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Selakovic: The situation in Kosovo and Metohija is far from normal and stable
 Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia H.E. Nikola Selaković at the meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the report on the work of UNMIK:
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Selaković: President Vučić won 7.3 times as many votes in the diaspora as in 2017

  Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković stated today that President Aleksandar Vučić had won 7.3 times as many votes in the diaspora in the elections on 3 April as in the 2017 elections ― an incredible rise and a sign of assured support for the diligent and hard work as well as for advocating for the interests of Serbia which had returned to the world and the European stage, rejoining the list of credible countries.

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Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic spoke by phone with state adviser and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
  Minister Selakovic said Serbia is proud of the steely friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership it has with China, stressing its readiness to further strengthen co-operation in all areas.
 
In particular, he noted that our excellent relations contribute to the friendship and co-operation between the two presidents, Aleksandar Vucic and Xi Jinping, stressing that it would be a great honour for us if we hosted President Xi in Serbia, when conditions are in place.
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Minister Selakovic had talks with the Ambassador of China
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic met with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China Chen Bo.
Minister Selakovic expressed satisfaction with the continuous strengthening of friendship, political dialogue at the high and top levels and the comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries.
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Meeting of President Vučić with representatives of the Chinese construction company "Power Construction Corporation of China Limited"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, met today with representatives of the Chinese construction company "Power Construction Corporation of China Limited". After the meeting, a Commercial Agreement was signed on the design and execution of works on the construction of the access road Gornji Milanovac – Takovo loop, as well as the Framework Agreement on the implementation of projects for the construction of bypasses around Pozega, Uzice, Loznica and the tunnel under the Kadinjaca pass. The contract and the agreement were signed by the representatives of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Public Enterprise "Roads of Serbia" and the company "Power Construction Corporation of China Limited". 

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Prime Minister Brnabic: 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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

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Meeting of the President of Serbia with the State Counselor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, met with the State Counselor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Wang Yi, with whom he discussed friendly and economic relations between the two countries, but also joint projects implemented by the Republic of Serbia and the People's Republic of China, which are worth almost eight billion euros.

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Steel friendship and strategic partnership between Serbia and China

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minister Selaković expressed satisfaction with the first bilateral visit of Minister Wang to Serbia, although the head of Chinese diplomacy had previously visited our country as a member of the delegations of the Chinese prime minister and president. This is also the first bilateral visit of the head of Chinese diplomacy to Belgrade after more than ten years. He emphasized that Serbia and China are bound by a steel friendship and a comprehensive strategic partnership, as well as mutual support in issues of essential national interest.

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Relations between Serbia and China have reached a new level
State Counsellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, Wang Yi, is on a two-day visit to Serbia. During the first day of the visit, he met with the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ivica Dačić.
 
At the meeting between Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and Minister Wang Yi, bilateral relations between the two countries were discussed, as well as ways and means of deepening and developing them. 
 
 
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Speech by The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic addressed the UN Security Council session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Telephone conversation of President Vučić and General Secretary of NATO

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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 marking of the Remembrance Day of all the victims and expelled Serbs in the armed operation "Storm" and said that Serbia remembers!

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Telegram of condolences to the head of Chinese diplomacy
22. July 2021.
 
Telegram of condolences to the head of Chinese diplomacy
 
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, sent a telegram of condolences to the State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China, Wang Yi, regarding the weather disasters and floods that hit that country, taking human lives and causing great material damage.
 
"On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and on my own behalf, I extend my deepest condolences to you and the families who have lost their loved ones", reads the telegram from Minister Selaković, in which he also expresses his conviction that the people engaged in the fight against this disaster will save numerous human lives and property.
 
In the telegram, Minister Selaković pointed out that Serbia sympathizes with China in these difficult moments and that, in the spirit of fraternal and steel relations, it is ready to provide support and assistance to Chinese friends in eliminating the consequences of the floods, in accordance with its capabilities.
 

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.
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Construction of factory for Sinopharm vaccines by the end of year
Prime Minister Ana Brnabic signed today, on behalf of our country, a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation for the production of the vaccine of the company Sinopharm in Serbia with a Chinese manufacturer and partner from the United Arab Emirates.
 
Brnabic pointed out that the signing of the Memorandum is the first concrete step towards the construction of a vaccine factory, which should be ready by the end of the year.
 
We have ambitious goals to build a factory for the production of vaccines by the end of the year, to work on filling in parallel and to have 10 million doses in Serbia by the end of the year, and to start a comprehensive production process soon after, she said.
 
According to her, today is an important day for Serbia, but also for the region, because we will have the vaccine closer, it will be more accessible and we will be able to continue to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
 
As she emphasised, this is the beginning of a wider cooperation between Serbia, China and the UAE in the field of biomedicine, bioinformatics and the use of artificial intelligence in pharmacy.
 
This is a continuation of the cooperation that we started during the difficult period of the COVID crisis, when we created two laboratories for PCR testing together, stated Brnabic.
 
She pointed out that the signing of the Memorandum was also the result of the visit of President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic to the UAE in March this year, when an agreement was reached on cooperation in the construction of the factory.
 
The Prime Minister expressed gratitude to Sinopharm for the cooperation during the COVID crisis, stating that Serbia bought four million vaccines from that company, and that 4.2 million were delivered to us, because 200,000 doses were donated, and some quantities were delivered earlier.
 
Brnabic once again appealed to the citizens to get vaccinated, emphasizing that Chinese vaccines are excellent, safe and traditional.
 
Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo assessed that the signing of the Memorandum is an important step forward in cooperation on joint production of Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 and a new beginning of cooperation between Serbia and China in the field of pharmaceutical industry.
 
She also stated that China is trying to fulfil President Xi Jinping's promise that the Chinese vaccine against coronavirus will be a global public product.
 
As she stated, the Chinese side provided and delivered more than 500 million doses and substances of the vaccine to more than 100 countries and international organizations.
 
We very much appreciate the fact that the government of Serbia provides assistance to other countries in the region in vaccination, and the Chinese side is ready to make joint efforts with Serbian partners and the UAE in order to build a factory as soon as possible, she said.
 
According to her, Serbia will not only have enough vaccines for its internal use, but will also be able to provide greater assistance to other countries in the fight against the pandemic.
 
 
Source: www.srbija.gov.rs 
Photo: www.srbija.gov.rs 

 


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.

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Meeting with the delegation of the "Shandong Hi-Speed Group" and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today with the delegation of the Shandong Hi-Speed Group headed by the Executive Director Meng Yan and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Chen Bo, to discuss the undergoing projects and potentials and plans for future cooperation.

President Vučić thanked the representatives of the company for the exceptional cooperation and emphasised that the development of infrastructure in Serbia remains one of the priorities whose implementation greatly contributes to the general growth of the economy and the inflow of investments into the country.

In that context, the interlocutors paid special attention to the project of building the Valjevo-Lajkovac expressway, as one of the most important segments on Corridor 11. The Executive Director of Shandong Hi-Speed Group, Meng Yan, promised that the works on this section will be completed by the end of November 2022, which is more than a year earlier than expected.

Shandong Hi-Speed Group has also expressed interest in the 110-kilometre Belgrade (Borča) -Zrenjanin and Zrenjanin-Novi Sad highway construction project, as well as in the bypass construction projects around Gornji Milanovac, Požega and Užice of which separate talks will be conducted.

Assessing the cooperation with the Chinese company as exceptional, the President especially thanked Ambassador Chen Bo for her great commitment to deepening and strengthening cooperation between Serbia and the People's Republic of China, and for her readiness to always make additional efforts for the largest and most demanding infrastructure projects in Serbia to obtain the highest quality implementation by top Chinese experts and contractors.

