notre pays puisse continuer sa voie vers l’adhésion pleine et entière le plus efficacement possible et avec les résultats palpables.
Lors de la réunion ont été discutées, entre autres, les mesures proposées par le Groupe d’ambassadeurs francophones en Serbie pour la promotion de la coopération de la Serbie avec l’OIF.
Font parti du groupe de travail: représentants du Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Ministère de l’éducation, des sciences et du développement technologique, Ministère de la culture et de l’information, Ministère de la jeunesse et des sports, Ministère de l’administration nationale et de l’autonomie locale, Ministère de l’environnement, Ministère des droits de l’homme et des droits de minorités et du dialogue social, Ministère de la construction, des transports et de l’infrastructure, Ministère de la protection de la famille et de la démographie, Ministère de l’intégration européenne et de l’Académie nationale de l’administration publique.
 


News

18 February 2021

Selakovic: Relations between Serbia and North Macedonia are based on friendship and have been on the ascent

Relations between Serbia and North Macedonia have been on the ascent and are based on mutual friendship between the citizens of the two countries, assessed the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and North Macedonia, Nikola Selakovic and Bujar Osmani respectively, after the meeting held today in Belgrade.

Selakovic said that he was pleased with the intensification of communication between top-level officials, just days after the Vucic-Zaev meeting at the Tabanovce border crossing, which was aimed at the strengthening of bilateral relations and the European path of Serbia and of North Macedonia.

"Our bilateral relations contribute not only to our countries, but also to the entire region. We have agreed to see each other as often as possible and we want to revive the consultations between the Ministries. We also want to continue holding sessions of the two Governments, to build a friendship equal to that when we helped each other during the pandemic", Minister Selakovic said at the press conference held after the meeting.

Selakovic added that there was full agreement on the issue of resolving relations between Belgrade and Pristina "through the EU-facilitated dialogue, and that this is something we are committed to".

According to the Minister, even this year during the Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral trade in goods reached EUR 860 million.

The Minister pointed out in particular the importance of cooperation regarding the position of national minorities, Serbian in Macedonia and Macedonian in Serbia, and added that Serbia was ready to engage in further improvement of the position of the Macedonian minority in Serbia.

"We want to revive the 2004 agreement which envisages the formation of a joint commission for national minority issues. In the field of cultural cooperation, we are ready to make the maximum contribution and open a Macedonian cultural center in Belgrade, as well as a Serbian one in Skopje", Selakovic pointed out.

As he congratulated Statehood Day to Serbia, Osmani once again expressed his gratitude for receiving the vaccines that President Vucic had delivered to North Macedonia.

"We discussed regional cooperation within the Berlin Process as well as "mini-Schengen" which enables overcoming all barriers for the movement of citizens in the region. It is important to create an attractive region for investment, both for our citizens and foreign nationals", Osmani said.

When asked by the MIA News Agency reporters about Sofia's claim that there was too much of a  Serbian influence in North Macedonia, Minister Selakovic said that "if we are looking at the past and for what separates us, we will not have the time to deal with issues of the future",

"It is good that we are looking for what unites us. If we want to, we will find this easily. I heard about the statements from official Sofia and I gave my best reaction by not commenting on it. Serbia's goal is for us in the region to be good neighbours and to build infrastructure", Selakovic said.

Selakovic stated that Serbia could be an integrating factor for all three countries, noting that he did not see that North Macedonia was in any way a source of disagreements between Serbia and Bulgaria.

"If we only dwell on the past, we will all end up counting the people who leave for other countries", Selakovic added.

Also, Minister Selakovic commented on the media alleging that five countries in the world were ready to withdraw their decisions to recognize the independence of "Kosovo".

Asked if that meant that Belgrade continued its fight and the derecognition campaign, because Pristina continued its lobbying activities at the global level for membership in international organizations, which it had committed no to do under the Washington Agreement, Selakovic said that Serbia was acting as a credible partner and a credible state, as well as that it stuck to what it agreed with someone, "which means that we are not someone who breaks agreements".

"We are sticking to our commitments arising from the Washington Agreement, however, if others are not sticking to theirs, one should not expect us to be just a voodoo doll and a silent observer", Selakovic said briefly.

He added that Belgrade gave absolute priority to dialogue as a way to resolve all open issues, and both internal and regional issues of interest to Serbia.


Source: Tanjug
 


News

18 February 2021

Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb and Ljubljana elected as the new Patriarch of Serbia

The Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church elected His Eminence Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb-Ljubljana, PhD, as the new Serbian Patriarch, in its convocation in Memorial Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade on 18 February 2021.

Immediately after the election a thanksgiving service was officiated and Many Years was chanted to the Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije. Bells at Saint Sava Cathedral in the Vracar district of Belgrade rang a few minutes before 4:00 pm indicating that the 46th Patriarch of Serbia was elected.

Newly-elected Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch Porfirije (Peric) was born on 22 July 1961 in Becej, to father Radivoje and Mother Radojka. He was baptized as Prvoslav. He finished primary school in Curug, and the “Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj” Grammar School in Novi Sad. He was ordained a monk according to the rite of small schime by his spiritual father, then hieromonk Dr. Irinej (Bulovic), at Decani Monastery on Sunday of St. Thomas in 1985.

He graduated from the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade in 1986, when the then Bishop of Raska-Prizren Diocese, future Serbian Patriarch Pavle of blessed memory, ordained him a hierodeacon at the monastery of Holy Trinity in Musutiste.

He attended postgraduate studies in Athens from 1986 until 1990. That year, upon the blessing of Bishop Dr. Irinej of Backa, he joined the monastery of Holy Archangels in Kovilj, where he was ordained as hieromonk and became its abbot.

Many young monks and novices came to the monastery following him. These were the years when the Kovilj Monastery became a spiritual center for many young people: intellectuals, artists, popular actors and rock musicians, especially from Novi Sad and Belgrade. Since then abbot Porfirije has particularly dealt with drug-addicted patients. In 2005, he formed for this purpose a therapeutic community called “The Land of the Living”, which is recognized as the most successful drug-addiction therapy project and, under the leadership of Bishop Porfirije, it has more than a hundred residents in camps throughout Serbia today.

During the ordinary meeting of the Holy Assembly of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Belgrade on 14 May 1999 he was elected as Bishop of Jegar, Vicar of the Diocese of Backa.

He defended his PhD thesis Possibility of knowability of God in St. Paul’s understanding according to the interpretation of Saint John Chrysostom at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Athens in 2004.


He became a lecturer at the Faculty of Orthodox Theology - Department of Pastoral Psychology - succeeding famous psychiatrist, academician Dr. Vladeta Jerotic. His lectures have been attended not only by students of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, but other Belgrade faculties as well.

Together with a group of experts: psychologists, doctors, criminologists, sociologists, Bishop Porfirije founded a civic association that deals with the resocialization of victims of destructive religious sects and cults.

Bishop Porfirije has not been just president of the Steering Board for a decade, but a real spiritus movens of the Humanitarian Fund “Privrednik”, which has provided scholarships for a great number of gifted, but poor pupils and students, regardless of their nationality or religious affiliation.

In 2005, the National Assembly elected him as representative of all Churches and religious communities, to be a member of the Council of the Republic Broadcasting Agency, and in 2008 the RBA elected him its president. As President of the Council of the Republic Broadcasting Agency, Bishop Porfirije supported the long-term interests of society and citizens, unaffected by political influences.

Since then, church radio stations have been heard in the broadcasting spectrum of Serbia. He has made a key contribution to launching of a series of radio and television shows dealing with religious topics.

In 2010, The Holy Assembly of Bishops entrusted him to establish military chaplaincy in the Serbian Armed Forces. The fruits of his labour in that field include not only the suitable legal regulations, but also the selection of military chaplains, the organization and equipping of churches at barracks and performance of the first religious services.

His expert theological works Bishop Porfirije published in magazines both in Serbia and abroad. He participated in a large number of scientific conferences and symposia across the globe.

Bishop Porfirije, as one of the most prominent contemporary Serbian clergymen and intellectuals, has an extremely wide circle of friends, not only in the Homeland, and he fosters personal friendship and close cooperation with priests and representatives of other Churches and religious communities.

He speaks Greek, English, German and uses the Russian language, while his style of communication is always adapted to his interlocutors.

He was enthroned as the Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana on 13 July 2014 in the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Zagreb. The solemn Hierarchal Liturgy was served by Serbian Patriarch Irinej, accompanied by a large number of archbishops of the Serbian Church and other sister Churches, as well as priests and monks, and pious people.


Source: SPC/Serbian Orthodox Church


News

Good relations between Serbia and North Macedonia are important for the region


Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani was on a visit to Serbia during which he met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Speaker of the National Assembly Ivica Dacic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

In the meeting with Minister Osmani, President Vucic said that good relations between the two countries were of utmost importance for the entire region and pointed out "mini- Schengen" as an example of successful cooperation for the benefit of the citizens and the benefit of the economic development of countries actively involved in that initiative.

President Vucic singled out the importance of the Memorandum signed by Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania, which enabled mutual assistance and cooperation of their respective health systems for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.
He mentioned concrete projects that would contribute to better connectivity and economic cooperation between the two countries, such as the modernization of the railway to Skopje and the strengthening of the infrastructure at the border crossings.

