Address by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic at the opening ceremony of the XVIII Congress of the International Federation of Studies of Latin America and the Caribbean (FIEALC) at John Nesbitt University:
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am honoured and very pleased to address you today, at the opening of the XVIII Congress of the International Federation of Studies of Latin America and the Caribbean, the first world congress dealing with Latin American studies, in our region, whereby Belgrade has proudly joined Busan, Antalya, Rome, Osaka, Moscow, Tel Aviv and Paris, among other towns which had the opportunity to host this meeting of high academic importance.
I particularly wish to thank the organizers, the Geo-economic Department of John Nesbitt University, for their hospitality. In line with the goals of the Federation, I expect that prominent Congress participants will make an important contribution to the broad exchange of knowledge and experiences related to Latin American studies carried out in their institutions, thus promoting their interdisciplinary character.
Let me wish a warm welcome to our distinguished guests, Vice-President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia Alvaro Garcia Linera, and Minister of Culture of Paraguay Fernando Griffith, whose valuable perceptions and experiences will provide us with a direct insight into the current trends, both in scientific and official approach to overall political, social and economic developments in the multicultural world of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Republic of Serbia has traditionally attached great importance to the development of relations with the states of the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, marked particularly by cooperation at the time of the Non-Aligned Movement, as a complementary dimension of our foreign policy engagement, where our full membership of the European Union is the foremost priority.
We are interested in pursuing a regular and intensive political dialogue with the regional states, respecting their growing political leverage on the international level and their economic potential, in the framework of which we attach particular importance to establishing regular contacts at the inter-parliamentary level. Among the priorities in further intensifying the overall relations is the continuation of successful multilateral cooperation, aimed at achieving effective results in international organizations and institutions, where support of issues vitally important to the Republic of Serbia plays a special role.
The complementarity of our relations is based on our concerted efforts to defend the fundamental principles of international law and the United Nations Charter, firm commitment to dialogue as the essential way of overcoming all outstanding issues – reinforced and enriched by profound understanding.
In line with the commitment to promote the friendly relations, as well as economic and other forms of cooperation with partners throughout this continent, the Republic of Serbia endeavours to actively participate in the work of regional organizations where it enjoys an observer status – Organization of American States, since 2000, the Association of Caribbean States, since 2012, and the Central American Integration System, since 2015.
The Republic of Serbia accredited its Ambassador to the Central American Integration System, in January 2017, while it has been continuously working on increasing the level of its current activities in these organizations, by following and analysing devotedly the developments in the region, to the effect of providing appropriate support to the real needs of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, primarily in the areas of integrated development, consolidating democracy, facing the consequences of climatic changes, as well as the fight against organized crime. Regarding the intensifying of relations in the areas of culture, science and education, we are pleased that a large number of students from Latin America and the Caribbean are taking part in the “World in Serbia” scholarship project, an important endowment of our country, providing also for the establishment of close ties of friendship for the future.
Serbia is interested to strengthen economic cooperation which is lagging behind the real possibilities, and primarily to increase trade volume and reach a trade balance (in 2016, Serbia’s exports to Latin American and Caribbean states amounted to 31.2 million US dollars, while the imports were at 201.05 million US dollars).
Serbia’s goal is to improve economic cooperation with and attract investments from Latin American countries, by creating a favourable environment and utilizing the existing contractual frameworks and by opening new avenues in this respect. After upgrading the contractual framework for bilateral cooperation through rapid completion of negotiations aimed at finalizing agreements whose adoption is underway, Serbia is ready to focus, in the upcoming period, on defining specific projects in agricultural, energy, military-economic and infrastructure sectors, which could, at a later stage, result in a more intensified economic cooperation.
Thank you for your attention, and I wish the Congress participants a fruitful exchange of views and success in their work.”