Today at the National Assembly, the members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with the United States, with the help of the Association of War Volunteers 1912-1918 and their descendants, and the Association of famous Serbian diplomatic families, co-organised a presentation of the special edition of the “Volunteers’ Gazette”, in circulation since 1928, the oldest Serbian veterans’ journal, dedicated to the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the US, entitled “Serbs and Americans – 140 years later”.
National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic spoke at the presentation, stressing that Serbia and the US have enjoyed a very rich tradition of cooperation and friendship. Dacic added that this year we celebrate 140 years of diplomatic relations, a long tradition marked by, definitely, mostly alliance and friendship. “Of course, we have had some big setbacks in our relations, recently, in a period that we all remember, but our great duty to our ancestors, who considered each other close friends, is to find a way to move forward together and nurture that which has connected us throughout history”, stressed the National Assembly Speaker adding that “we have an even greater duty to the future generations to work on strengthening our partnership, because only through cooperation can both Serbia and America realise their most important interests.”
US Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey emphasised the importance of marking the 140 years of partnership between Serbia and the US, saying that throughout our common history the relations between the two countries have rested on common values. We were allies in both world wars, and today we share the same vision of Serbia’s future – to be safe, successful and part of the community of free European states, said Godfrey. He stated that the US is impressed by Serbia’s economic progress, expressing satisfaction that America’s technical assistance had in many ways contributed to that success because it has become easier and more attractive for US companies to do business here. Concluding his address, Ambassador Godfrey stressed that this anniversary is testament to the fact that the partnership between the two countries rests on the solid foundations of common interest and mutual respect and added that there is still a lot more to achieve together.
The Head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with the US Dragan Sormaz greeted the assembly on behalf of the 121-member PFG, the largest Friendship Group in the National Assembly. Sormaz stressed that this proves the MPs’ growing interest in improving bilateral relations with the US. He highlighted the importance of the jubilee, the 140th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, adding that the PFG would continue to work on improving relations with the US, in order to re-establish the alliance that existed at the beginning of diplomatic relations.
Sormaz then handed Ambassador Godfrey the "key to trust" and asked him to give it to State Secretary Antony Blinken.
Composer Marina Arsenijevic spoke at the presentation of the special edition of the “Volunteers’ Gazette” via a video link, and the participants watched a recording of the New York gala concert where she performed the song "Hajde Jano, kolo da igramo" with 140 members of the West Point Academy’s Band. The participants of the gathering also watched her performance of her own composition "Tesla's Rhapsody for Tesla's People".
The descendants of Nikola Tesla, Mihailo Pupin, Duke Stepa Stepanovic, members of the “Volunteers’ Gazette” Editorial Board, SUBNOR member, as well as students of the Faculty of Law who wrote essays for the jubilee issue of the Gazette, also addressed the gathering.