President Vucic also said that Serbia supported the European integration of North Macedonia.

Minister Osmani thanked for the donation of vaccines, which President Vucic handed over to Prime Minister Zaev on Sunday, thus enabling the vaccination of North Macedonia's citizens to begin and which, as he said, awakened new hope.

The interlocutors also discussed the improvement of the position of Serbs in North Macedonia and of Macedonians in Serbia.

National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic opined that the bilateral relations between Serbia and North Macedonia were good, as evidenced by the intensive political dialogue and exchange of high and top-level visits.

He pointed out that the friendship between the two countries and peoples was additionally strengthened during the pandemic, as proven by the vaccines donated by Serbia to North Macedonia as a sign of solidarity.

Minister Osmani agreed that the relations between the two countries were developing in the right direction, pointing out that cooperation with the countries in the region was a priority for North Macedonia’s Government, and accordingly, his first visit as Minister of Foreign Affairs was a visit to Serbia. He stressed the importance of continuous political dialogue as it is the best way to resolve all issues.

In a meeting with Minister Osmani, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic pointed out that Serbia was very interested in strengthening bilateral relations and developing regional cooperation within the framework of "mini-Schengen", assessing that this initiative was of great importance for the economic development of all countries involved in that process.

She emphasized that holding intergovernmental sessions was an excellent platform for agreeing on future steps towards improving economic and trade cooperation and stronger connectivity between Serbia and North Macedonia.

The collocutors reaffirmed mutual support on the path to membership of the European Union.

On his visit to Serbia, Osmani also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic.

Belgrade,
18 February 2021


Нењс

President Vučić delivers vaccines to North Macedonia


President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić handed today to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Northern Macedonia Zoran Zaev, the first contingent of vaccines donated by the Republic of Serbia to North Macedonia and said he was happy the country could start immunisation and that Serbia was in the position to help its brothers and friends.

"Today, we brought 4,680 vaccines - that is the first phase. I think this is good news for the people in North Macedonia, for our brothers. I am happy the citizens of North Macedonia will be able to start immunisation and that we could help," President Vučić stressed in his address at the Tabanovce border crossing.

"Serbia has no other interests than to show friendship to all citizens of North Macedonia", the President emphasised and added that a true friend is one who is there for you in challenging moments, in trouble, when you need something, and not only when the times are good.

"We want our friendship to progress, and we seek to increase economic cooperation, so that we can live not only as the closest of neighbours but also as best friends," said President Vučić.

President Vučić said that all procedures for the donation of Pfizer vaccines to North Macedonia were completed last night and that everything was arranged to deliver them as soon as possible to start the immunisation of health workers in this country.

Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, expressed gratitude to President Vučić, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and Minister Zlatibor Lončar, for obtaining the consent of Pfizer and providing first aid in vaccines, which, as he said, means a lot.

He also thanked the Serbian people for the tremendous solidarity and pointed out that medical workers in covid centres will be vaccinated with vaccines from Serbia.

Prime Minister Zaev also said that all this is an expression of great friendship, such as opening borders and other types of cooperation through the "Mini Schengen" initiative.

"We have signed an agreement on mutual assistance, and we are working for the good of all peoples," Zaev said.

14th February 2021
 


news

National day of the Republic of SERBIA

(link): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh6idN_HKsQ&ab_channel=MFAoftheRepublicofSerbia


News

President Vucic: Serbia is ready for dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija, but will refuse being humiliated

President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Serbian Army Aleksandar Vucic attended a demonstration of capabilities of one part of Serbian Army units in the "Rastko Nemanjić" barracks in Pancevo. On this occasion, President Vucic stated that Serbia was ready to continue the EU-facilitated dialogue with Pristina at any point, while respecting also the position of the United States as well as the positions of Russia and China.   

The President said that he would rather put his "head on the chopping block" than sign any document with a recognition and reminded that he had already once refused to do so in Washington, where there were two versions of the agreement.

He stated that he immediately had his delegation leave the meeting, that he told the U.S. delegation that Serbia would not sign such an agreement, while conveying that Serbia would always endeavour to hold peaceful talks in order to preserve peace, but that it would not take any humiliation.

The Serbian President thanked the U.S. President Joe Biden for the letter of congratulations on the occasion of the upcoming Statehood Day, in which, in addition to the usual emphasis on commitment to promoting economic cooperation, regional stability and democratic values, he unequivocally called for mutual recognition of Serbia and "Kosovo" as a result.

Mutual recognition between Serbia and "Kosovo" is not part of any act of any world organization, the President pointed out and reiterated that Serbia was ready to continue the EU-facilitated dialogue with Pristina at any point, while respecting also the position of the United States as well as the positions of Russia and China.

According to the president, the situation is difficult and will only be increasingly difficult.

"As I told you three days ago, I can see it and I expect it, I can see the situation slowly tightening, because the conflicts between them at the global level have been increasing and intensifying, and then we have to pay the price", the President said.

President Vucic said that said that it was up to our state to continue strengthening the country in the economic sense.

The President added that the role of the army was very important in the highly complex security and political conditions of the modern world, and that was why Serbia needed to do everything it could to deter any potential aggressor and attacks on citizens and the country.

"The policy of strengthening the armed forces will continue at a faster pace", the President emphasized, adding that the goal was for the Serbian Army to play a stabilizing role with regard to the political developments in the region.

According to him, it should be clear to everyone that Serbia was not a punching bag and that not everyone could attack and threaten it like it was the case in the past.

Vucic said that he was pleased with what he saw and that a lot had been done in the previous period, pointing out that the salaries of military personnel would be significantly increased as of April.

President Vucic also stated that investments in the Serbian Army would continue, whom he told that he expected the Army to continue to be the guardian of our country, its integrity and freedom.

"We expect you to be the guardians of our country, its integrity and freedom, the defenders of our people, the guardians of the homeland, the protectors of the interests of the state of Serbia and to be a deterrent factor for every aggressor and anyone who might consider attacking Serbia", Vucic said.

The military exercise called "Spearhead" demostrated the capabilities of the 72nd Special Operations Brigade, and the event, which the President of Serbia and the Supreme Commander of the Serbian Army assessed as very good, was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojsa Stefanovic and Chief of General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, General Milan Mojsilovic.


Photo: Presidency of Serbia / Dimitrije Goll

Belgrade,
7 February 2021
 


News

Minister Selakovic: We do not respond to provocations, we want peace in the region

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic stated today that the position of Serbia was not to respond to the provocations of certain politicians from the region, because, he pointed out, it was determined to remain the factor of peace and stability in the region. Asked by the journalist  to comment on Serbia's relations with other countries in the region in the context of more and more frequently heard provocative statements about our country, Minister Selakovic said that Serbia did not want to respond to provocations but to be the protagonist of all good initiatives bringing development to the region.

"Serbia's position in the region, politically speaking, is anything but simple, but what we will not give up on and in which we are completely determined is that Serbia is, will be and should remain the factor of stability in the region", Selakovic said.

He pointed out that the state demonstrated its role as a "factor of stability in the region" in several ways, including by refraining from commenting on and responding to provocations.

"There have been constant provocations, and as you are well aware, in previous decades, it was a kind of a hobby or regular activity to call out Serbia during the election campaigns in the region", Selakovic stated. He added that the state leadership never reacted to those provocations in a way that could be detrimental to our country as well as to others.

"On the other hand, we demonstrate our resolve to remain the factor of stability in the region, aiming to preserve political stability and peace, through our initiatives", Minister Selakovic pointed out, adding that "mini-Schengen" was one of these initiatives.

He recalled that the initiative advocated a tight market connectivity in the region and also that it was an opportunity for the entire region to strengthen its infrastructure and economy. Furthemore, the initiative implied the freedoms on which the EU is based upon - free flow of goods, people, capital and ideas, Selakovic said.

"This is the kind of initiatives Serbia has been presenting to its partners in the region, as the protagonist of those ideas", Selakovic underlined. He emphasized that in the period ahead, the focus would be on having other countries in the Western Balkans join "mini-Schengen".


Source: Tanjug


News

Minister Selaković: Serbia is committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative

Serbia is committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and its corresponding Strategy, as a framework within which we conduct activities that strengthen the European path of our country, all the while creating an even better place to live in together with the participating EU Member States, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković said at the video-conference of the Fifth Forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.

"Despite the difficult challenges faced amid the coronavirus pandemic, during its Chairmanship of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative, Serbia succeeded in maintaining continuity in the implementation of the fundamental values adopted by signing the Ancona Declaration", Minister Selaković stated today.

The Serbian Foreign Minister said that our country was committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII) and that when its assumed its yearlong Presidency of the Initiative and Chairmanship of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, it had ambitious plans - first and foremost, Serbia had planned to continue to deepen cooperation in the framework of the Adriatic and Ionian region

The Minister explained that, through joint efforts, concurrently with the traditional activities, Serbia managed to continue pursuing the so-called new activities launched during the previous chairmanship.

"The process aimed at expanding AII participation demonstrated in last year’s Budva Declaration, and the admission of North Macedonia and of San Marino to membership of the Initiative successfully continued during the chairmanship of the Republic of Serbia too", Selaković said.