01st June 2021


Selakovic: Serbia is proud of its traditional friendship with China

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic met today with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China Chen Bo. Minister Selakovic said that Serbia was proud of the traditional friendship with China and the constant deepening of relations in all areas, which, as he emphasized, was raised to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership during the historic visit of the Chinese President to Serbia.

He pointed out that the relationship between the two Presidents, Xi and Vucic, greatly contributed to that. The Minister expressed satisfaction with the fact that we were continuously witnessing the iron-clad friendship between Serbia and China in our cooperation, which, as he emphasized, was further galvanized in the last year during the pandemic. In addition to providing assistance in medical equipment, laboratories and experiences of Chinese experts, China's assistance to Serbia has continued through support for immunization of our population, that is, the delivery of the vaccine of the Chinese company "Sinopharm", for which we are especially grateful, especially to President Xi, at a time when all countries in the world are struggling and facing difficulties in procuring vaccines, Minister Selakovic said.

Furthermore, Selakovic pointed out that he was very glad for and extremely proud of the agreement between Serbia, China and the United Arab Emirates on the construction of a factory for the production of vaccines by the Chinese company Sinopharm in Serbia. Minister Selakovic also noted with pleasure the excellent cooperation between the two countries at the multilateral level, especially mutual support in international organizations. China is one of our main pillars in the fight for Kosovo and Metohija, Selakovic said and expressed gratitude to China for its principled support and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia. The Minister emphasized that Serbia strongly supported the policy of "one China" and was consistently committed to respecting international law and adhering to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.

The Head of Serbian diplomacy also expressed satisfaction over the fact that excellent political relations and strategic partnership were reflected in the strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries. China is the most important trading partner of Serbia in Asia and the third in terms of the total exchange of Serbia with the world, the Minister pointed out and specified that, owing to the "Belt and Road" and "17 + 1" formats, economic cooperation has tripled in the previous five years. Serbia's exports to China have increased 15 times in the last five years, Selakovic said, adding that every effort would be made to further strengthen cooperation in this area, to which the participation of Serbia in the upcoming China-CEEC EXPO in Ningbo would significantly contribute. He also expressed satisfaction with the growth of Serbian exports to China in the first three months of this year and the real possibility that trade exchange would exceed four billion euros this year. We are also glad about the planned opening of the Chinese Cultural Center in Belgrade by the end of the year, Selakovic said, recalling that that the foundation stone was laid during the visit by Chinese President Xi to Belgrade in June 2016.

He expressed hope that this and other projects we were working on together, whose realization was expected in the coming months, were an opportunity for the realization of the second visit by President Xi to Serbia, which, as he emphasized, would be one of the biggest events and honours for our country and our people.

The Minister noted that our country also attached great importance to the development of cooperation in the field of science and technology, and that the project of the Serbian-Chinese Industrial Park in Borca was of special importance in the period ahead. Selakovic informed the Ambassador about the first electronic service being provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "e-Consulate", intended for foreign citizens, which would facilitate and speed up the submission of applications for work visas.

Bearing in mind that Chinese citizens were by far the most interested in this type of visa, with 9516 requests, the Minister pointed out that this electronic service was important both for Serbia and for numerous workers and engineers from China who were hired to perform works on infrastructure in our country.

21 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.

20 May 2021


Meeting with the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met today with the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Chen Bo, to discuss strategic cooperation between the two countries, as well as the existing and new infrastructure projects. President Vučić pointed out the exceptional dynamics in the cooperation between Serbia and China, based on mutual trust and respect, as well as on a stable economy and strategic planning aimed at long-term projects at the national and regional levels.

The President especially pointed out that the friendship between the two countries is based on consistent respect for the territorial integrity of Serbia and the policy of "one China", as well as on the fight to preserve the principles of international law, which is crucial for maintaining global stability. President Vučić noted that China is the third-largest trade partner of Serbia and that the investments of this country in Serbia are recording constant and strong growth.

The interlocutors also discussed details related to the commercial contract for the construction of the highway section from Požega to Boljare, which is an exceptional challenge for builders as it will be 107 kilometres long and will have 97 bridges and a large number of tunnels, which makes it extremely demanding. President Vučić and Ambassador Chen also discussed new infrastructure projects such as the construction of Sector C of the Belgrade bypass on the E-70/E-75 highway on the section Bubanj Potok-Vinča-Pančevo, as well as the construction of the Požarevac-Gradište-Golubac corridor.

The interlocutors also discussed the status of works on a large number of ongoing infrastructure projects. The President particularly expressed the expectation that after the already successfully accomplished large projects, there will be new investments such as projects of HBIS in Smederevo, Zidjin in Bor, Shangdong Linglong in Zrenjanin, Mint Automotive in Loznica and Mei Ta in Obrenovac. A special topic of conversation was one of the largest communal infrastructure projects for revitalization and construction of a sewerage network with a wastewater treatment plant in 65 local governments in Serbia, which will significantly respond to environmental challenges, but also improve the quality of life of Serbian citizens.

Ambassador Chen stated that the exceptional cooperation between Serbia and the People's Republic of China will continue at an even more intensive pace and that the focus of both countries will remain on the fight against the pandemic and economic growth, as well as on infrastructural and economic connections through a number of initiatives and projects.

President Vučić once again thanked Ambassador Chen Bo for her readiness to regularly discuss further improvement of cooperation between Serbia and China, as well as for her country's great help in the most difficult times for Serbia, emphasising the fact that the People's Republic of China has delivered 3 million vaccines of the company "Sinopharm", with which our country managed to immunise a large number of citizens and save many lives.

The President also expressed confidence that the President and great friend of our country Xi Jinping will visit Serbia again as soon as conditions allow, and that this visit will once again confirm the strength of friendship and mutual respect between Serbia and the People's Republic of China.

3rd May 2021


Serbia expects to inoculate over 37 percent of population by end of April

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo attended today at the Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport the reception of an airplane carrying a new batch of half a million doses of the coronavirus vaccine of the Chinese producer Sinopharm.

Brnabic stated on this occasion that the newly-arrived Sinopharm vaccines will help Serbia to accelerate the mass vaccination process and inoculate over 37 percent of its population by the end of April. She stated that with today's consignment, a total of three million doses of the Chinese vaccine have been delivered to our country, which enabled mass immunisation. Brnabic added that a total of over 4.5 million doses of all brands of vaccines have been delivered so far to Serbia. The Prime Minister pointed out that to date, approximately 1,950,000 citizens have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, which is 34 percent of adult citizens.

Brnabic said that Belgrade is the most successful in the mass immunisation process, stating that 61 percent of adults have been vaccinated with the first dose in the municipality of Stari Grad, 60 percent in the municipality of Savski Venac, and 59 percent in the municipality of Vracar.

We must speed up vaccination in other parts of Serbia in order to be fully safe at the end of June, she said and appealed to citizens who have not been vaccinated not to believe false news and anti-vaccination campaigns, which, as she stated, are being spread especially on social networks. We have 1,950,000 citizens vaccinated with the first dose, of whom the largest number received the Sinopharm vaccine, of which was the greatest amount.

What we see now as the calming down of the situation, the reduction in the number of those infected, primarily in Belgrade, is first and foremost thanks to the Chinese vaccine, the Prime Minister pointed out.

The Chinese Ambassador expressed her satisfaction with the fact that Chinese vaccines, of which three million doses have been delivered so far, contribute to the mass vaccination in Serbia.

26 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.

20th 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.

19 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.

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.

13 April 2021


500,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine delivered

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic welcomed today together with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Serbia Chen Bo a new consignment of 500,000 doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine at Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade. Brnabic pointed out in a statement to the press after the new delivery of half a million Chinese vaccines, that 2.5 million vaccines have been delivered to Serbia from the People's Republic of China alone.

