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Selaković invited representatives of members of the NAM to gather in Belgrade in October

13. July 2021.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, spoke at the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) today and on that occasion sent an invitation to the representatives of the members to gather in Belgrade on 11 and 12 October, when the 60th anniversary of the first Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Belgrade in 1961 will be marked.

Selaković informed the participants of the conference that Serbia would organize this important jubilee of non-aligned countries together with Azerbaijan – which is currently chairing the NAM.

In his address, Selaković reminded that the former Yugoslavia and President Tito, as co-founders of the Movement, gave their contribution to creating a vision of a different world, and that Serbia, as one of the successors of Yugoslavia, is proud of that part of its history.

"The spirit of non-alignment is based on equality, freedom, lasting peace, sovereign equality of states and peaceful cooperation of all peoples, and these values are also woven into the state-building foundations of Serbia", the minister said.

Selaković said that the Non-Aligned Movement throughout its history has been a beacon of freedom to all those who sought the right to existence and prosperity in a world that was often ruled, not by the force of law, but by the law of force. He assessed that even today we find ourselves in times of serious global challenges in which the Movement has the opportunity to reaffirm its libertarian traditions and commitment to a world of equals.

"Serbia, as a militarily neutral and politically independent state, will give its most sincere contribution to such goals of the Movement. We hope that by strengthening mutual ties and cooperation, as a group of states and peoples that share the same values and interests, we will strengthen our common capacity to face the challenges of tomorrow. And the challenges are already before us", Selaković pointed out.

The Minister emphasized that international law should be a pillar of political and security architecture of the world, and added that Serbia respects the commitment of the members of the Movement towards the goals and principles of the UN Charter.

"Many members of this movement are aware that by insisting on international law, they are working in their own favor and in favor of preserving regional and global stability," the minister pointed out.

Selaković also said that the COVID-19 pandemic clearly showed that inequality, lack of solidarity and empathy in the world have become very obvious in the roughest way.

"Serbia is eternally grateful to all the countries which, such as Azerbaijan, helped us in difficult times. We later extended that chain of solidarity by making vaccines available, not only to our

citizens, but also to others in the region. We supported our neighbors with the belief that solidarity is the best investment in a common future", the minister concluded.

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Selaković: India is a great friend and an important partner of Serbia

12. July 2021.

Today, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nikola Selaković, received the Ambassador of India, Subrata Bhattacharjee, for a farewell visit.

Minister Selaković said that Serbia sees India as a great friend and important partner and that we are proud of the fact that the two countries have a decades-long tradition of friendly ties and cooperation, based on full mutual respect and understanding.

Selaković also expressed satisfaction with the exchange of visits at a high and highest level, expressing hope that the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, will soon have the opportunity to visit Serbia, as well as that the visit would be of historical significance.

The head of Serbian diplomacy thanked India for its principled position on non-recognition of the unilaterally declared independence of the so-called Kosovo, and underlined that this position shows India's firm commitment to respecting the basic postulates of international law. Also, Selaković thanked for the support that India provides to us in international organizations.

Speaking about economic cooperation, the Minister pointed out that the corona virus pandemic did not affect the trade exchange, which in 2020 amounted to around 175 million euros.

Also, Selaković said that the Joint Committee for Economic Cooperation between the two countries, whose fourth session we expect in the coming period, is of great importance for the further development of economic relations.

When it comes to the fight against the corona virus, Minister Selaković thanked India and its leadership for the quick response to the request of Serbian officials to enable the procurement of vaccines produced by India, thanks to which Serbia already received the first doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in February.

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Source: Tanjug


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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

09. June 2021.

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!


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