Minister Selaković pointed out that, during its AII Presidency, Serbia built on the experiences of previous chairs and that it closely cooperated with the incoming Slovenian Chairmanship, counting on the support and expertise of the Permanent Secretariat of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative seated in Ancona. The Minister thanked the AII Secretariat, on behalf of our country, for evaluating Serbia’s Chairmanship-in-Office in this report as “successful and dynamic”.

"We planned to bring the Serbian AII Presidency/EUSAIR Chairmanship to an end at the 5th Annual Forum and due to generous support of the European Commission and the extremely constructive approach of the current Chair – Slovenia, we are having the 5th Forum these very days", Selaković said.

The Minister pointed out that the pandemic had grown into an unprecedented threat to all of the participating countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and to the Adriatic and Ionian region as a whole, which is why they were all forced to impose protective measures, at the time when Serbia, fully supported by the AII Secretariat, had already carried out 17 out of the 35 activities envisaged in the chairmanship Calendar of Events.

"The pandemic happened just as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, having become a regular member of the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce at the beginning of Serbian chairmanship, was ready to organize a number of events aimed at the solidification of our mutual cooperation", the Serbian Foreign Minister underlined.

Minister Selaković concluded his statement by expressing unequivocal readiness for further cooperation with all participating countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and wishing the Slovenian colleagues a lot of success in implementing the tasks envisaged during their current Chairmanship.


Belgrade,
28 January 2021


News

28 January 2021

Selaković: Every generation of Serbs has something to contribute to Saint-Savaism

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković stated today that every generation of Serbs had something to contribute to Saint-Savaism (Svetosavlje), and so our ancestors had left us the celebration of St. Sava's Day as a school holiday, started the construction of the magnificent Church of Saint Sava in Vračar, and today's generation finished this most beautiful Orthodox church in the world.

"It was our generation that was blessed to finish this church - the most beautiful Orthodox church in the world. And today in Belgrade we are unveiling the first monument to the founder of the holy lineage of the Nemanjić dynasty, the father of Saint Sava's: Stefan Nemanja - St. Simeon the Myrrh-streaming. And exactly those two places, together with Žiča and Mileševa, are becoming gathering points for our people", Selaković said in a video address at the Saint Sava Academy held in Skopje.

He invited all people to visit Belgrade and see the now completed Orthodox Church in Vračar and the monument to Stefan Nemanja.

Today's Serbia, the "greatgreat-granddaughter" of the country established by Saint Sava, respects and appreciates its neighbours and national minorities who live in it, and thanks to the serious policy and leadership of President Aleksandar Vučić and the Serbian Government, it has been achieving economic development and progress, Selaković said.

He pointed out that Serbia followed the thought that could have been the thought of Saint Sava as well, maintaining that the good for Serbia was only possible if shared by its neighbors too, and that this was why Serbia was implementing policy measures that benefit all.

"We will continue to do so, while fighting to make our country better every day and offering our neighbors more and more joint opportunities in order to be even more connected, satisfied and successful in the future. And that is what Saint-Savaism stands for - it is a philosophy and a way of life. To take care of what is one's own, to respect what is someone else's and to try to do and bring good to one another in everything", Selaković said.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy said that Saint Sava was not only a Serbian Orthodox saint, but a saint of the entire Orthodox and Christian family, and that, in addition to feeling and acting like a Serb, in the first place he was a man who had spread knowledge about his kind, while also bringing knowledge from all over the world to his homeland.

Selaković recalled that Rastko Nemanjić was born in the heart of the medieval Serbian state, and that as a young nobleman he had served in today's Herzegovina, i.e., Zahumlje, and that he also managed to go to the Mount Athos, visit the countries of the Middle East, the Holy Land, met the Armenians, visited Byzantine Empire and passed away in Bulgaria.

According to the Minister, Saint Sava illuminated the entire Christian Orthodox world for the Serbs, visited holy places spreading the word of God, and stories, legends, sayings about him were preserved in different parts of the Balkans. Furthermore, he was both a diplomat and a writer, and behind him remained the Nomocanon of Saint Sava, which enabled the entire Slavic Orthodox world to become legally literate.

"With the desire and hope that we will celebrate the next St. Sava's Day like we did in previous years, not only in Belgrade, but also in Kumanovo, Skopje, Bijelo Polje and Podgorica, Herceg Novi, Banja Luka, Trebinje, Bijeljina, Prijedor, but also in all other areas where Serbs live - from Kosovska Mitrovica to Vukovar, Ljubljana and Celje. Wishing that we gather there, to gather in every place where our people live and celebrate the name of Saint Sava, I greet you on behalf of the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with a solemn greeting -
Happy Saint Sava's Day", the Serbian Foreign Minister concluded.


Source: Tanjug
 


News

26 January 2021

Minister Selakovic speaks for Politika: The year of rejuvenation of Serbian diplomacy

Serbia's foreign policy positions are naturally being adjusted to the new developments at the international level, but our foreign policy priorities have not changed in a long time. Our top and most important interest is to preserve good-neighbourly relations and stability and peace in the region and, in the same context, to find a peaceful and just solution to the problems in Kosovo and Metohija, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said in an interview with Politika daily.

Another lasting interest of ours is full membership of the European Union, because this is the type of society we strive for. At the bilateral level, our goal is to strengthen ties with traditional friends, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, but also to build new partner relations with the United States. One of the most important tasks of our foreign policy is to improve the position and protect the rights and identity of our people in the region, as well as to provide various types of support to Serbs in the diaspora. All these are very important and more often than not complementary goals, Nikola Selakovic pointed out.


What kind of relations do you expect Serbia to have with the new U.S. administration?

It is too early to speculate about this in public. The new presidential administration in Washington is currently preoccupied with internal issues and this will be the case for some time. There are people in the team of President Joseph Biden who have dealt with our region, and it is likely that the Balkans and Serbia will be the focus of the U.S. foreign policy at some point. I will remind you that President Vucic and President Biden not so long ago had very substantive talks in Belgrade, after which our President stated that he had the opportunity to talk to someone extremely well acquainted with the situation in this part of the world and an extraordinarily prepared interlocutor. Taking their personal relationship into account, but also the importance of enhancing the ties between Serbia and the United States, we have reason to expect that a meeting between the two presidents will be organized in the foreseeable future. I am sure that the nature and dynamics of the relations between Serbia and the United States will be influenced by the fact that Ambassador Marko Djuric now represents us in Washington, whose presence at President Biden's inauguration ceremony is an important signal and, I believe, a harbinger of positive developments in bilateral relations between our two countries.

How would you describe our country's relations with Moscow, Brussels and Beijing?

Russia is our traditional friend and that friendship goes beyond merely political ties. These are deep spiritual, cultural and civilizational bonds, and it is only natural that we have a mutual interest in improving those ties, even though they are at a very high level. We have a relationship with the People's Republic of China which is, in addition to the sincere iron-clad friendship between our peoples and high political representatives, based on deep trust and mutual support. Full membership of the European Union is Serbia's strategic orientation that all our friends are aware of, but our country does not forget its friendships, but strengthens and promotes them instead, and approaches all with honesty and no ulterior motives. In this context, we do not seek any preferential treatment, but only the right to freely and independently make decisions about our future and relations with all who respect us. 

Could Serbia pursue a different foreign policy than the one it is pursuing at the moment?

It is always possible to have a different policy, just look at the foreign policy of Serbia ten, twenty or thirty years ago, examine the results at that time and you will realize how irretrievably expensive that policy turned out to be. Whether a policy is right, at either foreign or domestic level, is measured through its results and effect on the lives of citizens and the fate of the entire state.
Our foreign policy priorities are not being defined on a whim, but are instead the result of a serious and deep examination of our complex position and strategic thinking about ways to improve it. Today, Serbia has a better international reputation and credibility than two decades ago, and the main reason for that is that our results have shown how serious and responsible we are as a country. That kind of credibility is not achieved by trickery, but only by hard and well-thought-out work on oneself. And I need to emphasize on this occasion as well that the main inspiration for such an attitude towards politics, the state and its future comes from none other than President Aleksandar Vucic. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I have the opportunity on a daily basis to see the level of appreciation and respect President Vucic enjoys beyond the borders of our country.


When can we expect the vacant posts of Serbian ambassadors and consuls across the globe to be filled?

That is one of the main tasks for 2021. This will be a year of reinvigoration and I believe also rejuvenation of Serbian diplomacy. Our country, given its size, has a fairly extensive diplomatic network, which provides it with great opportunities for deepening political and economic relations with countries in all parts of the world. But we need more fresh and energetic staff, people who will be the most honourable representatives of a modern and dynamic Serbia. There are such people in Serbia, and we do need a serious rejuvenation, in order to avoid wide generation gaps in our personnel, and to lay the foundations of a modern career diplomacy.


How would you describe your relationship with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic?

