The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic and the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska Nedeljko Cubrilovic opened the first session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia - National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska Cooperation Commission in Belgrade today.
Gojkovic said that the first session of the Cooperation Commission, based on the Memorandum on the establishment of the Commission, is the realization of goals and efforts expressed by the two institutions as the representatives of the citizens and a response to the needs and interests of our people in the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska.
The Serbian Assembly Speaker said that with each new challenge we have to again reaffirm our unity and readiness to work together to have the awareness and strength to prevail in the face of history’s whims.
As she said, Serbia and the Republic of Srpska will continue to invest joint efforts into preserving peace as the cornerstone of prosperity and the hard-won freedom that we will never give up.
Gojkovic said that the National Security Strategy of the Republic of Serbia recently adopted by the Serbian Assembly defines contribution to strengthening regional stability and advancement of good-neighbourly relations as Serbia’s lasting commitment ,which means the advancement of cooperation and stability in the region through infrastructure, trade and investment interconnection.
Gojkovic confirmed the full adherence to the Dayton Accords, the existence of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina and two entities with their authority, as well as the principle of agreement of the three constituting nations, absolutely principled, unchanged and without pressure. She said it is our strategic commitment to preserve the Republic of Srpska and continue to develop the special parallel relations with the Republic of Srpska.
Gojkovic said that it is in the direct interest of Serbia, Republic of Srpska and everyone in the region to oppose conflict, prejudice, unilaterality, double standards, as well as the dangers and outbreaks of fundamentalism, terrorism and violent extremism, with cooperation, dialogue and progress.
Speaking of parliamentary support for the development of economic cooperation and trade between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska, Gojkovic said that we are proud of our role and support for the investments in the Republic of Srpska, especially in the construction of infrastructure, and there is ample willingness for further engagement on projects such as the Bratunac-Ljubovija bridge, road to Bijeljina and many others.
“I would like to say that I am especially pleased that Serbia has, thanks to its own development, been able to help the Republic of Srpska by building schools, hospitals and kindergartens, as well as the compatriots in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We will continue to do so as long as the situation allows”, said Gojkovic.
Gojkovic said that Serbia urges for a consistent implementation of all the regional arrangements, such as CEFTA, despite unilateral moves, provocations and sanctions such as the 100% customs tariff on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Gojkovic thanked the Republic of Srpska and its representatives for their contribution to the support for Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Speaking of the cooperation on the protection of historical memory through joint commemorations of anniversaries, remembering of victims and construction and maintenance of memorials, the Parliament Speaker said that the centuries of fighting, suffering and victories oblige us to keep the memory of the countless victims alive.
“For a people that paid such a high price for statehood and freedom, the keepers of our history are not just the keepers of memory, they are the guardians of our identity and people in its entirety”, said Gojkovic.
Gojkovic stressed that for a people that survived and forever keeps in its historical memory, among many other things, the horrors of genocide in Jasenovac and the historically unbearable memory of the children’s death camp in Donja Gradina, the only of its kind in the world, revision of history is a revision of life.
The Assembly Speaker said that that is why we commemorate the great battles and sacrifices, as well as celebrate victories, stressing that we have to save our history from oblivion as well as falsification in the name of the future and peace, as well as historical survival.
“Serbia will not allow bias and double standards, skewed pictures and deliberate historical disorientation to endanger our people, its past and future at the same time”, Gojkovic stressed.
The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska Nedeljko Cubrilovic said that the Cooperation Commission is the highest and most comprehensive form of institutional cooperation of two parliaments, stressing that the cooperation between the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska the most important and concrete form of cooperation.
“Our two assemblies and their working bodies have been cooperating intensively and substantively in continuity: they meet, exchange experiences within their purview and discuss matters of common interest”, said Cubrilovic, thanking Gojkovic for visiting Banja Luka on several occasions and addressing the members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska at a special session.
Cubrilovic spoke of the two assembly speakers’ attending the celebration of Serbia’s Statehood Day in Orasac, an example of the continuity of joint commemoration of important events in the history of the Serb people in Serbia and the Republic of Srpska.
“That is how we cultivate and keep the culture of memory of our common history, sacrifices and national values, which is only natural because we are one people which, due to historical and geopolitical circumstances, now lives in different states”, said Cubrilovic.
Today’s session, he said, is an excellent opportunity to once again define our most important common topics, how to articulate them, to exchange experiences, advance cooperation and give concrete contributions to the realization of the potentials offered by the Agreement on Special Parallel Relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Srpska.
“Between us, there are no, nor can there be any, forbidden forms of closer connections and concrete types of cooperation. On the contrary, only when we are honest and open to cooperation can we achieve any better results”, said Cubrilovic.