Predrag Tomić, PhD, Honorary Consul of the Republic in Armenia to Serbia: A lot of space for enhanced cooperation – Excellent understanding, great potential

Armenia and Serbia are two countries connected with same religion, tragic destinies, and skillful and cordial people. The cultural connections date from the early Middle Ages, improved by the Armenian architects in the Serbian mediaeval kingdom bringing details of Armenian origins to Moravian style. Later on, significant minority of Armenian traders had a great influx to Serbian cities, especially Novi Sad and Belgrade. Now, again two countries are independent, but the economical, diplomatic and cultural relations are not enough developed. We talked to the Honorary Consul of the Republic in Armenia to Serbia, Mr Predrag Tomić, PhD abot the potentials of further cooperation.

 Armenia and Serbia do not hold embassies in other’s side territories, but only honorary consuls. Since there is a great understanding between the two nations and a friendly relatins, isn’t it a paradox?

 On April 12, 2012, the Republic of Armenia opened the Consulate for the first time in Belgrade, with me as the Honorary Consul. The Republic of Serbia is diplomatically covered by the Embassy of the Republic of Armenia in Athens, Greece and the Ambassador Mr. Fadey Tsartsoglian is the Ambassador for Serbia with a residence in Athens. Also, the Ambassador of Serbia in Athens, Mr. Dušan Spasojević is at the same time the Serbian Ambassador to Armenia with his residence in Athens. The Honorary Consul of Serbia in Armenia is a famous poet and translator Mr. Babken Simonjan. Taking into account the excellent friendly inter-state relations between Armenia and Serbia, it can be expected that the diplomatic missions of both countries will soon rise to an even higher level.

Whan can we do to enhance the relations between our countries, in both political and economical as well as cultural sense?

There are several ways to improve the mutual relations between Armenia and Serbia. First of all, it is the promotion of economic cooperation between the two countries. In order to achieve this in March 2014 with the help of the Armenian consulate in Belgrade, the Business Forum Armenia-Serbia was held in Yerevan, with the participation of 13 Serbian and 25 Armenian companies. Business Forum was opened by the then-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Ivan Mrkić. The result of the Forum was the following: the foreign trade of Armenia and Serbia has increased five times. As far as cultural cooperation is concerned, there were lots of incentives. As organized by the Consulate of Armenia in Belgrade from 21-28. March 2013 in the Russian Home, (Russky Dom) the exhibition of photographs titled “Armenian Biblical Land Below Ararat” by the world-renowned Armenian artist Zaven Sarkisjan, director of the Parajanov Museum in Yerevan, was open. An exhibition was lasting 7 days and it had an extraordinary number of visitors and there was an undisclosed satisfaction for the visitors who saw it. At the Documentary Film Festival in Belgrade, on the October 15, 2016, the film “The Traces of War” was featured. It was a work of the famous Armenian producer David Safarian and it was shown at several World Festivals winning many first prizes. Although the title mentions the war, the film has a message of peace because it talks about the daily life of the Armenian people in Nagorno-Karabakh and their great desire for peace.

How do you estimate the potentials for cooperation?

Taking into account very good mutual relations between Armenia and Serbia, the potential of cooperation is recognized in the strengthening of economic ties, development of tourism, cultural and sports cooperation.

 Whan can be done in the future, since there were many connections between the Serbian and Armenian peoples, including the same destiny?

The greatest support to the comprehensive development of Armenian-Serbian relations would be mutual abolition of visas and opening of direct airline Belgrade-Yerevan. As the meeting of the top representatives of Armenia and Serbia, the two issues were the topic of serious talks, and thus we sincerely hope that the visas will be abolished and that only 2.5 hours flight will connect Belgrade and Yerevan with a direct line. This would have a positive impact on the fact that the visits of business people and tourists from both countries which would for sure significantly increase and thus further improve the mutual cooperation of the two countries.

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