Apr 21, 2021, 9:01 AM
Journalist ID: 1844
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Serbian FM wishes success for Iran in Vienna talks

Tehran, April 21, IRNA – Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković reiterated his country's support for Iran's nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and wished success for Iran in the Vienna talks.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with IRNA, Selaković said: "I would like to express and it was our position of supporting the nuclear agreement which was made between Iran and Western countries."

"I am also taking this opportunity to express my hope that you are going to find the re-agreement as soon as possible," he added.

"I think it is really important not only for your country but for the region and for the entire world," he noted.

Referring to his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, he said: "I was informed yesterday by my dear colleague foreign minister of Iran about the talks in Vienna and I just want to tell you that we are wishing a lot of luck to you to make success in these talks."

"Parallel with this Serbia is having the dialogue with Pristina regarding Kosovo and Metokia and I would like to express once again our gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran for its permanent and principled continuous support for Serbia," he reiterated.

Selaković arrived in Tehran on Saturday.

During his stay in Iran, Selaković met with President Hassan Rouhani, Speaker of Majlis Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, and some other senior Iranian officials, as well.

Elaborating on the outcomes of his trip to Iran, he said: "All the meetings were really good and really fruitful."

"Two countries the Republic of Serbia and the Islamic Republic of Iran are two friendly countries which are having very good political relations and which are giving to each other the mutual political support for the international fora," he noted.

"The Republic of Serbia is respecting the Islamic Republic of Iran as the country which is using its rights to the sovereignty and free choice of its future and the way of its development, Serbian foreign minister reiterated.

"As well as the Republic of Iran is restoring the respect to Serbia through the support given regarding our territorial integrity, sovereignty and especially regarding all the efforts made by the government of Serbia to solve the issue of Kosovo and Metokia peacefully and diplomatically," he emphasized.

In answer to a question regarding the MoU signed by Iranian and Serbian foreign ministers, Selaković said: "It was a really good sign for two countries that we have signed yesterday."

"This MoU is actually defining our mutual will to restart our political consultations and it would be our pleasure to host our delegation as soon as possible in Belgrade and to profound our cooperation through these consultations," he noted.

"There are different prospects of our cooperation defined in the MoU and I think that it is just a formal legal basis for [making] profound our future relations," he said adding: "We have also been talking about something really significant for the cooperation between two countries and these are preparations for the following 16th session of the joint governmental committee in charge of the economic cooperation between two countries."

Selaković further said: "I strongly believe that as soon as the epidemiological conditions are going to allow us to hold this session and after that to define the strict tasks in which we have to work and to be active together in [making] profound economic [ties] and also the cooperation in all other social fields such as the culture, tourism, medicine, health protection and exchange of experiences especially now in the period of COVID19."

When asked about Iran-Serbia joint cooperation in fighting COVID19, the Serbian minister first elaborated on the measures taken by his country in combating the pandemic, saying: "I had the opportunity to inform His Excellency President Rouhani about all the measures we have taken in the previous period in the Republic of Serbia regarding the preservation of the public health of our population and regarding the combat against the COVID19."

"I would like to take this opportunity to give you brief information in this field. First of all, I would like to emphasize that at the real beginning of the COVID19 pandemic the Republic of Serbia after the initiative of our President Aleksandar Vučić has established two separate working groups on the state level one was dealing with all these medical issues so with medical treatment of all the people infected by corona and also with everything dealing with preservation of immunization of our citizens."

"That group was led by the prime minister and the other group was led by our president it was the especially working group in charge of the preservation of our economic system and the economy," he went on to say.

"We are proud of the fact that our country, the Republic of Serbia has succeeded to be as one of the best European countries in the fight against COVID19 that means that first of all we are succeeding to have one of the lowest death rates in the broader region second of all that we have procured enough vaccines to start the vaccination for our population and at this particular moment we can say proudly that we have succeeded to vaccinate more than one-third of our adult population and [the] the third issue which was made recently only a few days ago is that we are the first southern European country which has succeeded to start the vaccine production hanks to the help of our Russian friends."

"So from four days ago in Belgrade we have started the production of Russian anti-COVID19 vaccine. Something that we are really planning to do with our Chinese partners and from the middle of October this year we are hoping to establish the production of the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm," he said.

"Our plan is till the end of this summer to complete the vaccination," he stressed.

He then emphasized that he had conferred with President Hassan Rouhani, Iranian Parliament Speaker, and his Iranian counterpart about the possibility of communication and transfer of experiences from the Serbian institute for vaccination.

Commenting on the prospect of relations between two countries, Selaković said: "First of all I would like to emphasize that the political relations between two countries are at a high level."

"We have to give our best to transfer this tendency of good political relations to the economic field," he noted.

The Serbian minister continued by outlining some similarities between Iran and Serbia, saying: "We are both countries which are having a huge number of neighbors such countries need to govern their foreign policy in a specific way."

"Also I would like to say that the Republic of Serbia is of rare world countries which is having good relations with all countries in the Persian Gulf. And we are proud of that fact," he added.

