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Selakovic: Cooperation and good-neighbourly relations are in the general interest of the entire region

17 June 2021

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Nikola Selakovic took part today in Antalya in the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South-East European Cooperation Process participants.

Selakovic underlined that the key foreign policy and strategic goal of our country was to achieve full membership of the European Union.

“I hope that the European Union will continue to support the process of integration of SEECP participants into the EU, which will, I am confident, bring lasting stability and prosperity to the region and help the consolidation and development of Europe as a whole”, Selakovic said.

The Minister pointed out that peace and stability had no alternative, representing the guiding star on the path of our region towards the European Union. Furthermore, he emphasized in particular that Belgrade was determined to resolve all open issues through dialogue and in good faith - as a responsible and predictable partner, and in line with the principles of international law.

“We need to make sure that what is agreed upon is also respected and fulfilled on the ground later on, because our agreements primarily concern the well-being of our peoples, but they also reflect who we are and what kind of future we want”, the Serbian Foreign Minister said.

Selakovic stated that Serbia devoted full attention to the promotion of regional cooperation and good-neighbourly relations, stressing that the strengthening of economic ties within the region also contributed to the relaxation of existing political relations.

“Through participation in various formats we have committed to undertake the necessary reforms and promote regional cooperation in numerous areas, and among them, as particularly important and being in the general interest of the entire region, I would like to underline the joint infrastructure projects in the transport and energy sectors”, Selakovic said.

As concrete positive results of regional cooperation, the Minister underlined the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), the Western Balkans Fund, the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, the Southeast Europe Transport Community, the Western Balkans Chamber Investment Forum, and the signing of the "Agreement on the Price Reduction of the Roaming Services in the Western Balkan region".

Selakovic commended in particular the establishment of “Green Lanes” in our region during the coronavirus pandemic, while pointing out that it was now necessary to enable their extension to border crossings with neighbouring EU member states.

The Minister also stated that Serbia welcomed the Common Regional Market Action Plan and added that this document was largely based on concrete proposals stemming from the initiative launched by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in cooperation with the Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia.

In addition, Selakovic emphasized that Serbia had demonstrated its commitment to enhancing regional cooperation with its neighbours in the region - by sending vaccine shipments and enabling vaccination in Serbia,

“So far, Serbia has sent 120,000 vaccines to the region and vaccinated around 65,000 citizens from countries of the region on its territory, which means that we have provided a total of around 200,000 vaccines for our neighbours”, the Minister said.

In his statement, the Head of Serbian diplomacy also touched upon the importance of the Regional Cooperation Council which, as a pivotal regional initiative, provided concrete results and contributed to achieving economic progress and deepening cooperation, and said that he expected that the implementation of the South East Europe 2030 Strategy, once it is adopted, would benefit our region.

Selakovic congratulated Turkey on its successful chairmanship and wished Greece every success as the upcoming chair.

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