We are entering the year 2024 in extremely unpredictable circumstances
Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and the Minister of Foreign Affairs
First of all, I would like to thank our hosts and organizers for giving me the honor to officially open this important Conference for years. I would like to point out the importance of this, now traditional, gathering at the end of the year, in the desire to jointly find answers to the numerous challenges we will face in the year ahead.
Looking back on the year that is coming to an end, it was once again confirmed that precise predictions and long-term planning are very demanding, but also thankless.
The world has been facing serious challenges and crises for a long time, which are becoming more and more numerous and complex. I regret to state that we are entering the year 2024 in extremely difficult, unpredictable and unstable circumstances at the international level. The war in Ukraine, the escalation of the conflict and the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, as well as the significantly increased risks of terrorist threats, testify to the serious threat to global peace and security. At the same time, we are facing serious consequences of the economic, energy and climate crisis, and it is certain that solving these problems, as well as the challenges of migration, economic and social inequality, will remain the focus of the entire international community in the coming year 2024.
Everything I’m talking about cannot bypass the region we live in, given its geostrategic position and importance. In such circumstances, the Republic of Serbia behaves responsibly, contributing to stability in the region, but at the same time sharing responsibility on a broader level in the promotion of global peace and suppression of security challenges.
The Republic of Serbia will continue, as before, to implement its own and independent foreign policy, based on the preservation of national and state interests. We will build new ones, but we will not forget old partnerships and traditional friendships. We will strive to continue to develop and improve relations with all factors of world politics, but also with countries from the immediate environment, thus making our own security sustainable.
I would like to proudly remind you that Belgrade will host the prestigious exhibition EXPO 2027
The Republic of Serbia implements its foreign and security policy based on respect for the basic principles of international law. Although we ourselves are still suffering the consequences of double standards in international relations and the selective application of the United Nations Charter, we will not give up our consistent advocacy for the universal validity of the principles of inviolability of internationally recognized borders, territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence. Nevertheless, it is encouraging that the majority of member states of the United Nations respect these principles, and in the case of the Republic of Serbia.
Preservation of sovereignty and territorial integrity remains the most important national and state priority of the Republic of Serbia, and we will continue to work on it in the upcoming year 2024.
Unfortunately, the situation in Kosovo and Metohija is extremely difficult and complex. Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija live in a permanent state of danger, tension and uncertainty, deprived of basic human rights and in constant fear for their own lives. The most recent example of the violation of basic human rights and civilizational heritage is the denial of the right of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija to vote and participate in the upcoming elections on Sunday.
Unconditionally ensuring the survival of the Serbian community in our southern province is of crucial importance to us, which is why we remain committed to dialogue as the only effective mechanism for resolving disputes and building peace, despite Pristina’s persistent refusal to fulfill its long-established obligations.
I use this opportunity to reiterate that membership in the European Union is a strategic commitment and priority of the foreign policy of the Republic of Serbia.
Therefore, we will continue to implement comprehensive reforms, with the aim of achieving economic and social progress, and for the benefit of the citizens of our country.
I sincerely hope that, in 2024, the results we have achieved in the past period will be recognized to a greater extent, but that they will also be valorized in an adequate way.
Serbia will continue to implement comprehensive reforms, with the aim of achieving economic and social progress
The key interest of the Republic of Serbia, in the coming year as well, will be the preservation of stability in the region and the fostering of good neighborly relations and cooperation in all areas, in which we have already invested great and visible efforts. Our willingness to overcome the negative legacy of the past and a common future based on the principles of mutual appreciation and respect is unquestionable.
It is necessary to continue our work to preserve economic stability and achieve further development of our country. This includes, among other things, additional investments in infrastructure projects, improvement of the business environment with an emphasis on attracting investments, as well as investments in digitalization, education, innovation, research and development. In short – we will continue to invest in an even better future.
The Republic of Serbia is working hard on further diversification of energy supply sources and is additionally investing in energy infrastructure. That is why the recent commissioning of the Serbia-Bulgaria gas interconnector, which we built together with the support of the European Union, is of great importance, with the aim of trying to provide our citizens with a stable energy supply.
I would like to proudly remind you that Belgrade will host the prestigious exhibition EXPO 2027. In anticipation of the coming time, we will continue to work diligently on preparations for the organization of this extremely important manifestation, in order to justify the trust that the international community has placed in us, providing support for our candidacy, and recognizing the cosmopolitan spirit of our capital city and the Republic of Serbia.
In 2024, the world will unfortunately still be facing a series of crises, spread from Ukraine to the Middle East to the Sahel region.
Also, in the coming period, the world public will pay special attention to the elections for some of the key actors of international politics, which could have a great impact on the further shaping of international relations.
The Republic of Serbia will continue to lead a responsible policy, in accordance with national interests, and to contribute with its activities to preserving peace, maintaining stability and achieving progress, thereby confirming that it is a reliable and predictable partner.