Of all other vaccines we have somewhat less than a million, Brnabic added. She said that together with tomorrow's delivery of 106,420 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine we will have a total of 3.5 million vaccines. We paid for all the vaccines, as well as for all that we received through the COVAX programme. This delivery speaks enough about the partnership with the People's Republic of China and how much our partners from China and the company Sinopharm helped us that the mass immunisation campaign in Serbia go as planned, the Prime Minister pointed out. She described as encouraging the fact that we have 26 percent of the total adult population vaccinated with at least one dose, and 20 percent with two doses.

Our goal is to have around 40 percent of the adult population vaccinated with the first dose by the end of April, she underlined. Brnabic said that she is especially happy with the data, which she saw this morning and which is important for our country and the health system, that over 51 percent of the population in the age group between 65 and 74 are vaccinated. In the age group of over 75, we have 42 percent of those vaccinated. It is necessary to protect these two age categories, first of all, then the population category with chronic illness, in order to reduce the pressure on the health system, Brnabic explained.

China is the most populous country in the world. Domestic demand for vaccines is huge, but we believe that all countries in the world belong to one fateful community. Chinese companies are ready to provide as many vaccines as possible to other countries, said the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China. Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo pointed out that China, as well as Serbia, is conducting mass vaccination, during which 140 million doses of vaccine were given until yesterday.

The Chinese Ambassador expressed the hope that the new consignment of the Chinese vaccine will additionally help the process of building the "immunity wall" of Serbia.

Belgrade, 5 April 2021


Meeting with the Minister of Defense of the People's Republic of China

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic met today with Minister of National Defense of the People's Republic of China General Wei Fenghe discussing further intensification of dialogue and promotion of cooperation between the two countries in numerous areas, as well as readiness to further strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between Serbia and China.

President Vucic wished a warm welcome to Minister Fenghe and emphasized that this meeting would result in even more fruitful cooperation between our two countries. "We are convinced that this visit is another demonstration of the iron-clad friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership between Serbia and China, and also a sign of its deepening in all areas", President Vucic stressed and added that Serbia and its competent authorities were ready to work together with the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China on the further development of the overall relations between the two countries, especially in the field of military economic, military medical and military educational cooperation.

The collocutors agreed that the traditional friendship between our countries, but also the constant deepening of friendly relations, gained special momentum during the historic visit of the President of the People's Republic of China to our country in 2016, which raised it to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership. President Vucic reiterated his gratitude for China's help to Serbia during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially emphasizing that the continuity of dialogue and further intensification of cooperation between Serbia and China was preserved despite the pandemic.

The two interlocutors noted that one of the important characteristics of our strong bilateral relations was Serbia's participation in the mechanism of cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (17 + 1), as well as the Belt and Road initiative, to which the Republic of Serbia attached great importance and lent support. The Serbian President reiterated in particular the unwavering position of our country when it comes to supporting the policy of "one China" and added that he highly appreciated the consistent position of China regarding respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia.

President Vucic emphasized that he was pleased with the dynamic development of military cooperation and expressed Serbia's interest in its further intensification. The President pointed out in particular that Serbia was looking forward with great joy to a new visit by President Xi Jinping to Serbia when the conditions allow, after the normalization of epidemiological situation.

26 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.

24 March 2021


Sinopharm vaccine purchase contract signed

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić talked today via video link with the Sinopharm company management about the process of procuring vaccines, the construction of a Chinese vaccine factory in Serbia, but also about the construction and equipping of Serbian hospitals.

President Vučić thanked the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, the leadership of the Communist Party and the representatives of Sinopharm for their help in supplying vaccines in the most difficult moment. President Vučić pointed out that the largest number of citizens in Serbia were vaccinated with this vaccine and emphasised the importance of signing a new contract for 2 million new vaccines. He pointed out that Serbian experts gave a very high opinion on the quality and safety of the Sinopharm vaccine.

The Sinopharm Group Chairman, Liu Jingzhen, thanked the President and the citizens of Serbia for the trust placed in the company Sinopharm and added that since the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, Sinopharm, as the largest pharmaceutical company in China, has taken responsibility for fighting this disease. "Serbia is the first European country to approve the Sinopharm vaccine, and today we will sign a contract for the delivery of 2 million new doses. We appreciate the trust of citizens in our product and we are happy that we can provide the necessary support to the people in Serbia in the fight against the virus," said the Chairman of the Sinopharm Group, Liu Jingzhen.

The topic was also the construction, reconstruction and equipping of hospitals in Serbia. On this occasion, the Contract on the purchase of Sinopham company vaccines was signed, while the video-meeting and signing of the agreement were also attended by the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Chen Bo.

18th March 2021


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.


Meeting with the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met earlier today with the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Chen Bo, to discuss the upcoming visit of the Chinese Minister of Defence, the continuation of the vaccination process and the new factory that will produce the vaccine of the Chinese Sinopharm company, as well as the dynamics of works on the infrastructure projects engaging Chinese companies.

President Vučić reiterated his gratitude to friendly China and President Xi Jinping for their tremendous solidarity and assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to which the citizens of Serbia were among the first in the world to receive quality protection from this dangerous disease.

He also once again confirmed the exceptional trust of the citizens of our country in the Chinese vaccine, and thus in the Chinese state and its experts. In that context, during the talks, the interlocutors paid special attention to the project of building a new factory to produce vaccines of the Chinese company "Sinopharm" in Serbia, which would ensure long-term and strategic supply of vaccines and health protection of the population of Serbia and the region.

President Vučić and Ambassador Chen agreed that this factory will be built following the highest world standards in the field of technology for the vaccines' production, which will place Serbia among those countries that can be competitive in this area in a greatly demanding global market. President Vučić and the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China also discussed the progress of works on infrastructure projects in Serbia that engage Chinese companies.

It was stated that the projects follow the planned dynamics and that by the end of the year, two key infrastructure projects will be completed - the highway Preljina-Požega and the fast railway Belgrade-Novi Sad for speeds of up to 200 km per hour. The interlocutors also discussed the upcoming visit of the Minister of Defence of the People's Republic of China, which will be dedicated to talks on further improvement of bilateral relations in this area.

Belgrade, 16th March 2021


Vučić: Incredible progress in cooperation with China, exports increased 15 times

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met earlier today with the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China, Chen Bo, to discuss the cooperation between the two countries, which is, as he pointed out, based on the principles of sincere friendship, solidarity and respect. "We held today an important meeting and analysed the cooperation with the People's Republic of China. In the previous period, Serbia has made incredible progress in cooperation with China, increased exports as much as 15 times - not 15 per cent, but 15 times over", said President Vučić, adding that already a year ago, when the corona epidemic broke out in our country, Serbia had the great support of China, which supplied it with equipment, respirators, but also people who made two laboratories. "Last night I was particularly honoured to welcome another 500,000 Sinopharm vaccines.

I am infinitely grateful to China because it is a safe and very reliable vaccine, which develops antibodies a bit later, but without endangering human health", said President Vučić and emphasised that it is now up to us to speed up the vaccination, because there is sufficient vaccine. President Vučić said that he expected substantial new investments from China: 474 million dollars of investments in the Timok mine in September, Ling Long in Zrenjanin, as well as commissioning of the factory in Niš before the end of the year.