"In spite of the fact that we are facing with one the most terrible diseases of the modern age such as COVID19 pandemic we have to work on our mutual projects," he said

"Once the pandemic wants to come to an end then we have to continue our cooperation so we have to use this period of time to prepare ourselves," he stated.

Elaborating on cultural commonalities between Iran and Serbia, Selaković said: "There are more than one thousand words in the Serbian language which are coming from the Persian language and not so many Serbs are aware of that fact."

"During my stay here I was speaking with some of my hosts giving them a small souvenir from Serbia and we call it [the same as what you call in Iran], he went on to say by bringing a real example.

"So this is a similarity between two countries and two cultures which can be used a good base for the improvement of relations," he reiterated.

"I think we can do much more to connect out cultural societies, artists in different aspects of art to show that there are similarities between two cultures in spite of a great geographical distance between two countries," Selaković, noted.

"There are many traditional customs between our two nations which are not only similar but they are somehow completely the same."

"Not so may Serbs and Iranians know about this but it means that we can find a good way of mutual understanding," he stated.

A day before the interview, Selaković had the chance to walk in the street leading to the hotel so he was asked to give his opinion about what he experienced about everyday life in Iran. He said: "I adore the Iranians hospitality and I was delighted to be your guest that warm hospitality was shown to me that is something that I will remember for a long time and there are some details really significant that is something that will stay in my memory for all the life."

"I have seen in one part in Tehran downtown one big basket with Easter Eggs and as a Christian Orthodox preparing for fasting," he added.

"This similarity in our spiritual life is also something significant I think that our two countries have inter-religious dialogue and it is very important that we are keeping this dialogue and this ties, he reiterated.  

Selaković commented on the Serbian government's position with regard to hosting migrants from the Middle East and other parts of the world, saying: "During the last few years when Europe was actually under the way of migrants coming from the Middle East and Eastern countries to Western Europe."

"Serbia was one of the countries mocked as the best in the treatment showing to migrants just to mention that fortunately during the 90s Serbia was the country worldwide with the biggest percent of refugees which were accepted there," he added.

"Almost 10% was about of all population were refugees, he noted.

"During the terrible COVID19 pandemic, we started the vaccination process for our citizens and together with our citizens, we have been vaccinating all the migrants in our territory."

Regarding Iran's role to safeguard the region, Selaković said: "Of course that the issue of Middle East is not simple on the contrary it is a very complicated issue as I have already stated we are hoping that you are going make a new agreement in Vienna and that these negotiations are going to be successful."

"I think it is of the key importance for the region and for the future of your state as well," he added.

"An on the other hand one we are one the rare countries which is having really good friendly relations with almost all the countries from the Persian Gulf," he noted.

"We are proud of that fact and what we are doing in the future is paying special attention to our relations with all these countries," he reiterated.

"Finding a solution which is going to push all the region must faster in the future is of the key importance not only for your country and neighboring countries but also for the broader region and as the country which is always devoted to the peaceful solutions but also as a country which has passed through the terrible period of sanctions during the 90s I can say that we are the one wishing a lot of luck and to all your neighbors to make success," he stressed.

Elaborating on the process of EU membership in the EU, he said: "As you well know, the Republic of Serbia is a state which is devoted to its European part we are having an accession dialogue with the European Union and we are taking a lot of social and economic reforms in our country for the purpose to become a member state in the European Union."

"Serbia is a participant of the Western Balkans which is devoted to the European Union integration process and we are hoping that during this summer we are going to continue opening new clusters in this negotiation process," he added.

"Of course the process is not an easy one we have to do many things in this process also there is a consensus needed in the European Union for the future advancement in the future dialogue between Serbia and the European Union."

"The fact which is differing Serbia from other states of the region is that we are the only one proclaimed military neutral country," he stated.

"So all the other more or less are wishing to have membership in NATO but Serbia is not wishing to do that."

Commenting on the outcomes of last year's meeting in Washington in the presence of former US President Donald Trump, Selakovic said: "It is for sure that we have made efforts to relax our political relations with Pristina through the improvement of our economic relations."

"But unfortunately, we could see in the last few weeks that the new leadership from Pristina is actually behaving in a way that they are not interested in the implementation of the agreement made in Washington DC," he added.

Elaborating on the Serbian government reaction to the recognition of Kosovo partition by the Israeli regime, Selakovic said: "We are not happy about that fact we have been in the position for many years that to have good relations with the state of Israel."

"They have chosen this fact to recognize separatism of Kosovo Albanians and it was not something well receipted in Belgrade," he added.

"We are going to see what is going to be in the future relations but it is not a simple issue."

"It was the choice of the state of Israel they know what are the reasons for this."

"Our president stated publicly after the Washington DC agreement that if the state of Israel is going to show respect to Serbia we are going to take special attention," he noted.

"Serbs are not going to forget that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not recognized and is not recognizing separatism of Kosovo Albanians," Selakovic reiterated.


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