The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic addressed the attendees of the 11th Class of the National Defence School “Vojvoda Radomir Putnik” Advanced Security and Defence Studies in study visit to the National Assembly.
THE FOLLOWING IS THE SPEECH OF THE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA IN ITS ENTIRETY:
Honoured attendees of the National Defence School,
Please allow me to welcome you to the National Assembly, I am happy to see you have included this study visit into your specialisation plan. As you know, with its two key functions – legislative and control, the National Assembly is one of the most important subjects in the Republic of Serbia’s defence system and learning about its operation is an unavoidable element in the specialisation of our highest echelon of officers.
It is here, in the National Assembly, that the most important decisions shaping our defence and national security system are made, setting up the chief normative framework for the organisation and actions of our institutions and bodies, which you yourself are one of the most important segments of as well. I would like to remind you that not that long ago, in December 2019, the National Assembly adopted two fundamental documents in the field – Defence Strategy and National Security Strategy, with which the Republic of Serbia clearly defined the framework within which its defence system acts, as well as the potential challenges to our sovereignty, territorial integrity and safety of our citizens.
With these documents, the Republic of Serbia has confirmed, at the highest level, its long-term national and state interests and the ways in which they should be protected, which primarily refers to the preservation of our state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our firm commitment to military neutrality lies at the heart of these strategic documents, receiving yet another confirmation as our political and social consensus. Our policy of military neutrality has proven to be the optimal choice for the realisation of our most important national interests and, which is also very important, this concept has been met with respect and esteem time and time again by the most influential international factors, who are often not on the same side.
Our commitment to military neutrality is proving to be the optimal choice for our national interests at a time of great destabilisation and military activities in Ukraine. We have every right to emphasise our military-neutral position in the current conflicts and to actively work on achieving a peaceful and diplomatic solution, because not so long ago we ourselves experienced the ravages of war due to NATO aggression. On this occasion, the Republic of Serbia received understanding and support for its principled position, both from the West and from the East, which best confirms the correctness of our decisions and attitudes over a long period of time.
As I have already said, the National Assembly is an unavoidable element in the overall functioning of our defence system and sees the Serbian Armed Forces as an important partner in its daily work. This is especially evident through the activities of our line committees, especially the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee, as well as the Security Services Control Committee. Of course, it is also closely connected with the other working bodies of the National Assembly which make decisions concerning our defence system, so that these issues are deeply embedded in our work and inseparable from the National Assembly’s competences. I would like to especially emphasise the importance of their function of civilian control over the defence system as a very important part of our democratic order, as set in the Constitution and laws. In this regard, the National Assembly is the starting point for all the decisions, regulations and practices that provide the framework for our defence and security capacities to perform their constitutional and legal role to the fullest.
I hope that in the continuation of your study visit and the talks you will have in the National Assembly, you will strengthen and improve your knowledge and previous experiences regarding the functioning of our defence system. We are at your disposal for any interest you may have, we have a rich archive, library and experts, and most importantly - we have a particularly open relationship with our Armed Forces, so you can always count on favouritism in the Serbian Parliament.
Thank you and I wish you a pleasant stay and successful work in the National Assembly!