President Vucic and I are, in addition to having close and friendly relations, by virtue of the work we do and our constitutional competencies, the closest collaborators in the realization of Serbia's foreign policy goals. This allows me to talk to him often, and on many occasions learn a lot of new and important things. President Vucic is a man who inspires people around him with his strategic and visionary approach to politics, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to be part of his closest team of associates over the years, and to have had him as a kind of political mentor. In any case, his vision of Serbia as a modern, progressive and prosperous state, which independently and on its own will decides on its destiny, is my wish as well and key motivation for political engagement. For only such Serbia is a country that its own citizens, as well as Serbs beyond our borders, can confidently rely on, while also being an inspiration to the entire region.

Source: Politika


News

President Vucic: Serbia is the first in Europe in terms of growth

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic pointed out that Serbia is the first in Europe in terms of economic growth, which will be officially confirmed at the end of March, and that this was possible owing to the reform measures taken since 2014 and the rapid opening of the country after the first wave of corona virus.

The President pointed out that Serbia had a growth of 5.2 percent in the first quarter, while the Eurozone was at minus 3.2 percent, in the second quarter Serbia had a growth of minus 6.3 percent, while the Eurozone was at minus 14.7 percent, and in the third quarter, when the Eurozone was at minus 4.3 percent, Serbia's figure was only minus 1.4 percent.
Vucic stated that Montenegro, for example, recorded as much as 26 percent minus in the third quarter.

Furthermore, the President emphasized that hospitals were built and renovated in our country, and that two hospitals were built from the ground up in just four months.

He said that the state made significant efforts to procure respirators, masks, gloves, protective suits, medicines, everything that was needed, and pointed out that work was being done on 10 general hospitals throughout Serbia, adding that all these were major achievements that were only possible owing to the success of the 2014 reforms, the enactment of the Labor Law, which yielded excellent results, and also through fiscal consolidation measures.


"These are unprecedented results for Serbia. Was Serbia ever before the first in Europe in terms of growth rate? We will get the results on 31 March that will confirm that Serbia is number one in Europe. All that was possible thanks to people who believed in difficult changes", Vucic said.

According to the President, this year, as many as six highways will be built in Serbia at the same time, and in this regard, he noted that Bulgaria has announced that the highway from our border to Sofia will be completed by the end of the year, after which it will be possible to use motorway to travel to Istanbul, which is very important to ensure that our country is on a transport route.

President Vucic emphasized that in 2020, the so-called year of corona, our country had a net inflow of foreign direct investment amounting to EUR 2.9 billion net, and three billion gross, which means that many foreign companies such as Toyota Tires, Boysen, ZTF and Brose have invested in Serbia even in this year of crisis.

The President said that Serbia has the highest average wages in the region, amounting to 511 or 512 euros, and that in February, due to the January increase, the average wage will be 535 or 536 euros, and that only in Belgrade in the last seven years the average wage increased by 180 euros or 40 percent.


That President said that Serbia was fourth in the region in terms of salaries before, and that today we are officially the first, and that the difference in relation to other countries will only increase faster. He also pointed out that the employment rate is growing in Serbia as well as that our public debt increased less than in most European countries. This is illustrated by the data that in Italy the public debt surged to 156 percent, in Germany to 87 percent, in France to 114 percent, in Croatia to 88 percent, while in Serbia it is at 57 percent.

The Serbian President announced that by Sretenje, 15 February, an additional package of assistance to the economy will be earmarked, and as he explained, it will be a new capital injection for companies, the trade, entrepreneurs, small, medium and large enterprises which, as he said, concerns 1,052,000 people within that system.

Vucic specified that it will most likely be help in the form of two or three payments amounting to half a minimum wage each, and that there will also be sectoral aid for tourism, hotel owners, travel agencies, guides, for bus carriers, through another half minimum wage payment.

The President added that efforts will be made to extend the guarantee schemes as well, which proved to be excellent, amounting to 1.5 billion, and this time, through the same system, two more portions amounting to 500 million each could be provided.

Vucic said that the first agreements with DFC worth 300 to 400 million dollars are expected in seven days.

He also stated that the state will endeavour to help pensioners further, in addition to increasing pensions by 5.9 percent in January, which will be reflected in their first checks in February, and added that pensioners should by March receive symbolic aid in the form of packages with vitamin C, D and zinc, which, as the President said, are small things, but they reflect the state's care and efforts made to protect health.

The President announced that negotiations on the procurement of the Chinese vaccine would be completed in the next seven to eight days, after the first quantities of the Pfizer and Sputnik V vaccines have arrived in Serbia, and pointed out that the Chinese vaccine was of exceptional quality, but probably the most expensive, which is why he wrote to the Chinese President and asked for a discount for our country.
Vucic thanked the Americans for deciding to sell the vaccine to our country and noted that no one in the region other than Serbia has received it, except for the small quantity that Albania got.

He pointed out that our state relied on itself and its own capacities, and that our state leadership anticipated that vaccines within the European COVAX plan would arrive late.

The President rejected the claims about bad results of Serbia in the fight against the corona virus and stated that our country has recorded the lowest corona virus mortality rate in the region.

He presented statistical information indicating that Slovenia had 144 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, North Macedonia 126, Bosnia and Herzegovina 123, Bulgaria 115, Montenegro 115, Hungary 110, Croatia 107, Romania 85, and Serbia 51.

"The mortality rate in the region is as follows: Bulgaria 3.9, Bosnia and Herzegovina 3.7, Hungary 3.11, North Macedonia 3.03, Romania 2.48. Slovenia 2.15, Croatia 1.99, Montenegro 1.4, and Serbia 1.0. This can be seen in the graphs and is no fabrication", the President stressed.

He said that the state will fight for vaccines, and that only Serbia, in the Western Balkans, received significant quantities of vaccines, other than a smaller quantity that Albania received, and added that in one day since the registration for vaccination opened, as many as 63,000 persons have registered.

President Vucic expressed his belief that the year ahead will be better than the previous one as well as that the corona virus will be defeated through vaccination of citizens.

Belgrade,
12 January 2021
 


News

3 January 2021

Every Serb in the diaspora is potentially a lobbyist

Our compatriots living abroad are one of the great potentials that the state has not recognized in the right way so far, which is why a different approach is needed to the issue of how to strengthen our diaspora and use the good will of people who are potential lobbyists for the interests of Serbia and the Serbian people, Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said.

"When it comes to Serbs in the diaspora, and especially in the region, this issue has been a kind of an unattended crop which requires a lot of work, and even when a lot is done at once this is not apparent immediately ", Minister Selakovic stated in an interview with Tanjug.

He emphasized that the appointment of the Director of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region for the first time after almost seven years since this body was formed within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows that it is one of the priorities of the Ministry he is at the helm of.

Selaković notes that intensive efforts have been long underway on forming a plan to make the diaspora more visible both outside the borders of Serbia and in the mother country itself.

"Every person in the diaspora is a potential lobbyist for the interests of our country and people, and we need to find the right way to use that", he said.

That much can be done in that regar Selakovic illustrates with the fact that only in Switzerland, in 24 cities, there are Serbian cultural and artistic associations which amounts to more than 3,000 young people who get together in order to preserve our tradition, culture, the Serbian language and history.

"If they were able to set up such associations in 24 cities, it speaks volumes about the enthusiasm of these people. There is so much enthusiasm, energy and love in these people. We need to explore ways to help them and use their good will and potential", the Minister points out.

He also cites the example of an emigrant family in Canada, the Varaklic family from southwestern Serbia, who sends Christmas packages for children in the Raska region every year. He adds that they have so far donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-governmental organizations for those needs alone, but he says that we do not see that here.

"The state does not recognize this, and these are people who gained success as entrepreneurs working in a distant country, who can be serious lobbyists for Serbia, for Serbian interests, someone who represents us in the best possible way", Minister Selakovic said.

Minister Selakovic also pointed out that Arnaud Gouillon has been appointed as head of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region and described him as a man of extraordinary energy, great love for the Serbian people, which he showed in his engagement towards Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, where they were seriously endangered.

"By doing so, he showed and set an example to many of our compatriots of what an individual can do. And when one such individual focuses energy, enthusiasm and love for people, on work done within the state administration system, I think that the preconditions have been created for such activities to yield good results", Minister Selakovic said.

 

Source: Tanjug


News

2 January 2021

Minister Selakovic: New ambassadors will be appointed this year, but the goals remain the same

This year, Serbia could finally have Ambassadors and Consuls General appointed to about a third of the currently vacant positions in the country's diplomatic and consular missions in the world, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic is convinced that most of these positions will be filled, as he points out, by the best possible people.

"In the next year, I am convinced that the majority of these vacancies will be filled", Selakovic told Tanjug, emphasizing that the work is being done gradually, because the state wants to show that is has a quality staff who will represent Serbia's interests in the best possible way.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy reminded that in a number of diplomatic missions, the four-year mandate of Ambassadors and Consuls General has already expired, so that the procedure for appointing new ones will follow, after their recall.

One of the "vacant" spots is the post of the Serbian Ambassador to China.

"We are working hard to find the best possible solution for our new Ambassador to China and as we appointed one of the best people in the state system as Ambassador to the United States, who, I am sure, will perform his duties in the best possible way, I am convinced that it will be the same for the Ambassador in Beijing", Selakovic said.