He also stated that a new project has been agreed upon - the construction of a bypass around Kragujevac, at a very good price. Speaking about investments, President Vučić said that agreements had been reached concerning the export of beef and corn and that permits for the export of apples is being awaited. "There are Chinese companies that are interested in investing. Our problem in this regard is that we have high logistics costs. We also talked with the representatives of the Chinese railway who want to help", explained President Vučić and added that negotiations have started on the construction of the highway to Požarevac, and further on to Golubac, which will maintain the Danube corridor. "We have got a promise from Mr Zhang that the road Čačak-Požega will be completed by Saint Nicholas Day. That is great news for Ivanjica, Novi Pazar and the whole of the Pešter area.

We are working with another company on a bypass around Belgrade, and then a bridge near Vinča will remain to be done. Thus, we would connect the full ring around Belgrade. It is a very expensive job," President Vučić indicated. He stated that Chinese companies are also working on the Belgrade-Stara Pazova railway and that talks are underway regarding the construction of the Belgrade-Niš high-speed railway. "As for the railway, it will be put into operation in less than a year at a speed of 200 km per hour. Citizens will be able to get from the centre of Belgrade to the centre of Novi Sad in just 28 minutes. We should also get connect with Budapest. That will be the new face of Serbia", said President Vučić. The Ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Belgrade, Chen Bo, pointed out that despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the cooperation between the two countries is developing intensively. "This meeting fully confirms that President Vučić attaches great importance to relations with China.

Our cooperation is focused on two points, and the first is the joint fight against the pandemic," said the Chinese Ambassador, adding that the second point of cooperation is the joint fight for economic growth and recovery. "This includes infrastructure, as the largest area. Comprehensive projects are developing solidly, such as the Belgrade-Novi Sad high-speed project and the Preljina-Požega highway.

The Chinese company together with French and Serbian partners also signed an agreement on the construction of the Belgrade metro. Today, we also exchanged opinions on cooperation in the field of agriculture. We have a great opportunity for cooperation in this area. We hope that in the future there will be even more quality Serbian products on the Chinese market," said the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China.

Belgrade, 6th March 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


Summit of China and 17 countries of Central and Eastern Europe

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić participated today in the video-conference Summit of China and 17 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. "Distinguished Excellency, President of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, Your Excellencies, representatives of the Central and Eastern European Countries, Dear Friends, Exactly two weeks ago, when he was addressing the World Economic Forum, President Xi underlined that “divided world cannot fight common challenges the mankind is facing. Multilateralism is about having international affairs addressed through consultation and the future of the world decided by everyone working together.

We must stick to the cooperation concept based on mutual benefit, to safeguard equal rights of development for all countries and to promote competition based on righteousness and justice. And scientific and technological advances should benefit all humanity rather than be used to curb and contain other countries' development.

On behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and on my personal behalf, I want to thank our host for his warm welcoming words and for the privilege to address this distinguished gathering. Honorable President Xi, I was deeply moved by your invitation. It was on time that you had recognized the need to initiate this forum, and today you insist on a true need for “China and CEEC to intensify communication, to reach consensus and pave the way for future cooperation supporting economic and social recovery and development in post-COVID era.” I agree with your conclusion that through cooperation mechanisms offered through this format of the dialogue “we will contribute, to great extent, to enrichment of overall cooperation between China and Europe.”

The importance that the People’s Republic of China attaches to this gathering is best reflected in a fact that our host will be a person of big international reputation and the architect of multilateralism- President Xi. Serbia had to respond reciprocally to such a gesture of respect, and that is why President of the Republic is addressing. I am very pleased that trade exchange between China and Central and Eastern European Countries increased by 8,4% in 2020, going thus beyond 100 billion dollars. In overall trade exchange between Serbia and the world in 2020, China was at the third place. In 2020, trade exchange was close to 3.7 billion USD which is 30% growth comparing to 2018. Only in the past 5 years, our export to China increased 15 times. In 2020 there was a historic maximum of our export to China, and just for the comparison sake, our export to China in 2010 was only 7.3 million, and this year – more than 377 million USD. By the end of 2020, Chinese direct investment in the Central and Eastern European Countries including energy, infrastructure and logistics were 3.14 billion dollars gross, while investment of the respective countries in China reached 1.72 billion dollars.

I take the liberty of saying that this is about establishing new development paradigm and making global cooperation in fighting coronavirus pandemic easier. Ladies and Gentlemen, Allow me to briefly inform you on the current economic parameters in the Republic of Serbia, which are the result of implementation of economic measures aimed at mitigating COVID-19 pandemic consequences. Today, after difficult reforms and despite the pandemic, Serbia notes unprecedented results in its modern history. We are the first in Europe judging by growth rate, and second in terms of number of vaccinated people. We want to preserve good results and keep improving Serbia.

Immunization in Serbia has started by the vaccine manufactured by the Chinese company Sinopharm, together with the American Pfizer and Russian Sputnik V vaccines. We also expect vaccine deliveries through COVAX and the European Union. Serbia managed to become a positive example in the entire Europe, thanks to unselfish and fraternal help of the People’s Republic of China and President Xi. Since life cannot and must not stop, I would like to remind you that Serbia hosted the Fourth China-CEEC Ministerial Conference on Innovation, whose biggest result was Belgrade Declaration on Cooperation in the Field of Innovation. Serbia wants to strengthen its position in the region when it comes to development of innovation, intelligence, robotics and digitalization, which we see as a path for creating better, more prosperous and more satisfied society. Possibility of having our country as a host for the center of the smart cities is of strategic interest for Serbia. Belt and Road, this magnificent vision of the President Xi is getting clear shape right in front of our eyes. Serbia is on its EU path and at the same time will do its best to strengthen ties with our Chinese friends.

Donated and purchased medical equipment shipped from China reached Serbia through ancient routes of the Silk Road, from Xi’an and Wuhan, through Hungary to Serbia. Unlike the ancient Silk Road, medication and equipment came to the Balkans with more than 88 flights, and using numerous railway compositions. Modernization of Belgrade-Budapest railroad will enable even faster transportation of goods towards Greek ports, and better connectivity between China and numerous Asian countries with Europe. We believe that continuous dialogue on the highest political level is crucial for development of strategic relations between Serbia and China in all areas of economic, culture and medical activities. I hope that as soon as the epidemiological situation in Serbia enables that, we will have the opportunity to welcome President Xi Jinping again.

I am pleased to conclude that there was almost no impact of the pandemic on working processes, and that numerous Chinese companies in Serbia continued working on realization of the agreed projects, like construction works on highways on Corridors X and XI, as well as on numerous projects in the field of energy. In the end of January this year, the Memorandum of Understanding for the “Belgrade Metro” project between the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the City of Belgrade and Chinese company “Power China” and French company “Alstom” that is supposed to start in the third quarter of 2021 was signed.

We expect that cooperation will intensify in the field of sports, agriculture, education, science and technology, where Serbia-China Industrial Park Project in Belgrade is of big importance. Additionally, Serbia successfully presented its achievements on the Third China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November 2020. Previous year has displayed all weaknesses of the mankind and forced each country to reexamine its capacities, putting at the same time to serious test many new alliances, but also traditional ties.

Basic postulates we had built on our habits on free flow of people, goods, capital and services were shaken by global introduction of quarantine and actual limitation of the freedom of movement.

Distinguished President Xi, allow me to avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you, on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and on my personal behalf, our deepest gratitude for prompt assistance in medical equipment that the Government of the People’s Republic of China made available to my country and my people, and to “Fire Eye” laboratories that China donated to Serbia were of great significance in virus detection. Only through cooperation between all countries, exchange of experience in the spirit of solidarity and understanding, but also through openness and identifying new cooperation modalities, a global recovery will be possible.

Dear Friends, According to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, New Year begins in three days. The year ahead will be in the sign of Buffalo. According to the ancient belief, the Year of Buffalo is a year when many of us will reach new knowledge and decisions. More importantly, the upcoming period will be good for all those who are used to hard work. Finally, I would like to remind you of a far-reaching speech of the President Xi, as of May 15th 2017.

