Preservation of peace is the absolute priority for any nation, Chargé d'Affaires of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Belarus Savo Durica said in an interview with BelTA. The Serbian diplomat spoke about the efforts in the country to preserve the memory of fallen Serbs, the importance of maintaining stability in the world and the region, and the Belarusian-Serbian cooperation, especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The diplomat noted that Serbia is grateful to Belarus for its principled support of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
4 August – Day of Remembrance in Serbia
"In the recent history of Serbia, the saddest day is certainly 4 August 1995. On this day, 4 August, the country observes the Day of Remembrance for Serbs killed and expelled in Operation Storm which was the most brutal operation in Europe after the Second World War,” the diplomat said. “During the operation, about 2,000 Serbs were killed, and 220,000 to 250,000 Serbs were expelled from Croatia, which was the largest ethnic cleansing on the European continent,” the diplomat said.
"Preservation of peace is the absolute priority for the Serbian people. Therefore Serbia is doing everything possible not to react to numerous frequent provocative messages in the Balkan region," he continued.
At the same time, Serbia seeks to develop cooperation with other countries on the principles of mutual respect, the diplomat noted.
Friendship of Serbian and Belarusian people
The diplomat emphasized that relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Belarus are based on long-standing friendship, as well as cultural, historical and spiritual affinity of the two fraternal peoples.
“Serbia is sincerely grateful to Belarus for its steadfast, consistent and principled support for Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Serbia highly appreciates Belarus' unwavering stance on non-recognition of the self-proclaimed Kosovo and the support provided to Serbia in international organizations on this matter,” Savo Durica emphasized.
“We are strongly committed to strengthening friendly and fraternal relations between the peoples of Serbia and Belarus,” the diplomat said. “We strive to develop cooperation in defense industry, parliamentary ties, and contacts in tourism, science and innovation. Cooperation in the field of culture and education is also important for maintaining friendly relations between our peoples. By the way, we are discussing a possibility to arrange the days of culture of Serbia and Belarus,” he said.
New cooperation prospects amidst coronavirus
According to the diplomat, in these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to maintain interaction between Belarus and Serbia.
“Taking into account the current state of things, including the coronavirus pandemic, we should take advantage of new opportunities to intensify trade and economic relations, which are of mutual interest for our countries.
Given the traditionally friendly relations between Serbia and Belarus, the economic and industrial potential of our countries, we are well positioned to develop bilateral trade and economic cooperation,” Savo Durica said.
According to him, the parties have been recently working on certain cooperation projects in a number of industries, in particular in agriculture, machine building, food and pharmaceutical industries. Work is also underway to set up joint ventures to supply goods to third markets.
Projects in construction and wood processing, projects to upgrade transport and utility systems are very promising, Savo Durica believes.
According to him, the intergovernmental Belarusian-Serbian commission on trade and economic cooperation and the chambers of commerce of the two countries have many years of successful cooperation.
He also mentioned the Belarusian-Serbian intergovernmental agreement on free trade of 31 March 2009, and the agreement on a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union and its member states on the one hand and the Republic of Serbia on the other, which entered into force on 10 July 2021. The Charge d'Affaires of Serbia expressed confidence that the agreement would make Belarusian-Serbian economic contacts even stronger.