The Minister, who took over the foreign policy sector in the Government a little over two months ago, points out that circumstances in the world, as well as Serbia's position in it, have changed, but that Serbia's foreign policy goals do not change: the country remains strategically committed to European integration and, while pursuing the EU path, it will also strengthen traditional friendships with Russia and China, as well as promote and strengthen new partner relations with the United States.

"Relations in the region, good-neighborly relations, regional cooperation are also important for Serbia, because this fits into the set of requirements on the European path. But, even regardless of the European path, it is always important who you live next to, who you live with, what your neighbors are like and what the relations are like in the neighborhood", Minister Selakovic said.

He also points out that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija is of inestimable importance, it being the main national and state issue for Serbia and the Serbian people.

"When I say that circumstances are changing, but not the goals - the EU and European integration was our goal seven years ago as well, but look at what our room for maneuver was then, in terms of economic aspects, and look at it today. Circumstances changed, and then you adjust your actions to these changed circumstances, to the best extent possible", Minister Selakovic said.

He reminds that foreign policy priorities for 2021 were also outlined by the President of the Republic, and that maintaining peace and stability in the region is the absolute priority.

"Only in a peaceful and stable region of the Western Balkans and Southeast Europe can Serbia thrive economically, culturally and scientifically - in every respect. Peace and stability in the region  are “sine qua non” without which there is no development and progress. Serbia has acted, is acting and will act as a factor that stabilizes the entire region and maintains peace in the region, showing that it is the region that benefits everyone the most", Minister Selakovic said.

Relations in the region have always been complex, and the region, Minister Selakovic noted, is to our great regret, burdened with issues that we cannot have a bearing on, and which concern
the past.

Serbia's approach is to seek room to influence what is happening today and what will happen
happen in the future.

In this context, he states that the so-called "mini-Schengen" initiative for market unification of the region, which originated from Aleksandar Vucic and was met with a positive response from the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia, is one of the opportunities to do much more for the region.

"To show how much more we can do if we act together and if we seek our common denominators, and not what separates and divides us ", Selakovic points out.

When it comes to relations with the United States, Selakovic said that one should not expect the great powers to change their positions the way we would like, want or imagine, but that it is important that the Ambassador in Washington, Marko Djuric, also emphasized that his task, among other things, will be to make efforts to change the climate in bilateral relations with the United States - the most important country in the world, as our lacking communication with them in the past seriously affected the position of the Serbian people and Serbia.

"I am convinced that Djuric will work seriously on that, together with President Vucic, Prime Minister Brnabic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and contribute to a large extent to changing that climate", Minister Selakovic said.


He points out that it is extremely important for Serbia to promote its partner relations with the United States to a higher level.

"This is a country with which we cooperate closely in many areas and a country with which we must strive, and not give up in doing so, to find what we have in common, our common ground and good examples of our cooperation in the past, and to create space for such cooperation in the future as well", Minister Selakovic concluded.

Source: Tanjug
 


News

29 December 2020

President Vucic: Serbia to remain on the course of a winning policy of stability

Preservation of peace, taking care of the health and better living standard are key for Serbia in 2021, underlined President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic, convinced that even though the completion of this ambitious and by no means easy task will be anything but straightforward, best results can be achieved by working in concert with the Government, while ensuring security and a future of certainty for the citizens.

The President said that Serbia has set for itself great and ambitious goals for the next year, notwithstanding the complex international and regional circumstances, and that it will endeavour to fully preserve peace and stability in the region and the country, while safeguarding the vital national and state interests.

"Serbia will remain on the course of a winning policy - the policy of stability", President Vucic said and stressed that our country remains on the European integration path and that it will carefully foster its friendship with Russia and China, while building a friendship with the United States as well.

According to the President, Serbia will continue to pursue a winning policy, with the country itself as a top priority, i.e., a policy that will enable Serbia to continue being one of the top three countries in Europe in terms of growth rate in the next two years.

A precondition for that, the President noted, is to crack down on criminal groups, but also to ensure even bigger investments in the police and army forces.

"Serbia is the country that recorded the highest growth in Europe in 2020", the President pointed out at the annual press conference and added that he expects to conclude a new arrangement with the IMF, as well as that Serbia, by the end of next year or early 2022, will raise its credit rating to an "investment" one, which will put our country's rating on par with the most developed EU countries.

As the greatest success in 2020, Vucic noted that Serbia will end the year with the highest growth rate in Europe, which, as he said, is expected to be from minus 0.75 percent to minus one.

"I am proud to be the President of a country that is the European champion in terms of GDP",  Vucic pointed out and added that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also pleased with Serbia's success.


According to President Vucic, this result will encourage Serbia to accelerate its European path, while continuing friendships with those who did not turn their backs on Serbia when it was at its darkest hour, namely Russia and China.

The President pointed out that the activities to attract foreign investors will continue, then that work will be done on investments in agriculture, primarily the food industry, new machinery, and digitalization of agriculture.

President Vucic also emphasized that the goal is for salaries in the public sector to average between 560 and 570 euros by the end of the year. Only in Belgrade, the average salary would be around 700 euros. 

President Vucic reminded that the salaries of health care workers will increase by five percent from January 1, while the salaries of others in the public sector will increase by 3.5 percent and an additional 1.5 percent as of April 1, while corporal, private first class and non-commissioned officer army ranks will get an increase of an additional 10 percent. He noted that the minimum wage will be increased by 6.6 percent and so will pensions from January 1, by 5.9 percent, with the plan that the average pension amounts to 270 euros by the end of 2021. The President especially pointed out investments in health care, reminding that two new covid hospitals have been opened and that the renovation and construction of health facilities continues throughout Serbia, while stressing that Serbia is by far the first in the region in terms of hospitalized persons per 100,000 citizens, which is why it has recorded a low mortality rate , and also that Serbia this year has been among the top three countries in the region according to the number of PCR tests performed.

Speaking about tourism, the President said that, next year, efforts will be made on the development of the Danube basin region, from Apatin to Kladovo, that the Ovcar-Kablar Gorge will be developed, as well as our mountain centers.

Discussing the field of culture and information, President Vucic said that the implementation of the media strategy and the completion of the reconstruction of the National Theater in Subotica are important for next year, and he announced investments in museums, especially emphasizing the relocation of the History Museum to the train station building. He also stated that the floor heating in the Church of Saint Sava will be completed next year.

He pointed out that the state will continue to take care of our citizens in Kosovo and Metohija, that no one can forbid Serbia to help its people, and that Serbia will not give up on helping our people.

As he emphasized, Serbia is ready to send medicines and vaccines to the Albanian population as well, and pointed out that in the upcoming period our country will pursue a policy of peace in the region and will endeavour to cooperate with Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica and others.
 


News

Serbian Prime Minister the first PM in Europe to receive a Covid-19 vaccine

Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Ana Brnabic received today the first vaccine against the coronavirus made by Pfizer company, at the Torlak Institute of Virology, Vaccines and Sera.

Brnabic, who is the first European Prime Minister to receive the vaccine, pointed out that this day may be the first since 6 March that we have a reason for a smile on our faces as it marks the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic in Serbia, but also in Europe and the world.

As Prime Minister and as someone who leads the COVID-19 Crisis Response Team, I felt obliged to be the first to receive the vaccine, to show that we believe in it, as well as in our institutions - the Medicines and Medical Devices Agency of Serbia and experts who worked round the clock to test the vaccine, she said.

Underlining that it was an honour to do this for her country and be the first to pave the way for all citizens, the Prime Minister said that she agreed with President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic that the two of them receive different vaccines, so he will most likely receive the next one that arrives, most probably the one produced by China.

At the moment we have the Pfizer-BioNTech consortium vaccine, and the vaccines from the Chinese Sinopharm are expected in the near future, as well as certain quantities of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

She expressed her belief that at the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second quarter of next year we will have the vaccine of the company AstraZeneca, and after that the vaccine manufactured by Moderna.

As we promised, all vaccines licensed in their countries and approved by relevant international agencies will be available to our citizens, and of course they will be tested by all of our agencies and institutes as well, the Prime Minister pointed out.

She said that prior to the vaccination of health care workers, Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar will also receive a vaccine shot as we endeavour to serve as an example and show how confident we are in the vaccines and institutions.

Brnabic pointed out that Serbia, not counting Great Britain, is the first country in Europe to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and the third to start a mass immunization and campaign for giving the vaccine - after Great Britain and Switzerland.

We achieved something very important and we will not stop even for a moment until the immunization of the population is completed, the Prime Minister said.

She specified that our country will receive another 16,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in January, as well as that together with other vaccines we will have a total of one million doses in January, and a total of approximately two million doses during the first quarter of next year.

There is a dynamic on which Pfizer delivers vaccines and it varies depending on the production, and this is the case with deliveries to both Serbia and all other countries worldwide. We expected to receive 10,000 doses from Pfizer-BioNTech in December, however 4,807 doses arrived, the Prime Minister explained.

Serbia demonstrated that it is able to fight and succeed if we all work as a team, Brnabic said and called on all not to see the beginning of vaccination as the end of the fight already, but to continue to apply all measures instead.

This is to be certain and to be able to help our health care workers, and once the immunity is acquired we will be able to slowly start taking off the masks in 2021, but until then we should not see this as a victory but as the beginning of the end, the Prime Minister concluded.