On that occasion, my friend draws accurate parallels between the Silk Road and “Belt and Road” Initiative. The development of the Belt and Road is rooted in history, but orients to the future. The ancient Silk Road embodied the pursuit of a better life of our ancestors, promoted the interconnection of countries in Asia and Europe, pushed forward the exchanges and mutual learning of civilizations between the East and the West, and made great contributions to the development and progress of human civilization. We can fully draw wisdom and strength from the ancient Silk Road, promote cooperation in the spirit of peaceful cooperation, openness and tolerance, mutual learning, mutual benefit and win-win, and open up a brighter future together.

Long live friendship between Serbia and China!", said President Vučić in his address.

Belgrade, 9th February 2021


Congratulations from the President of the People's Republic of China on the Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia

President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping sent congratulations to the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, on the Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia. The congratulation reads as follows: "Dear Mr President, On the occasion of the Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia, on behalf of the Government and the people of China and my own behalf, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to you and the friendly Serbian people.

Sino-Serbian relations maintain a steady development trend. Mutual political trust between the two countries is strong, cooperation in various fields achieves rich results, and steel friendship is continuously deepening. Together, the two sides face the challenges of the COVID-19 virus epidemic, setting an example of cooperation in the fight against the world's epidemic. At my invitation, you recently attended the Summit of the Leaders of China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and made an outstanding contribution to the successful holding of the summit, which I highly appreciate.

I attach great importance to the development of relations between China and Serbia. I am ready to raise the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between China and Serbia to an even higher level with you, within the joint development of the Belt and Road initiative, and cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, to contribute to the well-being of our two countries and nations. I wish your country a lot of prosperity, and happiness and well-being to your people", reads the congratulation message of President Xi Jinping.

11th February 2021


Another 500,000 Chinese coronavirus vaccines arrived in Serbia

 

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated tonight that our country, with the 500,000 Chinese vaccines that arrived tonight, now has a total of as many as 1.5 million of these vaccines, which will save thousands of lives in Serbia.

Brnabic expressed gratitude to China and President Xi Jinping for support to the citizens of Serbia during the fight against the coronavirus at Nikola Tesla Airport, where she together with Chinese Ambassador Chen Bo welcomed the Air Serbia plane carrying the new quantities of the Sinopharm vaccine.

She reiterated that, with today's 500,000 vaccines, Serbia has 1.5 million Chinese vaccines, which, along with the excellent organisation of vaccinations, helped our country to be second in Europe and seventh in the world by the number of vaccinations, with the expectation that our position will improve.

Brnabic explained that this is not about contracts and money, but about partnership and friendship, and pointed out that we have additional contracts and we paid for additional vaccines, but we received 1.5 million vaccines only from China. The Prime Minister wished a happy Chinese Lunar New Year to the citizens of China, the Chinese President, the Chinese Premier and the Communist Party of that country.

Belgrade, 10 February 2021


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


Meeting with the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić met earlier today with the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China Chen Bo and asked her to convey his gratitude to President Xi Jinping for human and statesmanlike care and solidarity and for the help that Chinese vaccines reach the citizens of our country as soon as possible. President Vučić said he was proud that Serbia was the first European country to receive the Chinese vaccine.

He pointed out to Ambassador Chen that our country's citizens show deep trust in the Chinese vaccine, and thus in the Chinese state and Chinese experts. Therefore, he asked Ambassador Chen to convey a request to President Xi and the Chinese leadership that the remaining ordered quantities of vaccines arrive as soon as possible. President Vučić said that he was looking forward to participating in the China-CEEC Summit next week via video link. He emphasised that he believes the cooperation format 1 + 17 and the "Belt and Road" initiative are among the most important initiatives ever. In this regard, the meeting, which was also attended by representatives of relevant Ministries and public companies, discussed current and future joint infrastructure and other projects.

On this occasion, it was stated that the projects follow the planned dynamics. By the end of the year, two key infrastructure projects will be completed - the Preljina-Požega highway and the Belgrade-Novi Sad high-speed railway for up to 200 km per hour. This year, it is planned to commence the works on the high-speed railway from Novi Sad to the border with Hungary, on the Fruška gora road corridor and the Belgrade-Zrenjanin highway. Preparation of project documentation for the first stage of the highway from Belgrade through Duga Poljana to the border with Montenegro has been intensively underway.

Among others, the project of wastewater management in 65 cities and towns in Serbia stands out in terms of value and nine landfills that will permanently solve this issue and contribute to environmental protection according to applicable European standards.

Belgrade, 3rd February 2021


Letter of the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping

 

President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić received today the invitation from the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, to participate in the Summit of China and CEEC to be held via video link on February 9 this year. President Jinping's invitation reads: “The year 2020 was a most extraordinary one. Faced with the sudden attack of COVID-19, China and the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) have stood together to fight the coronavirus and tide over the difficult time, creating new momentum for China-CEEC cooperation.

In view of the pandemic, we have agreed to postpone till a later date the China-CEEC Beijing Summit originally scheduled for April last year. As things stand, countries have entered a new phase of COVID response and face great challenges in economic recovery and development.

There is a need for China and CEEC countries to increase communication, build consensus, and chart the course of cooperation to support economic and social recovery and development in a post-COVID era. With this in mind, China is going to hold the China-CEEC Summit via video link on 9 February 2021, As the host, I am pleased to invite you to the Summit and look: forward to discussing with you ways to achieve mutually beneficial cooperation and advance the bilateral, ties and China-CEEC cooperation.

We could together make good contributions to enriching the overall cooperation between China and Europe and promoting development shared by both sides. Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration”, reads the letter of the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping.

Belgrade, 3rd February 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


President Vucic at the airport to welcome the plane with one million doses of the Chinese vaccine

 

 

 

One million doses of vaccines produced by 'Sinopharm' Chinese company arrived today in Serbia, and President Aleksandar Vucic was at the Belgrade airport to welcome the airplane delivering the vaccines. The President underlined on this occasion that the arrival of the Chinese vaccine shipment was a proof of the exceptional friendship between Serbia and China, and announced that he would himself get a shot of this very vaccine.

In a statement for Chinese CCTV, President Vucic said that he was at the airport to show respect and share the best words on the true friendship that Serbia fostered with China for a very long time and that, in response to that friendship, Serbia received the vaccines, for which he was particularly thankful to Chinese President Xi Jinping. "One million doses of the Chinese 'Sinopharm' vaccines have arrived in Serbia. I wish to thank President Xi and the Chinese people", the President wrote on his Instagram profile, sharing a photo showing the flags of Serbia and China in front of the Air Serbia plane which delivered the vaccines.

He expressed special gratitude to the Ambassador of China in Belgrade Chen Bo who, as he said, made great efforts in this important endeavour and who was also there, together with the President and Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar, to welcome the airplane bringing the vaccines shipment. "We were hoping for vaccines from China, but it was not something to easily expect. Both as an ordinary person and as Serbian President I am convinced in the quality of the Chinese vaccine, pending approval of the competent Serbian agency", the President said adding that he was proud that one million doses of vaccines, that would save many lives, was successfully procured from China. He recalled that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sputnik V vaccines were already in Serbia, now joined by the vaccines from Beijing, and that Prime Minister Ana Brnabic was already given a shot of the Pfizer vaccine, that Speaker of National Assembly Ivica Dacic and Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin received shots of the Russian vaccine, and that he would himself most likely get a shot of the Chinese vaccine. "We will get the AstraZeneca vaccines next.

