Address by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic at the opening of the “Jubilee Years” Conference, marking the 25th anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Serbia and the State of Israel:
“Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased, as First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, to open this Conference – together with the Ambassador of the State of Israel in the Republic of Serbia – marking the 25th anniversary of the renewal of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Serbia and the State of Israel.
As a result of joint efforts, our own and of the Israeli side, Serbia will be hosting this week: our today’s Conference, the central ceremony to be held at the National Assembly, tomorrow, and some other cultural events celebrating the important jubilee of our relations with Israel. This offers an opportunity to look at the rich tradition of Serbian-Jewish friendship, which has endured the greatest historical challenges that both nations have faced, and to underline our shared forward-looking approach focusing on the further strengthening of our relations and cooperation, mutual understanding and our close ties.
Good relations existing between the two countries are reflected in the ever more developed political dialogue, more intensive economic cooperation and Israel’s investments in Serbia, as well as increasingly diversified cooperation in the areas of culture, education, science, technology, tourism, etc.
I would like to take this opportunity to point out in particular that Serbia highly appreciates the principled position of Israel concerning non-recognition of the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, which undoubtedly has a bearing on the quality and substance of our overall relations.
I further wish to emphasize that the first visit, on the Prime Minister level, in the history of the relations between our states took place at the end of 2014, when current President of the Republic, then Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic visited Israel.
May I also recall that, Serbia’s position regarding the issues of the Holocaust, restitution and planned projects, including the construction of “Staro Sajmiste” memorial centre, has attracted the attention of prominent world and US Jewish organizations. All in all, it can be noted, that our overall bilateral relations are on the right track, with the perspective of gaining in quality and content.
As the Serbian Foreign Minister, I wish to underscore that, for many years now, the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs have had very good cooperation, maintaining a regular dialogue in the format of bilateral consultations on all major bilateral, regional and international issues. This model of cooperation has been defined in a special Memorandum signed by the two Foreign Ministers in 2006. I would like to take this opportunity to note that the most recent consultations were held in Belgrade, last month, and that, in direct communication with our friends and colleagues from Israel the next consultation are scheduled to take place as early as the beginning of 2018. A contribution to the quality of our relations is, apparently, the professionalism and endeavours of the current Ambassador of Israel in Serbia and the Ambassador of Serbia to Israel, coupled with the performance of their predecessors in the past 25 years.
On this solemn occasion, I would also like to congratulate the Jewish people and members of the Jewish community in Serbia, Israel and across the world on Hanukkah, and to express my best wishes to all, on the occasion of this jubilee, for personal well-being, success and happiness, as well as for the prosperity of the relations and cooperation between the Republic of Serbia and the State of Israel.
Thank you for your attention.”