After the Prime Minister, vaccine shots were also administered to the Minister of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs and a member of the COVID-19 Crisis Response Team Darija Kisic Tepavcevic and to Predrag Kon who is also on the COVID-19 Crisis Response Team.

Furthermore, vaccine shots were also given to Head of the MMA Department for the Prevention and Control of Nosocomial Infections prof. Dr. Vesna Suljagic and academician Predrag Pesko, professor of Belgrade and Heidelberg universities and full member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

The first quantities of the vaccine arrived in Serbia on 22 December, and today they will be administered to patrons of nursing homes in Belgrade and Novi Sad.

Serbia is the first country in the region to receive a shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

In addition to procuring the vaccine among the first countries in the world, even before EU countries, Serbia is one of the rare countries that managed to build and open two covid hospitals in record time. The hospitals with 930 beds in Batajnica and 500 beds in Krusevac are a major contribution to the expansion of capacities and strengthening the health care system in the fight against coronavirus and, as President Vucic said, represent a monument of the future, that will talk about the accomplishments the state made in a short time.

Also, we recall that investments in health infrastructure have been large in Serbia, and since 2016, 80 health centers and clinics have been renovated, and works are underway on six large health centers. This way more than EUR 200 million was invested in the reconstruction, construction and equipping of hospitals and more than 300 million in the renovation of clinics and specialized hospitals, and many have already been completed, such as the University Children's Hospital Tiršova, and KBC Zemun nad KBC "Dragiša Mišović" hospitals.

The absolute priority of the Serbian Government is the successful completion of health infrastructure projects that are underway, but great attention is also paid to health workers,
whose salaries have, by 2020, been increased by 56.8% for specialist doctors, and 66.9% for
nurses, while significant funding is invested in the education of health professionals, as well as in equipment and working conditions.

Like other countries, Serbia has faced great challenges this year, most notably health challenges, and all factors in the state were focused on preventing the spread of the virus and safeguarding the lives and health of citizens. Serbia has faced these challenges better than many wealthier and more developed countries in Europe and the world.

Belgrade,
24 December 2020
 


REQUIREMENTS


REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY INTO THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA AS OF 20 DECEMBER

To prevent import of infectious disease onto the territory of the Republic of Serbia, as of 20 December 2020, individuals coming to the Republic of Serbia, shall be allowed to enter the Republic of Serbia solely provided they have a negative RT-PCR test to the virus SARS-CoV-2, not older than 48 hours, issued by a referential laboratory of the country they are coming from, that is the country they are entering the Republic of Serbia. Should there be a delay when entering the Republic of Serbia that cannot be attributed to the passenger but to an existence of an extraordinary occurrence that could not have been foreseen, avoided or discarded (delay/postponement of flight, bus or train departure, or similar event), then the test cannot be older than 72 hours when entering the Republic of Serbia.

Nationals of the Republic of Serbia and foreign nationals having either a temporary or permanent permit in the Republic of Serbia, and also members of diplomatic/consular staff and members of their families, when entering the Republic of Serbia, and who do not have a negative RT-PCR test to the virus SARS-CoV-2, issued by a referential laboratory of the country they are coming from, that is the country they are entering the Republic of Serbia, not older than 48 hours from the date the result has been issued, shall be ordered a measure of quarantine at home in a duration of 10 days. This measure shall cease to be valid provided the person to whom it was ordered obtains during the duration of the measure a negative RT-PCR test to the virus SARS-CoV-2 issued by a referential laboratory in the Republic of Serbia. The aforementioned individuals shall be served when entering the Republic of Serbia, at a passport check-point a written information – medical advice on how to abide by the measures of a quarantine at home in a 10-day period from the moment they passed the state border and to mandatory call on the relevant COVID health-care centre or a relevant public health institute in particular territory within 24 hours from crossing the state border by having them registered at the following address: www.e-zdravlje.gov.rs

A negative RT-PCR test to the virus SARS-CoV-2, not older than 48 hours, as a requirement to enter the Republic of Serbia, shall not apply to:

    foreign nationals transiting through the Republic of Serbia. Transit for foreign nationals is limited to a period not longer than 12 hours from the moment of entering the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
    crew and cabin crew of aircraft whose final destination is the Republic of Serbia;
    crew, personnel and passengers who are in transit, that is who are in transfer through international airports of the Republic of Serbia;
    accredited members of the staff of foreign diplomatic missions, consular posts and international organizations resident offices, as well as members of their families who are holders of special identity cards, that is identification documents issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Secretary General of the Government of the Republic of Serbia;
    minors up to 12 years of age, provided the parent, custodian or any other person accompanying the child has a negative RT-PCR test, if it is needed;
    foreign nationals who have either a temporary or permanent permit in the Republic of Serbia;
    members of foreign military, police and other security services who are transiting through the territory of the Republic of Serbia or who are coming to the Republic of Serbia for official purposes with prior notification;
    foreign nationals carrying out international transport, for the purposes of loading or unloading goods or for transportation of people in or through the Republic of Serbia, when it comes to crews of:


a) cargo motor vehicles transporting goods by international road traffic. In case of transit traffic, the latter is limited to a period not longer than 12 hours from the moment of entry in the Republic of Serbia;
b) cargo ships transporting goods to one of Serbian ports. In case of transit navigation on the international waterway on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, the latter shall be limited to a period not longer than 90 hours for ship formations and 60 hours for self-propelled watercrafts from the moment they entered the territory of the Republic of Serbia in case of upstream navigation, or for a period not longer than 72 hours for ship formations and 54 hours for self-propelled watercrafts from the moments they entered the territory of the Republic of Serbia in case of downstream navigation;
c) passenger inter-city or long-distance coaches, both in transit and in case the final or departing destination is the Republic of Serbia;
d) train formations and their accompanying crews;
e) humanitarian convoys arranged through diplomatic channels.

A negative RT-PCR test to the virus SARS-CoV-2, not older than 48 hours, as a requirement to enter the Republic of Serbia, on terms of reciprocity, shall not apply to:

    nationals from neighbouring countries from the border area who are carrying out field works and have farming land on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, who are duty-bound to have, when crossing the state border to carry out field works, a written proof of ownership on this land or a written statement by the owner of the land that the person in question is carrying out field works on his land;
    nationals from neighbouring countries who are residing in the border area but are employed in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, issued by their employer from the Republic of Serbia a document certifying their employment.
 


STATEMENT

STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

On the occasion of 10 December, the international Human Rights Day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia reaffirms its commitment to the principles and values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on this day in 1948.

The principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been the foundation for the development of international law in this field, and of the international system for the promotion and protection of human rights, as a unique achievement of modern civilization. It is incumbent upon us today to safeguard and strengthen the international system ensuring respect for human rights, to develop human rights standards, control the implementation of commitments, and also to continue cooperating with international and regional institutions on the protection of human rights.

Serbia is fully committed to the universal values of human rights and implementing in practice the international legal instruments relating to human rights. Our continued cooperation with the Human Rights Council mechanisms in the framework of the United Nations, with the Council of Europe and the mechanisms of the OSCE human dimension, represents an important segment of activities carried out by all state authorities, thus demonstrating our consistent commitment to the implementation of international human rights standards.

The international Human Rights Day is an opportunity to point out once again that Serb and other non-Albanian population is being deprived of its rights in Kosovo and Metohija and to call again on the international community to ensure the respect for the guaranteed international human rights norms and contribute to creating conditions for the return of internally displaced persons and giving them back their usurped property.  


President meets the ambassadors

President meets the ambassadors of the EU member states accredited to Serbia and the head of the European Union Delegation

The President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today the ambassadors of EU Member States accredited to Serbia and the Head of the EU Delegation Sem Fabrizi in the Palace of Serbia, to talk to them about topics such as dynamics of the accession negotiations between Serbia and EU, stability in the region, regional projects, as well as the Economic and Investment Plan presented by the European Commission together with the Enlargement package.
President Vučić once again confirmed that cooperation with the European Union and fully-fledged membership of Serbia remain one of the key foreign policy priorities of our country. He particularly emphasised that in this respect Serbia is honestly dedicated to further and deeper reforms, approaching them with responsibility and seriousness, and that it tries to adopt and apply the best practice through cooperation with institutions of the EU and its member states.

"Serbia will continue being dedicated to the promotion of peace and stability in the region, by improving bilateral relations with neighbours, and by strengthening regional cooperation while respecting all concluded agreements", President Vučić stated, adding that the European future of the Western Balkans is of utmost importance for both stability of the entire region and security and further prosperity of the EU.

Ambassadors pointed out that declarations on the common regional market and the Western Balkans green agenda, which were signed by Serbia and all leaders of the region, received a warm welcome in Brussels and EU Member Stated, and that good and solid connectivity and integration of the region largely facilitates the cooperation of the very Union with the Western Balkans in all areas of joint interest.

"As much as 70% of foreign investments come from the countries whose representatives are sitting here today", Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Sem Fabrizi said, adding that Serbia can rest assured the EU will continue supporting and investing in the Serbian economy. While Covid-19 has put all economies under stress, Serbian economy has resisted and proved its resilience.  With the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, the EU will remain Serbia's strongest partner for economic recovery which will support infrastructures, green and digital transition. We welcome the announced reforms in the areas of rule of law, including judiciary reforms and media freedom. This is precisely the base for acceleration of the accession process and we encourage the new government to keep working and implementing in this direction", Fabrizi said.