This demonstrates the level of Serbian political leadership's competence. It is also a proof that we are not afraid to show that we foster a great friendship with China that I have not tried to hide wherever I went, but am proud of it and will continue to make efforts to develop it further", the President said in a statement for the Chinese television reporting on the arrival of Chinese vaccines to Serbia. The President said that Serbia had yet to receive any vaccines through the COVAX scheme, and that all the vaccines procured so far for the country came as a result of bilateral agreements - with Americans for Pfizer, Russians for Sputnik V and with the Chinese. "Fortunately, we were smart enough to work for the country and get the most out of our partners. I have the experience; I know how it goes and how much you have to fight for the country to get something.

There are countries which received no vaccines at this point", Vucic said and confirmed that he and Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar will receive shots of the Chinese coronavirus vaccine. Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo emphasized that Serbia and China, under the leadership of Presidents Aleksandar Vucic and Xi Jinping, were fighting shoulder-to-shoulder against coronavirus and added that it was a great honour and pleasure for her to welcome the Chinese 'Sinopharm' vaccines in Belgrade together with the Serbian President. "The Sinopharm vaccine was officially registered in China on 30 December, and it arrived in Serbia only after 16 days.

The arrival of the Chinese vaccine is part of our joint fight against the virus, and I believe it will contribute to fighting the epidemic in Serbia", said Ambassador Chen Bo on this occasion and pointed out that China was the first country in the world to promise that its vaccine would be a global public good.

Belgrade, 16 January 2021


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


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


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. T

hat 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


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 fr

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.


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.


Ensemble of National Theater from Belgrade in Shanghai

For the first time in its 150 years long tradition, National Theater ensemble was guest of National Theater of Shanghai, in P.R. China, with it's renowned performance "The Lady of the Camellias", Alexandre Dumas, fils, in adaptation of Željko Hubača, directed by Jug Radivojević.

Ensemble performed the play two times in Shanghai, from July 11. until July 16. 2017.

Thank you all for this wonderful happening!
 

 


Dacic: “Support of EU partner countries of the Central European Initiative is very important to us”

Statement by Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia Ivica Dacic at the Annual Meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Central European Initiative (CEI), Minsk, 22 June 2017:

"Mr. Chairman,
Dear colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

To begin with, I would like to thank Minister Makei and Secretary General of the Central European Initiative, Ambassador di Vietri for the exquisite hospitality and exceptional organization of this Annual Meeting of the CEI Ministers for Foreign Affairs.

It is my pleasure to have the opportunity today to participate in the exchange of views on connectivity in the wider region of Europe, the current situation following the major migratory movements, the rising security threat to, and reform of, the CEI, as a bridge connecting the macro-regions of Europe.

For a long time now, and in the last five years in particular, the Republic of Serbia, when prioritizing, has not distinguished between its goals of internal reforms, European integration or regional cooperation. Through various connectivity projects and forms, Serbia has been working on the widest possible infrastructural interconnectivity of this part of Europe, with the aim of being able to represent a valid, recognizable and competitive region, both regarding roads of all types and energy independence.

"The Connectivity Agenda", established in the WB6 format within the framework of the Berlin Process, is of particular importance to us. You are aware of Serbia's priorities in this regard, considering that we have presented them repeatedly at various events. I would only like to mention one, which is the construction of Nis-Merdare-Pristina-Tirana-Durres motorway. Our expectations from the incoming WB Summit in Trieste also include the allocation of additional funding for the implementation of three concrete projects amounting to over EUR 60 million, which we presented to the EC as a priority.

At the most recent China- CEEC (Central and Eastern European Countries) Leaders' Meeting, an agreement was signed on the modernization of the existing railway and construction of high-speed railway connecting Belgrade and Budapest, to run the first transport service of this kind in the region.

The seat of the South East Europe Transport Observatory (SEETO) has for more than 10 years successfully operated in Belgrade, and which should, naturally, be transformed into the seat of the future Transport Community Secretariat and, taking into account all the advantages of its location, Serbia has already submitted its candidature for the seat to the EC. This would ensure the continuation of the existing institutional cooperation and its structure.

In parallel with all of the above, Serbia is actively participating in the Trans-Balkan Electricity Corridor project amounting to EUR 162 million, the completion of which would ensure interconnections of power transmission systems between Serbia and Romania as well as  between Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also upgrade to high-capacity transmission lines within the Serbian power grid. These projects will considerably strengthen the energy exchange and energy security in the region. Furthermore, preparations are also underway for the works on the Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnection, and our side urges that a final decision on the funding of this project be made as soon as possible.

Through all these projects, Serbia is showing readiness to connect with its neighbours, the wider region and the rest of Europe.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In addition to our common challenge of a stronger connectivity in the wider CEI region, the migrant crisis remains a particular challenge facing all of us. Despite the fact that over 1.4 million migrants transited the territory of Serbia in the past two years and that there are over 7 thousand of them staying there at the moment, the stability has been maintained thanks to extraordinary efforts, there have been no major threats to stability, and Serbia's treatment of migrants has throughout been in full accordance with international norms and standards. It is of crucial importance to us that the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement not be suspended, so as to increase the level of mutual cooperation, both at the identified migration routes and in the wider Europe region, with the aim of overcoming this problem.

Considering that Serbia has been in the least favourable situation, having in its territory a considerably larger number of migrants compared to other Western Balkan countries, we believe that the largest portion of the funds earmarked within the new special measure should be granted to Serbia, particularly in the context of an, at times, unequal treatment of the countries facing this problem, depending on whether they are EU Member States or not.

My country is strongly committed to addressing potential terrorist threats and all forms of violent extremism and to, in cooperation with partners worldwide, contribute to their elimination at regional, European and global levels. Even though we were among the first in the region to warn of this problem, both in the context of Islamic radicalization and the domino effect of the so-called Arab Spring, sadly it is only today that the hazards of all manifestations of radicalism and the use of force in international relations, regardless of motivation, perpetrators and originators, are fully understood.

Serbia is one of the twenty-five members of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts tasked with ICT development in the context of international security, and as the only member state from the CEI region it has been visible in the efforts aimed at finding global solutions for building confidence among states and for establishing international rules, norms and a code of conduct. Serbia has devoted due attention to aligning itself with the EU's Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, whose priorities include cybersecurity.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can say that CEI is a "bridge" between the European Union Member States, on the one hand, and candidate and aspirant countries that have not yet joined the EU, on the other. Serbia considers extremely important its membership of this regional initiative, providing a framework for enhancing regional cooperation and accelerated European integration, particularly in the light of EU accession negotiations. In this respect, we consider exceptionally important the support of those EU Member States that are our CEI partner countries.

As one of the oldest regional initiatives in the continent of Europe, currently bringing together 18 states, CEI is a regional initiative whose experience and reputation can produce a significant added value in the process of connecting European macro regions. Therefore, I am pleased to note that significant efforts have been made to that effect.

Irrespective of other formats and organizations, CEI has retained its relevance which will be, I strongly believe, only affirmed through the revision of documents and the adoption of a new Plan of Action.

Locally, Serbia and its institutions, universities and civil society have fully recognized the capacity of funds and CEI invitations for cooperation, as reflected in a large response to the CEI Cooperation Fund's Call for Proposals 2017.

I believe that, in the period ahead, it will be necessary to make additional efforts to expand its range of activities, and ensure CEI's greater visibility as a high-level forum for discussions on political and sectoral economic issues. Therefore, I look forward to deepening cooperation between the organization and other regional and global actors, similar to what has already been established with the UN and the EU. A good example of the foregoing is the announced strengthening of cooperation with the OSCE, and the joint projects which we support, as a country aware of the importance of the organization's field presence. We further believe that by augmenting funds and, possibly, individual contributions such as those that we, too, made in 2014, will enable the necessary strengthening of the CEI Fund for joint projects.

