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Minister Selaković: Serbia is committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative

Serbia is committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and its corresponding Strategy, as a framework within which we conduct activities that strengthen the European path of our country, all the while creating an even better place to live in together with the participating EU Member States, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selaković said at the video-conference of the Fifth Forum of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region.

"Despite the difficult challenges faced amid the coronavirus pandemic, during its Chairmanship of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative, Serbia succeeded in maintaining continuity in the implementation of the fundamental values adopted by signing the Ancona Declaration", Minister Selaković stated today.

The Serbian Foreign Minister said that our country was committed to the values of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII) and that when its assumed its yearlong Presidency of the Initiative and Chairmanship of the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, it had ambitious plans - first and foremost, Serbia had planned to continue to deepen cooperation in the framework of the Adriatic and Ionian region

The Minister explained that, through joint efforts, concurrently with the traditional activities, Serbia managed to continue pursuing the so-called new activities launched during the previous chairmanship.

"The process aimed at expanding AII participation demonstrated in last year’s Budva Declaration, and the admission of North Macedonia and of San Marino to membership of the Initiative successfully continued during the chairmanship of the Republic of Serbia too", Selaković said.

Minister Selaković pointed out that, during its AII Presidency, Serbia built on the experiences of previous chairs and that it closely cooperated with the incoming Slovenian Chairmanship, counting on the support and expertise of the Permanent Secretariat of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative seated in Ancona. The Minister thanked the AII Secretariat, on behalf of our country, for evaluating Serbia’s Chairmanship-in-Office in this report as “successful and dynamic”.

"We planned to bring the Serbian AII Presidency/EUSAIR Chairmanship to an end at the 5th Annual Forum and due to generous support of the European Commission and the extremely constructive approach of the current Chair – Slovenia, we are having the 5th Forum these very days", Selaković said.

The Minister pointed out that the pandemic had grown into an unprecedented threat to all of the participating countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and to the Adriatic and Ionian region as a whole, which is why they were all forced to impose protective measures, at the time when Serbia, fully supported by the AII Secretariat, had already carried out 17 out of the 35 activities envisaged in the chairmanship Calendar of Events.

"The pandemic happened just as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, having become a regular member of the Forum of the Adriatic and Ionian Chambers of Commerce at the beginning of Serbian chairmanship, was ready to organize a number of events aimed at the solidification of our mutual cooperation", the Serbian Foreign Minister underlined.

Minister Selaković concluded his statement by expressing unequivocal readiness for further cooperation with all participating countries of the Adriatic and Ionian Initiative and wishing the Slovenian colleagues a lot of success in implementing the tasks envisaged during their current Chairmanship. Belgrade, 28 January 2021

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