Commitment to UN principles

BELGRADE - Presidents of Serbia and Belarus Tomislav Nikolic and Alexander Lukashenko underlined in a joint statement on Thursday commitment to the norms of international law and the UN principles and goals, pointing to a positive trend in overall cooperation between the two countries.

The presidents signed a joint statement on strengthening the central role of the UN in solving the entire set of issues related to preservation of the international peace and security, facing modern challenges and threats and peaceful solution of international disputes and conflicts.

It is with pleasure that the focus was laid on the consistent support of Belarus to Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the necessity of drafting a comprehensive compromise in terms of Kosovo-Metohija, the importance of the political dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with a view to reaching stability in the region, reads the joint statement.

The presidents agreed that they will work on expanding the two countries' cooperation in terms of regional association and initiatives.

Commenting on Serbia's forthcoming chairmanship of the OSCE in 2015, the two officials expressed the countries' readiness to expand cooperation within the organization in order to secure an equal and balanced dialogue on security issues and cooperation along with safeguarding the basic principles of the Helsinki Final Act and the consensus as the key principle of OSCE.

The presidents advocated for further increase of the OSCE efficiency.

The two officials expressed belief that a smooth, equal and constructive dialogue can contribute to settling international disputes and joint commitment to creation of conditions for such a dialogue.

The two presidents expressed satisfaction with the dynamic development of commercial and economic cooperation, and voiced their support to strengthening bilateral ties in relation to priority matters.

The priority matters include enhancing the volume and structure of trade and finding new areas of economic cooperation in order to boost the two countries' economies and raise the standard of living, they specified.

They underlined the potential of the Serbian-Belarusian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation as an efficient instrument of expanding cooperation in the machine building industry, agriculture, transport and energy sectors as well as food and wood processing industries.

The commission's potential can also be used for the development of industrial cooperation, successful functioning of joint enterprises, and realization of new projects in the territories of both countries.

The joint statement also stresses the significance of further strengthening of regional ties through mutual visits of delegations, a larger number of twin towns and partner cities, and joint participation in trade fairs and exhibitions.

The two presidents voiced their commitment to creating favorable conditions for establishing closer contacts between members of Serbian and Belarusian business communities, stronger cooperation between the two countries' chambers of commerce, scientific and technical cooperation and education.

Nikolic and Lukashenko pointed to trade and economic development potentials stemming from Belarusian membership in the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, underlining the significance of Serbia's free trade agreements with members of the Customs Union.

The adopted documents will contribute to further broadening of the legal basis for bilateral ties, they agreed.

Nikolic and Lukashenko welcomed the results achieved so far by the Serbian-Belarusian intergovernmental commission on trade and economic cooperation, the joint Serbian-Belarusian commission on scientific and technical development, and adoption of the Road map for the development of cooperation between the two countries.

The two presidents voiced their intention to ensure efficient realization of the agreements.

Lukashenko was welcomed in front of the Palace of Serbia with full state honors.

On arrival in Belgrade on Wednesday, Lukashenko laid a wreath at the Monument to the Unknown Hero atop Mount Avala near Belgrade.

Serbia has friends everywhere

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic stated on Thursday that Serbia has friends everywhere in the world, in the east, west, north and south alike, and added that the country does not interfere in any potential disputes of other countries unless it is specifically asked to provide advice or assistance.

Addressing a joint news conference after the meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, Nikolic noted that Lukashenko is Serbia's big friend and his personal friend as well, and that he was always the first to come to Serbia's aid when Serbia was having difficulties.

There are no obstacles between the two nations and they can only unite if the governments followed the wishes of their people, Nikolic said that Lukashenko and himself are acting in keeping with the wishes of their people.

The Serbian president recalled that Serbia and Belarus have endured major challenges and that they are joined together by common problems.

Serbia wants to become a member of the EU and Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Union and these two unions will never have a better connection than that shared by our two countries, he said.

Lukashenko noted that Belarus has always supported Serbia's territorial integrity and will continue to do so, and added that his country welcomes the efforts the Serbian government is investing in the normalisation of relations with Pristina.

We are willing to continue developing the friendly ties with Serbia, Lukashenko said and noted that Serbs will always be seen as a brotherly nation in Belarus and his country will always stand by Serbia's side in all difficult situations.

Noting that the two countries signed eight intergovernmental agreements on Thursday, he expressed the hope that this would contribute to the improvement of bilateral cooperation and added that Belarus is willing to open a joint company in Serbia if such interest is present in Serbia as well. He specified that the company would employ Serbs and a few Belarus and deal in export of their products on third markets.

Speaking about economic cooperation, Nikolic underscored that the two countries' economies are complementary but Serbia's industry has come to a halt and has lost a lot in the mindless rush to privatisation and through crime-abounding privatisation cases.

Belarus has managed to preserve its economy and Serbia has lost its economy and jobs, which is why the assistance Belarus promised in opening new jobs by creation of joint companies, joint holdings and joint presentation on third markets is so precious, Nikolic noted.

He warned that Belarus should not make the same mistakes if it at some point comes to face the challenges Serbia experienced.

By this, I primarily refer to the economy, agriculture, the attitude to the country's factories and the private sector, Nikolic noted and added that Serbia recklessly allowed for all of it to disappear before its very eyes and for thousands of people to lose their jobs and take to the streets without any means of existence and no future.

We are now trying to bring about improvements and any government which does not leave behind a better situation than it originally faced upon constitution has no right to tell the people that it functioned well, Nikolic stated.

Photo Tanjug/D. Stankovic