2 April 2018 National Assembly Deputy Speaker Djordje Milicevic and the Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi Alain Aime Nyamitwe
Monday, 2 April 2018
Time to Strengthen Bilateral and Multilateral Relations between Serbia and Burundi
National Assembly Deputy Speaker Djordje Milicevic and the Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi Alain Aime Nyamitwe, currently in official visit to Serbia, discussed advancing cooperation across the board.
Djordje Milicevic greeted the Minister on the behalf of the National Assembly Speaker and himself stressing that the two countries have enjoyed a firm friendship since 1962 when the Republic of Burundi gained its independence. The Deputy Speaker said that Serbia is ready to advance bilateral and multilateral relations: “The visit of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic to Burundi and your return visit, Minister, are historic and follow a long period of no relations or cooperation”. Milicevic added that this is evidenced by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and the eight draft bilateral agreements.
The Deputy Speaker also thanked Burundi for the withdrawal of its decision to recognize Kosovo and for its stance on the UNESCO bid, stressing that this decision means great support for Serbia and its interests. The Deputy Speaker said that Serbia is all for constructive talks with Pristina in the interest of stability in the region, but unfortunately recent events could have a negative impact on the dialogue as well as regional stability. “The issue of Kosovo-Metohija is the issue of Serbia’s future, not a daily political issue”, said Milicevic.
Milicevic said that there is ample room to advance cooperation across the board in the fields of politics, military and economy, as well as culture, education and sports. He said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had launched proceedings to abolish visas for Burundi nationals, which demonstrates Serbia’s strong desire to strengthen ties with Burundi. He also said that the National Assembly had, both in the previous and the current legislature, established a Parliamentary Friendship Group with Sub-Saharan Countries which includes Burundi and that parliamentary ties are very important for the maintenance and strengthening of relations between the two countries.
Alain Aime Nyamitwe thanked the Deputy Speaker for the warm welcome and for Ivica Dacic’s invitation to strengthen the historical ties launched in 1962 after a long period that saw a lack of cooperation at almost all levels. The Minister confirmed that eight draft bilateral agreements in a variety of areas are in procedure and he hoped that the education one would be signed as soon as today. “It is time to let actions speak and show that the Government of Burundi is ready to cooperate with Serbia” said Nyamitwe. He also added that it would be good to, in the spirit of friendly relations, set up a Parliamentary Friendship Group with Burundi which would, among other things, prevent the influence of the Kosovo lobby on some of Burundi’s political parties. “Serbia and Burundi have the same powerful friends such as Russia and China, so I see no reason why Serbia and Burundi should not be friends”, said the Minister.
The meeting was also attended by MPs MA Igor Becic and Dr Vladimir Orlic who supported the constructive suggestions for cooperation and again highlighted the importance of the withdrawn recognition of Kosovo-Metohija which was received by strong support by the Serbian public.