Address by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic at the Observance of Africa Day.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today’s date, 25 May, has always been of special importance to the Republic of Serbia, because on that date, our traditional African friends celebrate their Day.
In the past, we have also celebrated together the Day of Africa – with which Serbia, as the most prominent successor of Yugoslavia in terms of its policy on Africa, has had decades-long friendly relations – but for the first time, we have made an official decision to include 25 May, starting from this year, in the calendar of most important dates in a year, in the Republic of Serbia, in order to be closer together at your celebration.
For this reason, the Government of the Republic of Serbia has adopted, three weeks ago, the Decision establishing the Day of Friendship with African Peoples.
The Republic of Serbia is committed to the promotion of cooperation with African states and regional economic communities, and will contribute to the strengthening of political, economic, cultural and all other ties with them, in accordance with its possibilities.
Serbia has neither had in the past nor does it have today, any hidden plans in Africa and African countries, and is proud to highlight its initial advantage compared to many other countries, based on historical reasons, convinced that this advantage, accompanied by new ideas, should be utilized.
The proclamation of 25 May as the Day of Friendship with African Peoples is a symbolic way of additionally expressing this commitment.
The Republic of Serbia is pleased about the progress reached in the African continent and its roof organization – the African Union, where Serbia enjoys an observer status, and at whose summits its high officials regularly participate.
We have been following attentively the work of the African Union, and support the efforts made by the Organization and its Member States in order to achieve strategic African goals; ensure a peaceful and safe future, respect of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, eradication of poverty and diseases, preservation and strengthening of cultural identity, common heritage, values and morale, as well as political, economic and cultural unification of the continent, bringing the African family together and creating a strong, unified and reinforced Africa, as a global factor and partner, as contained in the African Union Agenda 2063. Africa and its peoples deserve such a place.
The Republic of Serbia supports close cooperation between African Union Member States, and believes that African problems must be resolved in Africa. We are pleased to see reconciliation of our friends; in this context, we welcome the return of the Kingdom of Morocco to African Union membership.
We are concerned, on the other hand that when our friends – and in Africa, we only have friends – do not understand, and have disputes between, each other. Therefore, we support all the initiatives launched by the United Nations, African Union, its Member States and regional economic communities, to the effect of ensuring peace in the continent.
We are particularly saddened by protracted conflicts in Africa and the plight of the inhabitants of many areas. Serbia would like to see an end to these problems at an earliest possible date, and will contribute to the realization of the vision of its African friends.
Serbia will continue to participate in peace-keeping missions in the continent, wishing that their number is significantly reduced in the future, as well as in humanitarian and developmental activities, and will continue to provide scholarships to African students for their studies at universities in Serbia.
As a small token of our concern for our African brothers and sisters, this month, the Government of the Republic of Serbia has allocated urgent financial assistance for several African countries that are facing drought and famine.
I would like to assure you that Serbia wishes to cooperate with all African states, in order to achieve – in agreement with African states and organizations – our friends, a benefit for all.
Long live Serbia, long live Africa!