“Serbia wants renewal of old friendships”

BELGRADE — President Tomislav Nikolic has said that he wants Serbia’s foreign policy “to go back to old friendships after two decades of neglect of these relationships.”

He made the remarks during a meeting in Belgrade with with ambassadors of African and Arab countries.

In the new cycle of its foreign policy, Serbia wants to restore the excellent relations established with these countries after World War Two, Nikolić said.

“I wish to set the foreign policy back on the course of old friendships. We are often urged to choose between options, but that is no longer possible. They did not call on us when they argued and will not call on us when they make peace,” said the Serbian president, and added:

“That is why we are friends with everyone. We now have the situation where the EU recognizes Kosovo, while not recognizing Crimea, and Russia recognizing Crimea and not Kosovo, and we are friends with both Russia and the EU.”

The newly appointed Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Juma Rashed Saif Zayed Al Dhaheri, presented Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić with a letter of credence on Thursday.

“I assure Your Excellency that I will spare no effort to further promote the relations of friendship and cooperation between our countries in all spheres,” Ambassador Al Dhaheri said on that occasion.

The newly appointed UAE ambassador voiced hope that he would have support from the Serbian president and government in realizing “this noble goal”.

Expressing his “profound happiness” about the appointment as the UAE ambassador to Serbia, with which his country “is linked by strong bonds of friendship”, Ambassador Al Dhaheri conveyed to President Nikolić and the friendly people of Serbia “the warmest greetings and felicitations” of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and its people that “harbor all respect and appreciation for the people of the Republic of Serbia”.

“We are witnessing an intensive improvement in bilateral relations between our two countries in all fields of cooperation, especially in the field of economy,” President Nikolić said, welcoming the newly appointed UAE ambassador in Belgrade.

Nikolić noted that over the last year, several UAE investments into the Serbian economy had been agreed, adding that the two countries had also signed important agreements.

There are prospects for further cooperation in many fields- agriculture, energy sector, air transport, construction industry, information and communication technology and tourism, he said.

“The opening of the UAE Embassy in Belgrade, as well as the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in Abu Dhabi last year, will give an additional impetus to strengthening our friendly relations,” Nikolić underlined.

The bilateral relations between Serbia and the UAE, in which there are no open issues, set an example of sincere ties, the Serbian president said, voicing confidence that in the coming period they will be fostered even further.

“We are particularly grateful for the loan that the Abu Dhabi government granted to the government of the Republic of Serbia under very favorable conditions, which will contribute to a great extent to our country’s development,” Nikolić stressed.

He also expressed confidence that the newly-appointed UAE ambassador will do his best to maintain the existing and improve other forms of cooperation that are in the interest of both countries, stressing that at the same time the ambassador will receive all necessary assistance, and feel at home while on the mission to Serbia.

President Nikolić sent to the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the friendly people of that country his kind regards and best wishes for the future prosperity.

In early March 2013, the Serbian government decided to give its consent for the opening of the UAE Embassy in Belgrade, and in early February last year it decided to open the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia in the UAE.

The Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs then said in a release that the decision is a result of the joint vision of Belgrade and Abu Dhabi for strengthening bilateral relations, political and primarily economic cooperation.

Prior to that, the diplomatic relations between Belgrade and Abu Dhabi developed on a non-residential basis, through the Serbian Embassy in Cairo and the UAE Embassy in Rome.

The Republic of Serbia and the UAE established diplomatic relations on March 21, 2007.

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