Statement by First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dacic at the scientific event "Serbia and Egypt - Through Historical Ties to a Stable Future and Partnership"
Full statement given by Minister Dacic on this occasion reads as follows:
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is always a great pleasure for me to speak at an event organized by the Institute of International Politics and Economy, a renowned scientific institution with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia has traditionally had a very good and successful cooperation. I am delighted that today we have the opportunity to welcome in Serbia an eminent diplomat, expert of world renown and a dear friend, Mr. Mohamed El Orabi, Chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs and former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Bearing in mind that the ties between Serbia and Egypt have traditionally been good and friendly, with deep and strong roots, I would particularly like to express gratitude to the Institute for organizing this event, which not only promotes ties between the academic communities, but also brings other citizens of our two countries closer together.
We are proud of the fact that this year we mark 115 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Arab Republic of Egypt, but I need to point out that our ties date back to the period of Saint Sava, the first head of the Serbian Church, who had visited Alexandria and Sinai as far back in the past as the 13th century.
A special impetus to the relations between our two countries was given by the then presidents Tito and Nasser after the Second World War, who, as founders of the Non-Aligned Movement, created a new world on whose foundations we have for generations been fostering and promoting the relations of friendship existing between the Serbian and Egyptian peoples.
I note with particular satisfaction that our comprehensive bilateral cooperation, through the exchange of knowledge and experience, has gained momentum and intensified in the last decade, and mutual visits by Serbian and Egyptian officials and businesspersons, as well as tourists and students, have become regular. Only in June this year, the Governor of South Sinai, General Khaled Fuda, and the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Shawki Alam, visited Belgrade, while a round of bilateral political consultations was held in Cairo between our foreign ministries. It was a special honour for us to welcome the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in Belgrade last year, and this visit was described by both sides as a historic one. I am convinced that the return visit by President Aleksandar Vucic in the period ahead will give a strong additional impetus to the comprehensive relations between Serbia and Egypt.
Intertwined contacts between the heads and members of the religious communities of Serbia and Egypt, meetings between businesspersons, tourist and religious/pilgrimage tours, sports team preparations and competitions, art projects, are all part of the mosaic of cooperation between the two fraternal peoples, which, since May of this year, are connected again by a direct flight between our two capitals, Belgrade and Cairo, which is something we are very proud of as well.
We hope that we will soon successfully complete the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement, which will give a strong impetus to the diversification and intensification of economic cooperation and pave the way for stronger economic connectivity.
The partnership we are building is not solely of a business or political nature. It is also a matter of values and honesty, based on sincere friendship, profound mutual respect and deepest trust.
I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate that we are grateful to Egypt for its understanding of the positions and interests of the Republic of Serbia, that is, for its constructive approach concerning the issue of the unilaterally declared independence of the so-called "Kosovo", an extremely important and sensitive issue of vital national importance for Serbia. We believe that such support will continue in the future, based on adherence to international law and the fundamental principles of the UN Charter as well as on the recognition of interests of the Republic of Serbia, as a sincere and proven friend of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
We also wish to express our special gratitude to Egypt for supporting Belgrade's bid to host the Specialized Exhibition EXPO 2027. We are proud that we will have the opportunity to welcome a large number of countries in Belgrade on that occasion, confident that the Egyptian pavilion will be well attended, and we will strive to be the best hosts we can and provide every form of assistance in order to make the presentation of each country, including Egypt, as successful as possible.
I am looking forward to the continuation of successful cooperation, to which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, as well as myself, will be fully committed, as was the case so far, and I look with hope to the bright future of Serbian-Egyptian relations and the fostering of an unbreakable friendship between the two states and two peoples, deeply woven into the history.
Long live the friendship between Serbia and Egypt!
Thank you for your attention.