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Selakovic: Special relations fostered between Serbia and Srpska

17 March 2021

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic met today in East Sarajevo with President of the Republic of Srpska Zeljka Cvijanovic.

On that occasion, the Head of Serbian diplomacy emphasized that the Republic of Serbia was essentially interested in a stable and peaceful region, because in the period of peace and stability it focused its activities primarily on economic development and good relations, aiming to establish the closest possible economic cooperation in the entire region.

Selakovic said that Serbia, as a guarantor and one of the signatories of the Dayton Accords, respected the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and its territorial integrity, but also that Serbia had an Agreement on special and parallel ties and relations with the Republic of Srpska, as a Serbian entity within BiH, while fostering special relations with the Serbian people in Srpska, but also in parts of the Federation of BiH.

"Along with a wise state policy, which has been promoted and implemented by Aleksandar Vucic, both as Prime Minister and today as President of the Republic, having serious collaborators and interlocutors here and in the Serb member of the Presidency of BiH Dodik and President of Srpska Mrs. Cvijanović, we focused the activity of Serbia primarily on our economic development, the reforms that have brought us the opportunity to have significantly lower public debt, lower unemployment rate and considerably higher average income, but also to be as Serbia the champion in terms of foreign direct investment level, even in the pandemic year, and to promote exactly that - a positive, good agenda, a good relationship", Selakovic said.

The Minister emphasized that Serbia would continue to behave in such a responsible way towards the entire region in the future as well, to appreciate and respect all its neighbours, striving for normal and principled cooperation with everyone, but also that it loved the Serbian people as its own, wherever they lived.

"We respect BiH in the same way, but the Republic of Srpska we love and we will continue to cooperate in this way with Srpska and the Serbian people in those municipalities of the Federation of BiH where they are a majority population. Until recently, it relied only on Srpska, and as of recent it can rely on both Srpska and Serbia, and in that way we show how by joint forces, efforts and energy we can achieve much, much more", Selakovic said.

Discussing the joint investment projects of Serbia and Srpska, the Minister expressed hope that this year it would finally be possible to go from Ljubovija to Bratunac over the new bridge "Bratoljub", to cross the border over a single border crossing but, as he pointed out, it was also necessary to embark on the next phase, namely the realization of common economic zones.

As he explained, one such zone was planned to be near the "Bratoljub" bridge, and these were projects, the Minister underlined, which would contribute to a more serious economic development of regions in Serbia and Srpska, which were so far completely neglected, unattended to and underdeveloped.

The Minister pointed out that there were many fields of cooperation, primarily in accordance with the Agreement on special and parallel relations between Serbia and Srpska, as well as under agreements from which Serbia and the entire BiH reap considerable benefits and advantages.

"Those who travel to Belgrade via Bijeljina can already see the first contours of the bridge being built in Sremska Rača, I am convinced that we will soon be able to see the route of the motorway under construction, but I would also like to say that this year, in fact, by mid-December and St. Nicholas Day, we expect to see in Serbia a finished section of the motorway that now goes from Belgrade to Preljina, that is to Cacak, and that it be extended to Pozega and thus closer to our western border, Uzice, Kotroman, Visegrad and the route of the future motorway that will lead to Sarajevo from that part of the country", the Head of Serbian diplomacy said.

Selakovic emphasized that he discussed with President Cvijanovic joint cooperation in the field of strengthening the Serbian diaspora, noting that Serbia was interested in protecting cultural identity and tradition wherever its compatriots, people of Serbian identity and consciousness lived, outside Serbia and outside the former Yugoslavia, while offering a number of opportunities to them, their children and families.

Furthermore, the Minister stressed, Serbia provided support to the Serbian Orthodox Church, which was working on the same task that would be jointly carried out in the future.

Minister Selakovic said that he was pleased to have met with the President of Srpska in the East Sarajevo administrative center, that he visited for the first time, and wished that each subsequent meeting be dedicated not only to plans for the future, but to first include a segment on what was realized, so that people would believe even more that everything that was said and done for a fact had realistic basis and a serious perspective.

President of the Republic of Srpska Zeljka Cvijanovic underscored that she was grateful to Serbia for its support to the Republic of Srpska in previous years, which, as she stated, included large donations that left a mark in each municipality, and particularly emphasized the invaluable help extended by means of a vaccines donation in the difficult period of Covid-19 crisis.

"In the period ahead, we will see how best to realize projects of importance to our citizens. I would like to thank Minister Selakovic for the visit, as we had a very constructive and successful meeting. The Minister has a very balanced attitude towards everyone living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as towards their needs. He is always a welcome guest in the Republic of Srpska, this has been the case and will remain so", Cvijanovic said.

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