President Vučić pointed out that Serbia highly appreciates that the EU, despite numerous challenges it is facing has managed to preserve the enlargement issue on its agenda, especially through the recent adoption of a new, changed methodology of the negotiation process.

"In this respect, we expect from the EU that Serbia's accession negotiation dynamics follows and values our reform efforts", President Vučić said pointing out that Serbia is ready to continue working with its European partners on implementation of the reforms and numerous joint projects.

President Vučić particularly noted that Serbia welcomes the Economic and investment plan presented by the EC together with the Enlargement package, and expressed our country's readiness to continue working with the partners in the region on the implementation of this Plan so as to improve the economic potential of the region and achieve better infrastructure connection, which would bring us closer to the single European market.

"In this context, we hope the Multiannual financial framework 2021-2027 will be adopted soon, because that will mean a possibility to use funds designed for reform implementation in Serbia and in the region", President Vučić said, reiterating that Serbia remains on its European path with an honest faith in cooperation with the European partners.

"2020 has been an extremely difficult year for all, especially the impact of COVID–19. When I look at new Government's commitment to implement reforms, the Economic and Investment Plan of the EU, the new methodology and increased cooperation to fight COVID-19, I see 2021 with a much more favourable perspective for progressing the enlargement", Fabrizi concluded.

President Vučić also pointed out that Serbia is prepared to work intensively with the EU Member States on finding an adequate response to the new challenges, such as COVID-19 pandemic.

Belgrade, 8th December 2020
 


Travel Advisory

Covid19 – Travel Advisory

16.11. 2020.
Citizens of the Republic of Serbia and foreign nationals with temporary or permanent residence in the Republic of Serbia arriving from the states with unfavorable epidemiological situation, i.e. from:

• Republic of Croatia
• Montenegro
• Bosnia and Herzegovina
upon passport control will be handed out written information on their obligation to report to the appropriate COVID out-patient clinic or relevant medical institution for public health in the territory they reside in, within 24 hours of the crossing of the state border.

They should report to the COVID out-patient clinic or medical institution for public health via the following web-site: www.e-zdravlje.gov.rs.

The following individuals shall be exempted from this obligation:

• Accredited members of foreign diplomatic/consular missions and offices of international organizationс as well as members of their families, holders of special identity cards i.e. ID documents issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the General Secretariat of the Government;
• Individuals from border areas who perform agricultural works and own agricultural land in the territory of the Republic of Serbia. On crossing the state border, they will be obliged to produce a proof of ownership of the agricultural land or the statement of the land owner certifying that the said person farms their land;
• Individuals residing in border areas employed in the territory of the Republic of Serbia submitting proof of employment issued by their employer;
• Flight and cabin crew on aircraft whose final destination is the Republic of Serbia;
• Crew members engaged in international transport in order to take over or unload goods or to transport individuals to, or through the territory of the Republic of Serbia, in case of crews of:
1.
1. Freight motor vehicles in international road transport. In case of transit, it shall be limited to a period not exceeding 12 hours from the time of entry to the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
2. Cargo ships transporting goods to one of the domestic ports. In case of transit navigation on international waterway in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, it shall be limited to a period not exceeding 90 hours for ship compositions and 60 hours for self-propelled vessels from the time of entry to the territory of the Republic of Serbia in case of upstream navigation i.e. period not exceeding 72 hours for ship compositions and 54 hours for self-propelled vehicles from the time of entry into the territory of the Republic of Serbia in case of downstream navigation;
3. Commercial bus lines and international bus passenger transport, both in transit or in case the Republic of Serbia is the final or starting destination;
4. Railway carriages and train crew, and
5. Humanitarian convoys agreed through diplomatic channels.

The entry of foreign citizens to the Republic of Serbia has been regulated as follows in order to prevent spreading of contagious diseases to the country's territory:

- foreign citizens entering the Republic of Serbia from:

  Republic of Bulgaria
  Romania
  Republic of Croatia

are allowed to enter the Republic of Serbia if they have a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours, issued by the referent national laboratory of the country they are coming from, i.e. entering the territory of Serbia from.

The following categories of foreign citizens are exempted from the afore-mentioned conditions when entering the Republic of Serbia from one of these four countries:
1. foreign citizens transiting through the territory of the Republic of Serbia. Transit for foreign citizens shall be limited to the period of up to 12 hours from the time of entry to the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
2. foreign citizens who transited for no longer than 12 hours through Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of Bulgaria, Romania and the Republic of Croatia;
3. foreign citizens with a leave to stay or permanently settle in the Republic of Serbia;
4. crews on freight motor vehicles in international transport road traffic. In case of international freight transit by road traffic, the same shall be limited to a period of up to 12 hours from the time of entry into the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
5. flight crew and cabin crew on aircraft with the Republic of Serbia as end destination, or transiting via international airports in the Republic of Serbia;
6. accredited staff members of foreign diplomatic and consular missions and international organizations' offices, including their family members holding special identity cards, i.e., identification documents issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the General Secretariat of the Government;
7. children of up to 12 years of age, if the parent, legal guardian or a person from the family household who is accompanying the child has a negative PCR test not older than 48 hours;
8. foreign citizens carrying out international transport activities, retrieving or unloading goods, or for the purpose of transport of persons to or through the Republic of Serbia, applicable to the crews of:
- freight motor vehicles in international road traffic. In case of transit, the same shall be limited to the period of up to 12 hours from the time of entry to the territory of the Republic of Serbia;
- cargo ships transporting goods to one of the domestic ports. In case of transit sails along the international waterway in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, the same shall be limited to a period of up to 90 hours for ship compositions and 60 hours for self-propelled vessels from the time of entry into the territory of the Republic of Serbia for upstream navigation, or limited to a period of up to 72 hours for ship compositions and 54 hours for self-propelled vessels from the time of entry into the territory of the Republic of Serbia for downstream navigation;
- shuttle buses and buses carrying out international transport of passengers, both in case of transits and when the Republic of Serbia is both their final and departure destination;
- railway vehicles and train crews;
- humanitarian convoys arranged through diplomatic channels.
9. citizens of neighbouring countries from small-border areas cultivating land or being in possession of agricultural land in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, who are required, when crossing the state border in order to perform agricultural works, to have on them a proof of ownership of the agricultural land or a statement of the owner of an agricultural land confirming that the person in question is carrying out agricultural works at the owner's land, on the condition of reciprocity.
10. citizens of neighbouring countries living in small-border areas who are employed in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, to whom the employer issued a document as a proof of work engagement, on the condition of reciprocity.


Foreign citizens entering the territory of the Republic of Serbia from other destinations (other than Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia) are allowed to enter the Republic of Serbia in line with the hitherto procedure, i.e. they are not obliged to have a negative PCR test.
 

 

 


INVITATION TO TENDER FOR THE PROVISION OF REAL ESTATE SALES SERVICES

INVITATION TO TENDER FOR THE PROVISION OF REAL ESTATE SALES SERVICES – THE SALE OF DIPLOMATIC REAL ESTATE IN NEW YORK (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA), TOKYO (JAPAN), BONN (GERMANY), AND BERNE (SWITZERLAND)

- Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Slovenia, and the Republic of Serbia – as the sole Successor States to the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (hereinafter “the SFRY”) – and the co-owners of diplomatic and consular property of the SFRY, as the previous title owner, hereby issue an invitation to tender for the provision of the service of brokering the sale of the following immovable property :

a) Permanent Mission of the SFRY to the UN, New York, USA (854 Fifth Avenue, N.Y. 10065); additional indicative data: block 1391, Lot 6, site area 3,600 sq. ft./30 x 120, gross living area 16,125 sq. ft, est. 1910;

b) Residence of the Permanent Representative of the SFRY to the UN, New York, USA (730 Park Avenue, N.Y. 10021); additional indicative data: Apt. 16/17B, cooperative interest, 718/30.000 shares, block 1385, Lot 37, project name: Park 71st St. Corp., gross living area above grade 4,294 sq. ft., Act. Age: 1929;

c) Embassy and residence of the SFRY in Tokyo, Japan (7-24, 4-chome, Kitashinagawa Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo); additional indicative data: land 316-37 Kita Shinagawa 4-Chome, Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, registered total area 995.27 m2 (app. 28 m x 30 m), building 316-37 Kita Shinagawa 4-Chome, Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, total floor area 1,725.70 m2 (size in building design document), time of completion 1965;

d) Embassy of the SFRY in Bonn, Germany (Schlossallee 5, 5300 Bonn 2), additional indicative data: land register Mehlem, entry no. 2,865, building and garden/courtyard area 5,441 m2, Schlossallee 1 and 5, floor area 1,565 m2 (ground floor, cellar, attic, underground garage with 14 parking spaces);

e) Embassy and residence of the SFRY in Berne, Switzerland (Seminarstrasse 5, 3006 Bern), additional indicative data: estate: nr. 199 Bern 4, land area: total 1,760 m2, building gross area 540 m2, garden area/courtyard 1,220 m2, construction year: 1978.

