12 February 2020 National Assembly Speaker Maja Gojkovic and the Chairman of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
Gojkovic Heads Delegation to Russia at Session of Russia-Serbia Parliamentary Commission
The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic, heading the Serbian Assembly’s delegation to the Fifth Session of the Joint Cooperation Commission of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in Moscow, met today with the Chairman of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin.
Gojkovic said that the dynamics of the Commission sessions best testifies to the quality of the relations and strong mutual interest to expand and advance cooperation.
“On every meeting we have the opportunity to see our relations reach record highs and become the highest in history after more than 180 years” Gojkovic stressed at the beginning of the Commission session, praising the intensity of bilateral and especially parliamentary cooperation.
Gojkovic thanked the Russian Federation for the continued principled support on the issue of Kosovo-Metohija, especially at the multilateral level, stressing that with it the Russian Federation once again confirms its important role in respecting international law and the fundamental principles and objectives proclaimed in the UN Charter.
“The Russian Federation’s support for Serbia’s efforts to come to a sustainable and mutually acceptable solution in direct dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is invaluable for us”, said Gojkovic emphasizing the special importance this support gains in the face of Pristina’s series of violent and unilateral moves.
Speaking on the Commission session’s topics, Gojkovic said that the Serbian Assembly is ready and eager to work hard to make sure the agreements between the two countries, made in their mutual interest, be put into operation as easily as possible.
Gojkovic said that the Assembly recently ratified the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Handover of the Petersburg Page of the Miroslav Gospel to the Republic of Serbia and the Paintings of Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich to the Russian Federation which has enormous symbolic significance, and is soon to ratify the Free Trade Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the Eurasian Economic Union which will significantly add to the development of overall cooperation. Gojkovic added that the Parliament also fully supports energy cooperation i.e. project TurkStream, information and communication technologies and digital economy, and praised the renewed cooperation between the two countries in the domain of peaceful nuclear energy use based on tested and innovative technologies.
Speaking of cooperation in international parliamentary organizations, Gojkovic said that Serbia greatly values its cooperation with Russia at the multilateral level and stressed that the delegations of the Serbian Assembly will never vote for decisions aimed against the interests of the Russian delegation.
In that context, Gojkovic said that Serbia, confirming its sovereignty and independence of its international position grounded in principled policies, political independence and military neutrality, has never and will never impose sanctions against the Russian Federation and Russian people.
The Parliament Speaker also spoke about protecting historical memory and oppose heroization of Nazism in the context of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two, stressing that Serbia remembers the heroism of the Russian and Soviet volunteers and soldiers who fought along our units to liberate our country from occupation.
“Our common fight then and through the centuries, sufferings and victories oblige us to keep the memory of the sacrifices made for freedom”, said Gojkovic adding that Serbia is grateful for the gre4at sacrifices Russia had to make through the centuries not wanting to leave Serbia alone to face its enemies’ attacks.
“For years we have been commemorating our big battles and sacrifices, but, thanks to our courage, skill and dedications, victories as well. This memory is especially vivid in years such as this one when we celebrate 75 years of triumph over fascism, a big victory that decided the fate of the world”, said Gojkovic.
Gojkovic said that memory of the common fight is not the only reason why we have to preserve the truth about history, adding that today’s fights are different, fights for the very understanding of history, and warning that forcible revisionism does not only threaten memory, it threatens the survival of entire nations.
“A people that does not remember the past has no future”, said Gojkovic.
The Chairman of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin said that Serbia and Russia can thank for their dynamic relations to presidents Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and Aleksandar Vucic, adding that it is up to the parliaments to substantiate the agreements through the legislative process.
Volodin said that the results of the cooperation are visible, in the last year trade went up by almost 24% amounting to 2.3 billion USD in the first nine months of last year, but a lot has to be done to achieve the new goal – have the trade reach 3.5 million USD.
Volodin said that the Free Trade Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the Eurasian Economic Union will open new cooperation prospects in the Eurasian dimension and lend new impulse to what has been achieved so far.
Volodin said that the development of education and culture is an area of great interest.
Volodin congratulated Serbia’s upcoming Statehood Day with hopes for Serbia’s further development and wellbeing.
Volodin said that the Serbian people had greatly contributed to the victory against fascism, organized a big anti-fascist movement and the war claimed one in ten Yugoslav citizens, a total of 1.7 million people, more than half of them Serbs.
Volodin said that today we have to honour the memory of those who gave us the opportunity to build our lives and plan our future, and to do all we can to protect the memory of the role of the Soviet soldiers who gave their lives for freedom, to rid the world of fascism, adding that the attempts to negate their contribution are unacceptable.
Volodin said that Serbia and Russia view the need to keep historical memory the same and thanked Serbia for everything it does to keep the memory of the Soviet soldiers and officers who died in the liberation of Yugoslavia.
“We would like to thank the Serbian people for their care of the cemeteries and memorials where our soldiers are buried side by side, which is something that brings us even closer together”, said Volodin adding that we have to support one another today and do everything in our power to keep the memory alive.
To that end, Volodin suggested forming an Institute of Historical Memory in view of both the Serbian and Russian people’s enormous sacrifice. Volodin said that it would help bring us to together, now in the humanitarian and educational sphere, and take steps to protect the truth of the memory of those who died and to keep an objective view of that time. He said that, within parliamentary cooperation, launching this initiative is a step toward that goal and the Serbian Assembly Speaker supported the initiative.