Serbia has recognized the need for modifying internal CEI regulations, and supports the endeavours to reinforce sectoral interaction within the CEI framework through additional ministerial meetings, whose themes would deal with connecting the wider region in the areas of transport, customs, energy, and others that are deemed necessary. Serbia also has a clear interest in intensifying cooperation through inter-parliamentary fora. It has supported the work of the Group of Experts for Guidelines review, and we hope that the results will follow shortly.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to commend the efforts made by the Republic of Belarus as country currently holding the CEI Presidency, expressing at the same time my best wishes for chairing the regional initiative, in the period to come.

Thank you."


EU Integration Process of the Republic of Serbia

The Republic of Serbia signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union on 29 April 2008, and the SAA came into force on 1 September 2013. By means of this Agreement, the Republic of Serbia and the European Union have entered for the first time a stage of relations regulated by an all-embracing agreement, whereby Serbian EU membership prospects have been reaffirmed. The Republic of Serbia applied for EU membership on 22 December 2009. The European Council passed a decision to grant Serbia the candidate status for EU membership on 1 March 2012, while on 28 June 2013 it decided to open the accession negotiations with the Republic of Serbia.

Course of Accession Negotiations


The Common Position of the European Union (EU) on the accession negotiations with the Republic of Serbia, which was adopted by the EU General Affairs Council (GAC) on 17 December 2013, and subsequently approved by the European Council of 19-20 December 2013, consists of two documents: introductory remarks of the EU at the First Inter-Governmental Conference between R. Serbia and the EU, and the Negotiating Framework of Serbia's EU accession. The Negotiating Framework embodies principles, the essence and procedures of the overall negotiating process. The emphasis is laid on the conditions in which a candidate country will embrace and execute the EU acquis communautaire, divided into 35 thematic chapters. The EU expects the Republic of Serbia to ensure full implementation of the key reforms and legislation, particularly in judicial reform, the fight against corruption and organized crime, public administration reform, independence of institutions, media reform, non-discrimination and protection of minorities. Particular importance is attached to the harmonization of the dynamic of the negotiating process, i.e. a uniform progress in all areas. This particularly refers to Chapter 23 (judiciary and fundamental rights) and Chapter 24 (justice, freedom and security) where progress has to follow the dynamic of other chapters. The above-stated procedure will also apply to issues within Chapter 35.

Serbian EU accession negotiations formally commenced on 21 January 2014 in Brussels by the First Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC) on Serbia's EU accession, where representatives of the EU and Serbia exchanged views, and the EU Negotiating Framework, the Negotiating Team of the Republic of Serbia and the IGC meetings calendar according to negotiating chapters were presented.

An initial step preceding the opening of each of the 35 chapters is the so-called screening, i.e. scanning and analytical review of legislation in force in the Republic of Serbia in a certain area and the legislation applicable in the EU. The analytical analysis stage of legislation begins with the so-called explanatory screening within which the European Commission presents to the candidate country the EU acquis communautaire divided into negotiating chapters, while the level of conformity of the candidate country's legal system with the legal system of the EU is assessed through the so-called bilateral screening. Then, the differences between the two legal systems and measures designed to overcome them are being identified, on the basis of which an implementation Action Plan is being drafted and its timescale defined.

Following the completion of the bilateral screening, the European Commission presents its Screening Report to the Member States, containing recommendations on the opening of negotiations for a certain chapter, and, possibly opening benchmarks. 

The screening process for Serbia began in September 2013 and was completed in late March 2015. The European Commission plans to submit all screening reports to the COELA Working Group for consideration by the end of 2015.

The Republic of Serbia wants the pace of the overall negotiation process to be as fast as possible, including the dynamic of opening (and closing) of as large a number of negotiating chapters as possible, during the current and the following year. However, the dynamic of the process itself depends not only on the Republic of Serbia but primarily on the EU and its Member States.

Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs take an active part in the work of governmental bodies during the EU integration process. The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs is a member of the Coordinating Body, tasked with discussing the major issues and coordinating within the scope of the activity of public administrative authorities throughout the European integration process. The Coordinating Body Council deals with the current issues that arise in the integration process. The Assistant Foreign Minister responsible for security policy, in the capacity as Chairperson of Negotiating Group 31, was a member of the Council on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs carries out the activities concerning Negotiating Group 31- Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also participates in the work of the following negotiating groups concerning Serbia-EU accession negotiations, as a member of: Negotiating Group 23 - judiciary and fundamental rights; Negotiating Group 24 – justice, freedom and security; Negotiating Group 30 – external economic relations; Negotiating Group 34 – for institutions and Negotiating Group 35 – for other matters.

The State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his official capacity is a member of the Serbian Negotiating Team, participating in the drafting of negotiating positions, and is in charge of conducting negotiations on all chapters and in all stages of negotiations. Moreover, representatives from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the EU, serving as the Secretary and Vice-Secretary of the Inter-Governmental Conference, play an active role in the accession process and negotiations.

In order to ensure the monitoring of the implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement signed between the Republic of Serbia and the EU, the following bodies, in which MFA representatives participate, have been established: the Stabilization and Association Council, tasked with discussing the major issues concerning the SAA implementation, whose membership includes: the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration, Head of the Negotiating Team, MFA State Secretary, Assistant Foreign Minister responsible for the EU, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the EU, SEIO Deputy Director, and a representative of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the EU as the Council Secretary; and the Stabilization and Association Committee, entrusted with the task of addressing specific issues concerning the SAA implementation, while holding, as appropriate, meetings in between the Council sessions, whose member is the MFA State Secretary as well. MFA representatives also participate in the work of the SAA Sub-Committee for justice, freedom and security.

Please find more information on relations between the Republic of Serbia and the European Union on the following link: http://www.mfa.gov.rs/en/foreign-policy/eu

 


Hungary strongly supports Serbia’s European integration and opening of new chapters

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic is on an official visit to Hungary.

Minister Dacic opened his visit by meeting with representatives of the Serbian community in Hungary. On this occasion, representatives of the Serbian community expressed their satisfaction with the development of the situation since the joint session of the two governments held last year, and argued in favour of the implementation of specific projects agreed upon regarding the position of the Serbian minority in Hungary.

This was also among the topics discussed in a meeting between Minister Dacic and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto.

Both Ministers expressed hope that a stable and continuous trend in the development of bilateral relations would be maintained further.

In the talks with the Head of Hungarian diplomacy it was agreed that a joint session of the two Governments would be held on 20-21 November in Nis.

The Hungarian side reiterated its strong support for the European integration of the Republic of Serbia, as well as for the opening of new chapters (5, 20, 25 and 26).

Against the backdrop of the referendum held in Hungary yesterday, the Ministers discussed the migrant crisis as well. In this context, the Hungarian side conveyed that it would provide assistance to Serbia by dispatching a contingent of 20 police personnel.

Furthermore, our side expressed gratitude for the training on European integration the Hungarian Foreign Ministry provided to Serbian young diplomats and, in this context, offered to hold a training programme for a Hungarian diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia.


Statement by Minister Dacic at the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP)

Statement by FDPM and MFA Ivica Dačić at the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Sofia:

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Colleagues,

May I begin by expressing gratitude to our hosts for organizing this meeting and for all the efforts they have made since assuming the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office last June.

