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

15.10.2021.

Distinguished President of the Security Council,

Esteemed members of the Security Council,

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

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President Vučić received the credentials of the new Ambassador of Australia

4 October 2021

 

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, received the credentials from the new Ambassador of Australia, Daniel Emery today, whom he welcomed, expressing hope that the cooperation between the two countries would be even better in the future.

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Telephone conversation of President Vučić and General Secretary of NATO

26 September 2021

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

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

25 September 2021

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

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Pristina seriously jeopardised regional stability

25 September 2021

 

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

 

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

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22 September 2021 Prime Minister Brnabic at Global COVID-19 summit organised by White House

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

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9 September 2021 Numerous opportunities to improve relations with Australia

 

Prime Minister Ana Brnabic talked today with Ambassador of Australia to Serbia Ruth Stewart, who is ending her term, about current bilateral relations between the two countries, economic cooperation and opportunities for joint project engagement. 

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

5 August 2021

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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PRESIDENT VUČIĆ: WE HAVE DECIDED – OUR GOAL IS THE EU, BUT CHINA IS AN IMPORTANT PARTNER

22 July 2021

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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SERBIA HAS ACHIEVED GREAT SUCCESS IN THE FIELD OF DIGITALIZATION

20 July 2021

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

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09.06.2021. - Address by the President of the Republic of Serbia at the session of the United Nations Security Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. President

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

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

Mr. President,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long Live Serbia!


20.05.2021. - 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.


CONSULAR DAYS IN AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, 22-23 May 2021

Consular staff will be in Auckland, New Zealand, on 22nd and 23rd May 2021 between 9.00 am and 3.00 pm

Address: Blackstone Group NZ Office, 6th floor, Durham House, 22 Durham Street, Auckland CBD.

Priority of service on these two days will be passport applications and acquisition of biometrics data.


INVITATION FOR A FREE GROUP COURSE OF THE SERBIAN LANGUAGE VIA SKYPE

Within the project “Learning Serbian as a heritage language through an online group course”, the Academic Serbian Association invites all the people from the Serbian diaspora, age 14 to 20, to apply for a free group course of the Serbian language via Skype.

Under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia, we continue to promote and realize online classes. The goal of the project is to promote the Serbian language in the diaspora through peer education intended for the youth in the diaspora.

Serbian-speaking people from the diaspora, ages 14 to 20, can apply for a free group course of the Serbian language via Skype until the 13th of June 2021. During this course, their mentors will be teachers from the Academic Serbian Association, accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development. Application requirements are that the students haven’t attended any Serbian as a heritage language course via Skype in Academic Serbian Association and that they have to share the post about the course from the Facebook ASA profile on their Facebook profiles.

The main goal of the project is learning/ preserving the Serbian language and Cyrillic alphabet, as well as connecting Serbian young people from all over the world. Accredited teachers of the Academic Serbian Association will hold the group classes via Skype to the youth in the diaspora.

The course will start on the 20th of June 2021 and will end on the 31st of July 2021. By the end of the course, the students will receive a certificate for a completed course, issued by the Academic Serbian Association.

The classes will be carried out twice a week (the duration of a class will be 90 minutes), on dates which the students and the teacher agree on. The Academic Serbian Association will make sure the classes will be carried out properly.
Anyone interested in the course can fill out the application directly on the website http://skr.rs/zabf  or download it on the end of the text, fill out and send to an e-mail at asasocijacija@gmail.com, titled “Skype group course”.

According to the applications, the Academic Serbian Association will determine the student-teacher pairings.

It is necessary that the potential student has a computer with speakers and a camera, and that the student has a good internet connection, solid English language skills and a good motivation to learn. For more information, you can contact the Academic Serbian Association at asasocijacija@gmail.com


21.04.2021. - President Vučić met via video link with representatives of the IMF delegation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Meeting with the World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe

20th April 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


 


19.04.2021. - WHO describes immunisation process in Serbia as impressive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


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

13 April 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 


   

 


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

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

13. April 2021

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.

 

 


MARKING THE DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF THE VICTIMS OF THE NATO AGGRESSION

24 March 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serbia, which calls things by their real names.

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

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


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

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

We are ready, and we are willing to help.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we are not.

