Official visit to the Republic of Slovenia

Statement by Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, President of the Republic of Serbia at a joint press conference by the President of the Republic of Slovenia and the President of the Republic of Serbia

Mr. President Pahor,
Esteemed media representatives,
Ladies and gentlemen,

President Borut Pahor and I have noted that the political relations between Serbia and Slovenia have reached a high level and that they exemplify an excellent bilateral cooperation in the regional context. The relations between the two countries are characterized by a developed political dialogue and by cooperation in many areas.

The region is faced with a severe migrant crisis affecting all countries alike. Serbia has approached the problem in a responsible manner, and made sure the migrants in transit were safely heading to the countries of their intended final destination. Adequate measures were taken to meet the essential needs of migrants for medical care, social protection and humanitarian aid, while respecting their human rights and dignity. The unfolding crisis could be alleviated owing to a consensus and an agreement on the EU level. The countries of our region have reacted in different ways. I take pride in the fact that Serbia’s crisis response was among the best possible. Unfortunately, some countries of the region were not ready to handle the problem adequately. We expect the European Union to make additional efforts towards ensuring that certain Member States act in line with international law, the UN Charter first and foremost, the Lisbon Treaty and numerous conventions, protocols and declarations.

Serbia is highly appreciative of the support Slovenia has offered to Serbia’s European integration process, particularly when it comes to the process of opening the first negotiating chapters without any additional requirements. Slovenia’s demonstrated willingness to provide its bilateral, developmental, technical and expert assistance is most important to us. The implementation of the bilateral Programme of Cooperation in the context of EU integration will give substance to our cooperation.

During the talks, I informed President Pahor that the admission of the so-called “Republic of Kosovo” to UNESCO is absolutely unacceptable to Serbia, on several grounds. First of all, the Serbian heritage is an inalienable part of the identity of the Serbian people, part and parcel of its history, its spiritual backbone. Secondly, its admission would be legally unfounded and would negatively affect the outcome of the planned expert talks, held within the framework of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, on the protection of the property belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church and on Serbian cultural monuments in Kosovo and Metohija. In their violent seizure of the Serbian heritage, the Albanians of Kosovo and Metohija are trying to falsify history and indirectly impose on the whole world some kind of a “Kosovan nation” under the guise of a universal fact. I asked my distinguished colleague and a dear friend, President Pahor not to give in to these pressures, to help us and try to understand our innate need to preserve our historical heritage. I drew the President’s attention to the paradox of the Albanians claiming that the monasteries belong to them, and that those same monasteries are guarded by KFOR and Kosovo police from them alone. Despite the fact that Slovenia co-sponsored Albania’s proposal that the request for Kosovo’s UNESCO membership be put on the agenda of the Executive Board and the fact that we held conflicting views on the issue of independence, I called on President Pahor to acknowledge Serbian arguments and urged that Slovenia took a more restrained stance in the future.

Serbia attaches great importance to the development of the economic relations with Slovenia, traditionally one of its major trading and economic partners and investors. President Pahor and I noted that the foreign trade exchange was stable and that we are to invest additional efforts with the aim of substantially enhancing the trade amounting to EUR 497, 8 million in July 2015. I drew President Pahor’s attention to the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement that Serbia had signed with the Russian Federation, European Union, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Turkey, and the possibilities of joint cooperation, be it joint production or additional subsidies for entrepreneurs and incentives for the investors.

When it comes to cooperation in the area of infrastructure, Serbia hails the Slovenian initiative to sign a Letter of Intent on the construction of the Alpine-Western Balkan railway freight corridor connecting Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey. Reconstruction of Corridor 10 is also highly important, as well as the development of the adequate railway infrastructure.

Finally, I would like to inform you that President Pahor and I will jointly unveil the monument to the globally renowned scientist Mihajlo Pupin and thereby additionally strengthen the friendship between the two peoples and our two countries.