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to attend our today's meeting and exchange views with colleagues on the latest developments in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As before, the Republic of Serbia's overarching objective in foreign affairs remains unchanged: European Union membership. Towards achieving this goal, Serbia has demonstrated consistency, both through the implementation of its ambitious reform agenda, as well as through its constructive approach to the dialogue with Pristina. I wish to take this opportunity to recall that the Republic of Serbia has completed the screening process with flying colours, paving the way for the Second Serbia-EU Inter-Governmental Conference, which was held in Brussels, on 14 December 2015. As a result, two out of 35 negotiating chapters were opened, namely Chapter 32 on financial control and Chapter 35 on normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

Regrettably, Serbia had to wait for almost two years from the commencement of the negotiation process before opening its first negotiating chapters. We intend, which I hope will be supported by EU Member States – to significantly accelerate the negotiations and embark upon the negotiating chapters so vital to the reform process and the enhancement of the rule of law, such as Chapters 23 and 24 in the first place, as well as many other chapters. The opening of each and every chapter is extremely important to us, as a stepping-stone in the further process of alignment with European norms and standards.

A strong and stable economy is an important precondition for EU membership. In the previous period, the Government of the Republic of Serbia has succeeded in stabilising public finances, cutting the fiscal deficit and in adopting a number of reform laws in almost all areas, while fiscal consolidation measures created the basis for concluding the negotiations and signing a stand-by arrangement with the International Monetary Fund. This added credibility to the efforts the Government has been investing, giving a particularly important signal to any potential investors. Considering the success of its work in the previous period, leading to the opening of first negotiating chapters with the EU, the Serbian Government will continue, as before, to persevere on its reform course.

The enlargement policy is certainly one of the vital EU instruments for ensuring not only stability and economic prosperity in the region but also the stability and security of the EU as a whole. This places particular emphasis on joint engagement of SEECP participants, in the light of their positioning towards EU institutions, projecting a positive image of the region as a whole, and keeping the EU focused on issues of interest to the region. In this context, the role played by EU Member States is vital, as they can contribute significantly to the process of bringing the whole SEE region closer to and eventually joining the European Union.

Speaking about the region, we must note that in the past year we faced numerous challenges together, challenges having a considerable capacity to destabilize, or even jeopardize the security, and yet we managed to preserve the stability in the region, where a large role was, no doubt, was played by the European Union and some EU Member States. The Republic of Serbia will continue to implement an open and constructive regional policy and remain committed to the best possible relations with all neighbours.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very glad that the priorities set by the Bulgarian SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office reflect the current developments in the SEE region. It is issues such as the migrant problem, connectivity in energy and infrastructure sectors and freedom of the media that are listed high among the priorities of all of us in South Eastern Europe.

Today, the majority of SEECP participants are facing the greatest migrant crisis since the end of the Second World War, while developments in the previous period point to the potential that the ongoing global migration wave might direct the movement of several million migrants towards the EU via the Balkans and the Mediterranean. Serbia is among those countries that are perhaps most aware of such a prospect because it is a transit country being at the very centre of the so-called "Western Balkans route".

Although the majority of migrants who enter the territory of Serbia from Bulgaria and Greece, through Macedonia, express intent to apply for asylum, it is clear that Serbia is just one of the countries on their way to Western Europe. Serbia, like EU Member States, faces the same pressure, especially in terms of available resources and means which are certainly far less than those available to EU Member States. In 2015 alone, over 600,000 people entered the territory of Serbia, most of whom came from Syria and Afghanistan. At times, the daily entries reached the 9,000 mark. Although we are well into winter now and the pressure has been reduced, a large number of migrants cross the border between Serbia and Macedonia every day. In January this year, nearly 60,000 migrants already entered Serbia.

As a country midway along the Western Balkans route, Serbia suffers the consequences of the decisions made by all the countries that are either on its lower or upper end. Therefore, in the context of channels of communication set in motion after the EU Summit on the Eastern Mediterranean-Western Balkans Route, we specifically pointed to the need for early notification of all countries involved (Austria, Germany) so that all countries along the route be timely informed about regime change at the border and about any new measure applied in the countries of final destination. For example, after the countries on the upper end of the Western Balkans route decided to stop taking in economic migrants, followed by the decision of Austria to allow passage through its territory only to those migrants who expressly intend to apply for asylum in Germany and Austria, R. Serbia has started to act in the same way, as it cannot let the whole burden be shifted onto its shoulders.

We believe that we have so far acted as a credible partner to the EU, especially considering that we have shown readiness to take our share of responsibility and agree to provide temporary shelter for a number of migrants, though we are not an EU Member State. However, if there was a chain reaction and a drastic reduction in passage through or closing of borders (Germany, Austria, and further along the route), it would create a particularly dangerous situation for R. Serbia and the entire region. This would halt the flow of migrants and cause them to stay longer and in more massive numbers in Serbia, putting an enormous strain on us. For all our understanding and empathy we feel for migrants, we cannot allow R. Serbia to be turned into a kind of a collective centre for migrants. Serbia is not able, either, to re-admit the migrants who have transited through its territory and were refused asylum in the EU. It has neither the capacity nor the resources to do so, nor was it the country of their first entry.

I expect that we will discuss this subject later this week at the Informal (Gymnich) Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of EU Member States and Candidate Member States. I believe that it is very important that today's meeting of Ministers of the South East European Cooperation Process will adopt a Joint Statement on Migration Challenges.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Bulgaria every success in the next six months of their SEECP Chairmanship and to point out that, if necessary, we are ready to provide every assistance possible and share with them the experience we have gained during our 2012 SEECP Chairmanship.

Thank you for your attention.


Serbia makes its contribution to the China-CEEC Forum

Acting Assistant Foreign Minister Goran Aleksic was in Warsaw on 28 October, where he participated in the 6th meeting of National Coordinators of the cooperation mechanism between China and the Central and Eastern European Countries.

The meeting, hosted by Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna, was attended by national coordinators of China and 16 CEE countries with the aim to agree directions of development of this mechanism as part of China’s strategic vision of joint development - “The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”. Senior officials and representatives of CEE countries, in charge of cooperation with China within this mechanism, discussed the preparations for the forthcoming China-CEEC Leaders’ Meeting to take place in November 2015 in the Chinese city of Suzhou.

During the meeting with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister and Secretary General of the Secretariat for China-CEEC Cooperation Wang Chao, Acting Assistant Foreign Minister Aleksic stressed Serbia’s readiness to fully contribute to the improvement of the China-CEEC forum which also enriched the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Stressing the importance that China attaches to cooperation with Serbia, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister assessed that Serbia’s involvement in this mechanism has contributed to the rise of Serbian-Chinese relations, which is best reflected by the results in the infrastructure sector where Belgrade-Budapest railway modernization project has a special place as an integral part of the “Belt and Road”.


Statement by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic

Ivica_Dacic

Statement by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic:

“Serbia is fighting a tough, political and diplomatic battle to prevent the admission of the so-called Republic of Kosovo to UNESCO, struggling not only against untruths, injustices and double standards, but also against the intense lobbying and pressure by sponsors of Kosovo’s request with all countries that have not recognized the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo to at least abstain in the vote.

Voting procedure in UNESCO is specific; only the votes cast in favour and those against are counted, but not the abstentions. So, only a two-thirds majority of those voting in favour and against the motion will suffice to Kosovo, and not a two-thirds majority of all who voted. That is why Kosovo’s request passed through at the Executive Council of UNESCO, although it did not have a majority of votes.

Therefore, the statement by Bojan Pajtic that the government is making a mockery of it, even though it knows that Kosovo does not have a two-thirds majority, is the culmination of the political hypocrisy of the Democratic Party, because at the time of their government Kosovo became independent and was already recognized by 86 countries. Instead of engaging in the honourable struggle for the protection of the Serbian cultural and religious heritage, Bojan Pajtic and the Democratic Party use Kosovo as the topic for the attacks on the Serbian Government and Prime Minister Vucic and an escape from the harsh reality that today’s opposition in Serbia is
one of the most irresponsible, least capable and weakest in the Serbian history, both recent and remote.”


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News - Archive