And when all go quiet, we will keep repeating.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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COMMEMORATING REMEMBRANCE DAY OF 17 MARCH 2004 - POGROM IN KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo: Dimitrije Goll


 


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17.03.2021 - The Republic of Serbia in the Month of Francophonie / La République de Serbie au Mois de la Francophonie

The Republic of Serbia as an associate member of the International Organization of Francophonie (OIF), together with the entire French-speaking community around the World, celebrates the Month of Francophonie (le Mois de la Francophonie). For all lovers of Serbian culture and the French language, the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia has prepared an extensive program and the Consulate general of the Republic of Serbia in Sydney invites you to discover the diversity and richness of Serbian culture in French. Please click on the picture.

La République de Serbie en qualité de membre associé à l'OIF, de concert avec toute la communauté francophone dans le monde entier, célèbre le Mois de la Francophonie. Pour tous les amateurs de la culture serbe et de la langue française, le Ministère de la Culture et de l'Information de la République de Serbie a préparé un vaste programme et Consulat general  de la République de Serbie à Sydney vous invite à découvrir la diversité et la richesse de la culture serbe en français. cliquez sur l'image ci-dessus.


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8.03.2021. - Selakovic: Fight against all forms of crime is a priority of the Serbian Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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.

18 February 2021

Source: SPC/Serbian Orthodox Church


 


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15.02.2021. - The Statehood Day of the Republic of Serbia

The Republic of Serbia celebrates the Statehood Day today.


Video message prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on this occasion, can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh6idN_HKsQ&ab_channel=MFAoftheRepublicofSerbia


 


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


26 January 2021 Minister Selakovic speaks for Politika: The year of rejuvenation of Serbian diplomacy

Serbia's foreign policy positions are naturally being adjusted to the new developments at the international level, but our foreign policy priorities have not changed in a long time. Our top and most important interest is to preserve good-neighbourly relations and stability and peace in the region and, in the same context, to find a peaceful and just solution to the problems in Kosovo and Metohija, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said in an interview with Politika daily.

Another lasting interest of ours is full membership of the European Union, because this is the type of society we strive for. At the bilateral level, our goal is to strengthen ties with traditional friends, the Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China, but also to build new partner relations with the United States. One of the most important tasks of our foreign policy is to improve the position and protect the rights and identity of our people in the region, as well as to provide various types of support to Serbs in the diaspora. All these are very important and more often than not complementary goals, Nikola Selakovic pointed out.

What kind of relations do you expect Serbia to have with the new U.S. administration?

It is too early to speculate about this in public. The new presidential administration in Washington is currently preoccupied with internal issues and this will be the case for some time. There are people in the team of President Joseph Biden who have dealt with our region, and it is likely that the Balkans and Serbia will be the focus of the U.S. foreign policy at some point. I will remind you that President Vucic and President Biden not so long ago had very substantive talks in Belgrade, after which our President stated that he had the opportunity to talk to someone extremely well acquainted with the situation in this part of the world and an extraordinarily prepared interlocutor. Taking their personal relationship into account, but also the importance of enhancing the ties between Serbia and the United States, we have reason to expect that a meeting between the two presidents will be organized in the foreseeable future. I am sure that the nature and dynamics of the relations between Serbia and the United States will be influenced by the fact that Ambassador Marko Djuric now represents us in Washington, whose presence at President Biden's inauguration ceremony is an important signal and, I believe, a harbinger of positive developments in bilateral relations between our two countries.

How would you describe our country's relations with Moscow, Brussels and Beijing?

Russia is our traditional friend and that friendship goes beyond merely political ties. These are deep spiritual, cultural and civilizational bonds, and it is only natural that we have a mutual interest in improving those ties, even though they are at a very high level. We have a relationship with the People's Republic of China which is, in addition to the sincere iron-clad friendship between our peoples and high political representatives, based on deep trust and mutual support. Full membership of the European Union is Serbia's strategic orientation that all our friends are aware of, but our country does not forget its friendships, but strengthens and promotes them instead, and approaches all with honesty and no ulterior motives. In this context, we do not seek any preferential treatment, but only the right to freely and independently make decisions about our future and relations with all who respect us.

Could Serbia pursue a different foreign policy than the one it is pursuing at the moment?

It is always possible to have a different policy, just look at the foreign policy of Serbia ten, twenty or thirty years ago, examine the results at that time and you will realize how irretrievably expensive that policy turned out to be. Whether a policy is right, at either foreign or domestic level, is measured through its results and effect on the lives of citizens and the fate of the entire state.

