Eulogy by Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, at the final farewell ceremony commemorating the tragically deceased Serbian Ambassador Oliver Potezica

Dear members of the late Ambassador’s family,
Dear colleagues and friends,
We have gathered here today to bid our last farewells to our dear colleague, Ambassador Oliver Potezica.

Ambassador Oliver Potezica was a man who never thrived on ideologies, but was one of those individuals pursuing ideals. A person without such priorities and values in their life would not have been able to author hundreds of texts and dozens of books. The Ambassador’s only ideology was his country; in his work, he was guided by state interests. Having reached professional maturity in the Foreign Service of SFRY, he also acquired the attributes of a career diplomat, a learned man, a brilliant connoisseur of the region where he spent almost all of his years of service, and of a collocutor held in high esteem by foreign diplomats.

They say that a good diplomat can talk to the kings, presidents and ordinary men alike, each of them feeling at ease talking to him. Oliver was a man of that mould: heads of state perceived Ambassador Potezica as His Excellency, in the true sense of the word; ordinary men saw him as a person who oozed warmth and humanity, and so they called him sefirah Oli, or simply habibi.

This spontaneity and informality in communication was pivotal for successful staff management at the Serbian Embassies where he was posted abroad. As the head of mission, he was attentive and considerate in respect of the work, family and personal issues of his colleagues, which is a feature that only adorns those who cherish true love for people and who are experienced, wise and self-confident enough. He attached special importance to continuous education. He liked to consult on different matters and to ask questions, as well as to pass on the knowledge he had gained.

He was Ambassador in Libya before, during and after Gaddafi was toppled, he organized evacuations of Serbian nationals from Libya; he was Ambassador in Jordan and Palestine at the time when war developments in the territories of the former SFRY and in Bosnia put a label on all things Serbian in that part of the world. At the beginning of his career, Ambassador Potezica was posted to Tehran, where he upgraded his knowledge about the Islamic world, thus becoming an exceptional analyst and chronicler of Middle-East affairs.

Those were the challenges facing his diplomatic missions, and there were many more blows. If we tentatively agree that a challenge is an objective problem that needs to be addressed, and that a blow is a problem in the same degree, but the one that is, as a rule of thumb, dishonourably tainted, gratuitous and fabricated, i.e. constructed by spin doctors and induced by dubious motives, then Ambassador Oliver Potezica was a record-breaker of sorts, not only by the number of countries he had been assigned to (considered difficult according to the UN classification of duty stations according to conditions of life and work), but also by the fierceness of the attacks he came under during the predominant part of his professional career, which peaked when his associates Sladjana Stankovic and Jovica Stepic got tragically killed in January 2016.

Dear family members, dear colleagues,

We are here to pay our last respects to Serbian Ambassador Oliver Potezica, who will always remain in our memory by his agile mind, his professionalism and tireless creative energy.

On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all the employees and on my own behalf, I would like to convey our most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ambassador Oliver Potezica.

May his memory live forever!