Selakovic: Perfect bilateral relations between Serbia and Spain

04. May 2021.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nikola Selakovic met today, as part of his official visit to the Kingdom of Spain, with Minister of Foreign Affairs of that country, Arancha González Laya.

On that occasion, the Head of Serbian diplomacy said that the bilateral relations between the two countries were perfect and pointed out that Serbia was grateful to Spain for its support in preserving its territorial integrity and on the path towards the EU.

"We would like to have more visits and our excellent political relations translated to the economic field", Minister Selakovic said in Madrid, emphasizing that Spain's support in international forums and organizations would remain in the hearts of Serbian citizens as a strong and principled one.

The Minister pointed out that economic cooperation was an area in which more could and needed to be done, supporting the initiative of Minister González Laya to hold a Serbian-Spanish business forum as soon as possible, in order to attract companies and to start cooperation in the economic sphere as well as in the political field.

Furthermore, Minister Selakovic noted that there was a lot of room for deepening the cooperation between the two countries in the field of culture.

"After the re-establishment of direct flights, we should try to establish a good practice of cultural cooperation between cities and cultural institutes",Selakovic said and invited González Laya to visit Serbia.

Selakovic also said that regional issues were also discussed in the conversation with his Spanish counterpart and that Spain was ready to support the region's efforts to make progress on the EU path, in the accession process.

The head of Serbian diplomacy pointed out that there was no room for an approach in which the EU would set a condition for Serbia for admission that no other country had had, and stressed that Serbia did not expect the EU to ask it to recognize the so-called "Kosovo", but to instead put pressure on Pristina in order for it to fulfill its obligations arising from the Brussels Agreement.

Selakovic said that five of the 27 EU countries did not recognize the so-called "Kosovo" and added that, in addition to Spain, these were Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece and Romania and that the EU did not have an official position on the Kosovo issue.

The Minister noted that Belgrade was committed to the dialogue with Pristina, which it saw as the only possible solution and the only way to find a political and diplomatic solution while respecting international law and the national interests of Serbia and Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.
"I am certain that there is no room for such an approach in which Serbia would be a country faced with a condition that no one had. Serbia's official position is that only a compromise can be the only sustainable solution, in which both sides will get enough and neither will get everything", Selakovic said.

The Serbian Foreign Minister stressed that the approach according to which Serbia must give everything without getting anything, even respect for its national interests, was not acceptable.

Recalling that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina lasted for 10 years already and that the first Brussels Agreement was reached eight years ago, Selakovic pointed out that Belgrade had fulfilled all its obligations but that Pristina never even started fulfilling the only obligation it had - to establish the Community of Serb Municipalities.

"The dialogue was facilitated by the EU, which continues to be the case. We expect the EU not to ask us to recognize the unilaterally declared independence of the so-called "Kosovo", but to put pressure on Pristina to fulfill the obligations it undertook within the dialogue", Selakovic said.

Discussing the situation related to the pandemic, Minister Selakovic said that he hoped that it would soon change for the better owing to vaccination and that citizens would be able to travel again.

"I hope that the situation will change soon and that we will see that we have healthy citizens after the immunization. It is important that we have asafe ground and that citizens can travel safely", Selakovic said and expressed hope that direct flights from Belgrade to Madrid and Barcelona would be established as soon as possible.

The Minister added that he informed his Spanish colleague about the agreements on the recognition of covid certificates that Serbia had with some EU Member States, such as Hungary and Greece.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain Arancha González Laya pointed out that Serbia could count on the sincere support of Spain in terms of preserving its territorial integrity and that Spain would maintain its principle not to recognize "Kosovo".

"We have defended that position so far, we are doing it today and we will continue in the future", González Laya said and emphasized that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija should be resolved in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

"We must support this dialogue even more resolutely as a way for a peaceful solution to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija", the Spanish Minister said.

She underlined that Spain supported the European path of Serbia, which was its friendly country, and encouraged it to continue implementing reforms on the path towards the EU.

"Serbia is a friendly country in the Balkans, a region to which Spain attaches great importance and intends to give it even greater importance in the period ahead", González Laya said adding that the bilateral relations between Serbia and Spain were good but that there was a desire for them to be even better.

González Laya pointed out the desire to have the Spanish language taught in schools in Serbia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain also said that she had discussed with the Serbian Foreign Minister the efforts of her country and the EU towards making progress in the accession negotiations of Albania and of North Macedonia, as well as the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which she assessed needed to be stable in order to continue approaching the EU.