Our foreign policy priorities are not being defined on a whim, but are instead the result of a serious and deep examination of our complex position and strategic thinking about ways to improve it. Today, Serbia has a better international reputation and credibility than two decades ago, and the main reason for that is that our results have shown how serious and responsible we are as a country. That kind of credibility is not achieved by trickery, but only by hard and well-thought-out work on oneself. And I need to emphasize on this occasion as well that the main inspiration for such an attitude towards politics, the state and its future comes from none other than President Aleksandar Vucic. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, I have the opportunity on a daily basis to see the level of appreciation and respect President Vucic enjoys beyond the borders of our country.

When can we expect the vacant posts of Serbian ambassadors and consuls across the globe to be filled?

That is one of the main tasks for 2021. This will be a year of reinvigoration and I believe also rejuvenation of Serbian diplomacy. Our country, given its size, has a fairly extensive diplomatic network, which provides it with great opportunities for deepening political and economic relations with countries in all parts of the world. But we need more fresh and energetic staff, people who will be the most honourable representatives of a modern and dynamic Serbia. There are such people in Serbia, and we do need a serious rejuvenation, in order to avoid wide generation gaps in our personnel, and to lay the foundations of a modern career diplomacy.

How would you describe your relationship with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic?

President Vucic and I are, in addition to having close and friendly relations, by virtue of the work we do and our constitutional competencies, the closest collaborators in the realization of Serbia's foreign policy goals. This allows me to talk to him often, and on many occasions learn a lot of new and important things. President Vucic is a man who inspires people around him with his strategic and visionary approach to politics, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to be part of his closest team of associates over the years, and to have had him as a kind of political mentor. In any case, his vision of Serbia as a modern, progressive and prosperous state, which independently and on its own will decides on its destiny, is my wish as well and key motivation for political engagement. For only such Serbia is a country that its own citizens, as well as Serbs beyond our borders, can confidently rely on, while also being an inspiration to the entire region.

Source: Politika


 


Open call for the Co-Financing of projects for the Translation of Representative Works of Serbian Literature into Foreign Languages in 2021 - 22/01/2021

The Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia announces the open call for the Co-Financing of projects for the Translation of Representative Works of Serbian Literature into Foreign Languages in 2021, which will be open until March 09, 2021.

Competition texts and accompanying application forms can be found on the Ministry of Culture and Information website: www.kultura.gov.rs

For additional information about the competition, interested parties can contact Mladen Veskovic by email: mladen.veskovic@kultura.gov.rs  or by phone: +381 11 3398026.


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 minus of 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


 


Every Serb in the diaspora is potentially a lobbyist 03.01.2021

Our compatriots living abroad are one of the great potentials that the state has not recognized in the right way so far, which is why a different approach is needed to the issue of how to strengthen our diaspora and use the good will of people who are potential lobbyists for the interests of Serbia and the Serbian people, Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said.

"When it comes to Serbs in the diaspora, and especially in the region, this issue has been a kind of an unattended crop which requires a lot of work, and even when a lot is done at once this is not apparent immediately ", Minister Selakovic stated in an interview with Tanjug.

He emphasized that the appointment of the Director of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region for the first time after almost seven years since this body was formed within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shows that it is one of the priorities of the Ministry he is at the helm of.

Selaković notes that intensive efforts have been long underway on forming a plan to make the diaspora more visible both outside the borders of Serbia and in the mother country itself.

"Every person in the diaspora is a potential lobbyist for the interests of our country and people, and we need to find the right way to use that", he said.

That much can be done in that regar Selakovic illustrates with the fact that only in Switzerland, in 24 cities, there are Serbian cultural and artistic associations which amounts to more than 3,000 young people who get together in order to preserve our tradition, culture, the Serbian language and history.

"If they were able to set up such associations in 24 cities, it speaks volumes about the enthusiasm of these people. There is so much enthusiasm, energy and love in these people. We need to explore ways to help them and use their good will and potential", the Minister points out.

He also cites the example of an emigrant family in Canada, the Varaklic family from southwestern Serbia, who sends Christmas packages for children in the Raska region every year. He adds that they have so far donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to non-governmental organizations for those needs alone, but he says that we do not see that here.

"The state does not recognize this, and these are people who gained success as entrepreneurs working in a distant country, who can be serious lobbyists for Serbia, for Serbian interests, someone who represents us in the best possible way", Minister Selakovic said.

