Monday, 3 March 2008

Fourteenth Sitting of the Foreign Affairs Committee

At the sitting on 3 March, the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee conducted an interview with the newly appointed Ambassadors of the Republic of Serbia to Montenegro and Hungary, Zoran Lutovac and Dejan Sahovic, before their departure for diplomatic duty.



At the sitting on 3 March, the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee conducted an interview with the newly appointed Ambassadors of the Republic of Serbia to Montenegro and Hungary, Zoran Lutovac and Dejan Sahovic, before their departure for diplomatic duty. The sitting was chaired by Dr Dragoljub Micunovic.

Talking about the priorities in his future work, ambassador Lutovac pointed out that his most important activity will be representing Serbia and protecting its interests in Montenegro, as well as the stabilisation and improvement of overall relations between the two countries. He said that bilateral relations with Montenegro are on a much lower level than expected considering tradition and mutual political, economic and familial connections. However, the ambassador stressed that the quality of the relations between the two countries in the nearest future will be determined by Montenegro’s attitude towards the Kosovo and Metohia issue.

Zoran Lutovac pointed out the importance of first stabilising, and then improving the relations between Serbia and Montenegro on all levels, reminding all present that Serbia’s relations with the opposition in Montenegro will be particularly delicate considering that the opposition parties strove for the preservation of the state community. Lutovac included the issue of dual citizenship among the most important open issues, adding that by October of this year the two countries should sign a bilateral agreement to regulate the issue.

Serbia’s newly appointed ambassador to Hungary, Dejan Sahovic, believes that Serbia’s relations with countries who acknowledge or will acknowledge the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo and Metohia are “put to a very grave test, particularly when it comes to relations with neighbouring countries and regional cooperation”. At the same time he expressed his expectation that Serbia’s relations with neighbouring countries in the upcoming period and its participation in regional cooperation will withstand this difficult test.

Ambassador Sahovic stressed that, out of all the neighbours, Hungary has gone the furthest in European and Euroatlantic integrations, adding that Budapest has expressed a wish to help Serbia on its way to EU integrations. He also said that Serbia has good relations with Hungary, adding that the Hungarian national minority in Serbia should be the specificity that enables a more intensive cooperation.

Sahovic emphasised that the relations between the two countries show an upward trend and that there are no open issues between Belgrade and Budapest, but also that Serbia should approach the cooperation with much more initiative, stating that Hungary is Serbia’s neighbour and strategically significant partner.

The Committee members went on to endorse the Bills on the Confirmation of the Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the State of Israel on the abolition of visas for the holders of diplomatic, official duty and other official passports, as well as the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria on mutual travels of citizens, submitted by the Government. In addition, they also endorsed the Bills on the Confirmation of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of the Republic of India on the abolition of visas for the holders of diplomatic and official passports, the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria on the opening the border crossing Petacinci (the Republic of Serbia) – Bankja (the Republic of Bulgaria), the Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria on the opening the border crossing Novo Korito (the Republic of Serbia) – Salas (the Republic of Bulgaria), the Convention between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of Romania on the renewal, marking and maintenance of the border line, border markings on the mutual state border, as well as the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention of 12 August 1949 on the Adoption of an additional distinguishing mark (Protocol III).

At the sitting, the Committee also approved the initiatives for the participation of the members of the Serbian National Assembly’s Standing Delegation at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in the meetings of the three committees of PACE, namely the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights in Paris, 5-7 March, Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population in Brussels, 6-8 March, and the Political Committee which will be in session in Paris, 11-14 March. The delegation of the National Assembly of Serbia will also participate in the session of the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Cape Town, 13–18 April.

In addition, several reports on realised visits and contacts of the Assembly delegations and members of parliament were also adopted.


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