The Successor States underline the following:

- The service of brokering the sale of all the immovable property listed above will be awarded to a single real estate agency, which will be awarded the contract by the Successor States;

- The deadline for submitting tenders is 30 days from the day following the issuing of this invitation to tender, while the Successor States will notify tenderers of their decision within 50 days from the deadline for submitting tenders;

- Among the references qualifying them to successfully broker the sale of the listed property, interested tenderers will submit the following documents, and define their conditions for providing brokerage services. In their offer, the interested tenderers will include:

a) Documents certifying that the tenderer is a registered company;

b) Documents proving that the tenderer has offices, branches, or partner organisations in the countries where the property on sale is located, operating in the listed cities (New York, USA; Tokyo, Japan; Bonn, Germany; Bern, Switzerland);

c) Documents showing the tenderer’s turnover amounted to at least US$ 100 million  in the last three years;

d) Guarantee for the offer in the amount of US$ 50,000.00 (the guarantee will be returned to the tenderer upon the signing of the brokerage contract); 

e) Performance guarantee in the amount of US$ 100,000.00 (the performance guarantee will be returned to the tenderer upon the completion of the contract);

f) Evidence of financial and business solvency;

g) Evidence of technical and professional capacities and references proving the successful provision of brokerage services;

h) Certificate of no conviction of the tenderer/legal entity and its CEO, in accordance with the legal provisions of the country of the registered seat of the tenderer and permanent residence of its CEO;

- The period of validity of the tender shall be at least 90 days from the date of submission;

- Interested tenderers will specify their tenders as a brokerage fee, which is a percentage of the total gross sales price of the property listed above;

- The lowest brokerage fee shall be the decisive criterion in selecting the successful tenderer, provided that the tenderer meets all the above conditions;

- Interested tenderers will submit their tenders (in a sealed envelope, marked with the designation ‘Do not open’) by registered mail addressed to:

Stanislav Vidovič, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, SI-1001 Ljubljana, Prešernova cesta 25.

- The Successor States will provide appraisals of the market value of all the listed immovable property to the successful tenderer; the property’s appraised market value will represent the minimum asking price for the property concerned, unless otherwise decided by the Successor States;

- The sale of the immovable property will be conducted preferably by way of public auction or by any other method in accordance with the local real estate market practice for each immovable property concerned, as advised by interested tenderers in their tenders;

- The Successor States reserve the right not to select any tenderer, even if all conditions are met;

- The immovable property listed in this invitation to tender may be sold separately or not. Each Successor State must confirm the sale of each immovable property under the terms to be negotiated with the best offer/potential buyer prior to concluding the sale if the purchase price offered is below the appraised market value or the minimum asking price.

- Contact details for additional information: gp.mzz@gov.si or sekretariat.mzz@gov.si  

 

 

TENDER BOND (GUARANTEE)

Name of the bank:     
Place and date:     
Beneficiary (Contracting Authority): Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations in New York, 630 Third Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, N. Y. 10017, USA, representing the successor states of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Serbia
     
Guarantee No.     

In accordance with the Invitation to tender for the provision of real estate sales services – the sale of diplomatic real estate in New Yok (United States of America), Tokyo (Japan), Bonn (Germany), and Berne (Switzerland), dated ______________ for the following transaction: 1. Service of brokering the sale of immovable property listed above by a single real estate agency, which will be awarded the contract by the successor states of the former SFRY

for the needs of the Contracting Authority (beneficiary of this guarantee), the Tenderer _______________________________________________________________________ is bound - in order to prove seriousness of the Tender in this procurement procedure - to submit a bank guarantee amounting to USD 50,000.00 (fifty thousand 00/100).

The bank is bound to pay the sum indicated in the following cases:
a) if the Tenderer withdraws or changes the bid during the Tender validity period specified in the Tender (e.g. until the successor states of the former SFRY notify tenderers of their decision) or
b) if the Tenderer having been notified of the acceptance of its Tender during the Tender validity period:
• fails or refuses to conclude the contract in compliance with the provisions of the Instructions to Tenderers, or
• fails or refuses to submit the performance bond in compliance with the provisions of the Instructions to Tenderers.

We hereby undertake to be bound within 15 days upon the receipt of the first written claim of the Contracting Authority to pay to the Contracting Authority the abovementioned sum without requiring any additional argumentation, if it states in its claim that this sum belongs to it due to the occurrence of one or both of the above cases and states which case or cases occurred.

The claim invoking the bond shall be submitted to the bank and it shall contain:
1. an original statement of the Contracting Authority invoking the performance bond in compliance with the aforementioned paragraph and
2. the original of the Tender Bond No. _______ /_______.

This bond decreases with each, by this guarantee, realized payment.
This bond shall be valid until the Tenderer is selected in the aforementioned Tender procedure and (in case the whole or partial Tender is accepted) until the moment when the selected Tenderer concludes the contract with the Contracting Authority and submits to it the performance bond, but no later than until the expiration of the validity of the contract.

If we do not receive any claim from you regarding the payment of the guaranteed sum within 90 days from the deadline for submitting tenders, this guarantee ceases to be valid regardless of whether it has been returned.
This guarantee is not transferable.
Any disputes between the beneficiary and the bank shall fall within the jurisdiction of the competent court in New York City and are subject to law, valid in New York City.

Bank
(Seal and signature)


INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE FORM*: Tender Bond (Form B-1)

The Tenderer may submit equivalent suretyship insurance with an insurance company with the same content as defined in this sample.

 

PERFORMANCE BOND (GUARANTEE)

Name of the bank:     
Place and date:       
Beneficiary (Contracting Authority): Permanent Mission of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations in New York, 630 Third Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, N. Y. 10017, USA, representing the successor states of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, namely Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Serbia
     
Guarantee No.     


In accordance with the contract ______________________________________ (contract title, contract number, date), concluded between the beneficiary and the contractor __________________________________________ (name of the Contractor) for the performance of __________________________ (subject matter of the contract), in the time limit ____________ (date, days, months), in the quantity and quality, defined in the contract, the Contractor is bound to perform the following services:

Service of brokering the sale of immovable property listed above by a single real estate agency, which will be awarded the contract by the successor states of the former SFRY

On the Contractor’s request, we hereby undertake to be irrevocably and unconditionally bound by this guarantee to pay USD 100,000.00 (in writing one hundred thousand 00/100) within 15 days upon the receipt of your first written claim, if the Contractor does not fulfill his contractual obligations in agreed quality, quantity and time limits defined in the aforementioned contract. Our obligation is also valid in case the fulfillment of contractual obligations is only partial. 

The claim invoking the performance bond shall be submitted to the bank and it shall contain:
1. an original statement of the Contracting Authority invoking the performance bond in compliance with the previous paragraph, and
2. the original of the Performance Bond No. ________ /________.

This performance bond decreases with each, by this guarantee, realized payment.

This performance bond shall be valid at the latest until __________. After the expiry of this date, the bond shall be void. Our obligation expires automatically regardless of whether the bond has been returned.

If at any time during the validity of this bond the beneficiary agrees with the Contractor to extend the time limit for the execution of the awarded project, or in case the Contractor fails to fulfill the contractual obligations, the Contractor and the bank may reach a mutual agreement to extend the validity of this bond.

This bond is not transferable.

Any disputes between the beneficiary and the bank shall fall within the jurisdiction of the competent court in New York City and are subject to law, which is valid in New York City.


Bank
(Seal and signature)

INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING THE FORM*: Performance Bond (Form B-2)

The Tenderer may submit equivalent suretyship insurance with an insurance company with the same content as defined in the sample.
 

 

TENDERER INFORMATION SHEET

Tenderer's legal name
Tenderer's country of constitution
Tenderer's year of constitution
Tenderer's legal address
Tenderer's authorized representative (name, address, telephone numbers, fax numbers, e-mail address)
Eventual partner organizations in countries where the property for sale is located a) New York:
b) Tokyo:
c) Bonn:
d) Berne:
Tenderer's turnover by year (indicated in local currency and in EUR applying the reference rates of the European Central Bank - http://www.ecb.europa.eu/home/html/index.en.html)
2013:  2014:  2015:

Submission of tender guarantee using the attached Form B-1 (underline) yes no
Accept performance guarantee using the attached Form B-2 (underline) yes no
Evidence of financial and business solvency (underline) yes no
Evidence of technical and professional capacities and references proving the successful provision of brokerage services (underline) yes
no
Certificate of no conviction of the tenderer/legal entity and its CEO (underline) yes no
Period of validity of the tender (minimum taking in consideration Invitation to tender provisions – deadline for submitting tender 30 days following issuing of invitation and notification of decision within 50 days from deadline for submission of tenders = 80 days) (insert dd.mm.yyyy)
Brokerage fee
(in % of total gross sales price of immovable property)
Suggested method of sale for each immovable property a) Permanent Mission, New York:

b) Residence, New York:

c) Embassy and residence, Tokyo:

d) Embassy, Bonn:

e) Embassy and residence, Berne:

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INVITATION TO TENDER FOR THE PROVISION OF REAL ESTATE SALES SERVICES
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