Minister Selakovic also pointed out that Arnaud Gouillon has been appointed as head of the Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region and described him as a man of extraordinary energy, great love for the Serbian people, which he showed in his engagement towards Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, where they were seriously endangered.

"By doing so, he showed and set an example to many of our compatriots of what an individual can do. And when one such individual focuses energy, enthusiasm and love for people, on work done within the state administration system, I think that the preconditions have been created for such activities to yield good results", Minister Selakovic said.

Source: Tanjug


Minister Selakovic: New ambassadors will be appointed this year, but the goals remain the same 02.01.2021

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


PRESIDENT VUCIC: SERBIA TO REMAIN ON THE COURSE OF A WINNING POLICY OF STABILITY

29 December 2020

Preservation of peace, taking care of the health and better living standard are key for Serbia in 2021, underlined President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic, convinced that even though the completion of this ambitious and by no means easy task will be anything but straightforward, best results can be achieved by working in concert with the Government, while ensuring security and a future of certainty for the citizens.

The President said that Serbia has set for itself great and ambitious goals for the next year, notwithstanding the complex international and regional circumstances, and that it will endeavour to fully preserve peace and stability in the region and the country, while safeguarding the vital national and state interests.

"Serbia will remain on the course of a winning policy - the policy of stability", President Vucic said and stressed that our country remains on the European integration path and that it will carefully foster its friendship with Russia and China, while building a friendship with the United States as well.

According to the President, Serbia will continue to pursue a winning policy, with the country itself as a top priority, i.e., a policy that will enable Serbia to continue being one of the top three countries in Europe in terms of growth rate in the next two years.

A precondition for that, the President noted, is to crack down on criminal groups, but also to ensure even bigger investments in the police and army forces.

"Serbia is the country that recorded the highest growth in Europe in 2020", the President pointed out at the annual press conference and added that he expects to conclude a new arrangement with the IMF, as well as that Serbia, by the end of next year or early 2022, will raise its credit rating to an "investment" one, which will put our country's rating on par with the most developed EU countries.

As the greatest success in 2020, Vucic noted that Serbia will end the year with the highest growth rate in Europe, which, as he said, is expected to be from minus 0.75 percent to minus one.

"I am proud to be the President of a country that is the European champion in terms of GDP",  Vucic pointed out and added that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also pleased with Serbia's success.


According to President Vucic, this result will encourage Serbia to accelerate its European path, while continuing friendships with those who did not turn their backs on Serbia when it was at its darkest hour, namely Russia and China.

The President pointed out that the activities to attract foreign investors will continue, then that work will be done on investments in agriculture, primarily the food industry, new machinery, and digitalization of agriculture.

President Vucic also emphasized that the goal is for salaries in the public sector to average between 560 and 570 euros by the end of the year. Only in Belgrade, the average salary would be around 700 euros. 

President Vucic reminded that the salaries of health care workers will increase by five percent from January 1, while the salaries of others in the public sector will increase by 3.5 percent and an additional 1.5 percent as of April 1, while corporal, private first class and non-commissioned officer army ranks will get an increase of an additional 10 percent. He noted that the minimum wage will be increased by 6.6 percent and so will pensions from January 1, by 5.9 percent, with the plan that the average pension amounts to 270 euros by the end of 2021. The President especially pointed out investments in health care, reminding that two new covid hospitals have been opened and that the renovation and construction of health facilities continues throughout Serbia, while stressing that Serbia is by far the first in the region in terms of hospitalized persons per 100,000 citizens, which is why it has recorded a low mortality rate , and also that Serbia this year has been among the top three countries in the region according to the number of PCR tests performed.

Speaking about tourism, the President said that, next year, efforts will be made on the development of the Danube basin region, from Apatin to Kladovo, that the Ovcar-Kablar Gorge will be developed, as well as our mountain centers.

Discussing the field of culture and information, President Vucic said that the implementation of the media strategy and the completion of the reconstruction of the National Theater in Subotica are important for next year, and he announced investments in museums, especially emphasizing the relocation of the History Museum to the train station building. He also stated that the floor heating in the Church of Saint Sava will be completed next year.

He pointed out that the state will continue to take care of our citizens in Kosovo and Metohija, that no one can forbid Serbia to help its people, and that Serbia will not give up on helping our people.

As he emphasized, Serbia is ready to send medicines and vaccines to the Albanian population as well, and pointed out that in the upcoming period our country will pursue a policy of peace in the region and will endeavour to cooperate with Zagreb, Sarajevo, Podgorica and others.