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MLO Belgrade  /  Newsroom  /  News Archive  /  2019  /  Serbian Multi-Party Parliament Delegation Visits NATO HQ

Serbian Multi-Party Parliament Delegation Visits NATO HQ

These visits and debates helps us to improving mutual understanding, thus underpinning further development of partnership and practical cooperation

 - Ambassador Tacan Ildem, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy

NATO HQ Brussels, 6 - 8 November - Multiparty Serbian Parliament delegation visited Brussels. The visit was organized and supported by NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, as part of political dialogue and presentation of facts on the NATO-Serbia partnership. As a part of the visit, Serbian MP’s visited NATO HQ where they met with a number of high ranking NATO officials. During the visit, Serbian MP’s also met with the Serbian Ambassador to NATO. Ambassador Tacan Ildem, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy welcoming the group at NATO HQ underlined the contribution that such visits and debates make to improving mutual understanding, thus underpinning further development of partnership and practical cooperation.

Serbian Parliamentarians and with their hosts at the NATO HQ in Brussels  

Parliamentarians heard very clear messages that NATO is an alliance of 29 democracies and that NATO fully respects Serbia, its military neutrality, and that Serbia is an important and valued partner of NATO. Serbian parliamentarians had a chance to hear firsthand what NATO Serbia partnership really means for both and how cooperation between NATO and Serbia is mutually beneficial and useful.

Some of the covered topics included hybrid threats and other emerging security challenges, NATO Partnerships with special focus on the Western Balkans, NATO’s policy towards Russia. Delegation also participated in a panel with Permanent Representatives of a number of Allied countries.
Apart from NATO HQ, MP’s also visited EU institutions: European External Action Service and the European Parliament. During the visit to the EU institutions, topics that were covered included the EU-Serbia relations and role and priorities of the European External Action Service, as well as how EU is communicating about the EU accession process in the Western Balkans.

Serbian MP’s delegation consisted of following Members of the Serbian Parliament:
  • Ms. Gordana Čomić (Deputy Speaker), Democratic Party,
  • Ms. Vesna Marković, Serbian Progressive Party
  • Ms. Andrijana Avramov, Serbian Progressive Party
  • Ms.Olena Papuga, League of Social Democrats of Vojvodina
  • Mr. Aleksadar Stevanović, Party of Modern Serbia
  • Mr. Branimir Jovanović, Social Democratic Party of Serbia

For this occasion, James Appathurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, gave a statement in which he underlines the importance of cooperation.

Statement by James Appathurai

Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy

Serbia and NATO have developed a strong practical partnership over the past decade. This partnership is based on an understanding that we are neighbors, and working together with our neighbors on security issues, makes all of our citizens safer

For instance, in 2018, Serbia hosted a major NATO exercise on disaster preparedness which improved our collective ability to respond to events such as floods, earthquakes and forest fires. NATO and Serbia recently agreed a new Individual Partnership Action Plan for 2019 to 2021. This document lays out in detail where we will cooperate in the coming two years and how NATO will help to support Serbia’s reform efforts. The visit to NATO today, by a number of senior members of the Serbian Parliament, shows that NATO and Serbia have an active political dialogue and that we are focused on enhancing mutual understanding of the security situation in our common region.

Statement by Serbian MP Čomić Gordana

Members of the National Assembly, with the support of the NATO office in Belgrade and at the invitation of NATO in Brussels, are in this extraordinary, informative visit, thus exchanging views on what NATO is doing, what Serbia is doing, so that people in Serbia can live better. Our brief impression and advice, to both decision-makers in Serbia and decision-makers in NATO is, let NATO be in the region, let those that are not NATO in the region or outside the region, and let there be joint efforts, by both Serbia and NATO, so that there is no populism, demagogy, clashes, conflicts, but peace building instead. When NATO builds peace, that is when Serbia believes that NATO is good.

Statement by Serbian MP Vesna Marković

I would rate the visit of the multiparty Parliamentary Delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia to be of high quality, precisely for the reason that we had open and constructive, very important conversations with NATO officials. Otherwise, relations between Serbia and NATO are at a much higher level, especially from 2015 on, since the adoption of the IPAP (Individual Partnership Action Plan), as Serbia has the highest level of cooperation as a non-member country with the NATO Alliance. Otherwise, I think that this kind of cooperation can be improved, since there is always space, and of course these kinds of visits and parliamentary meetings with NATO officials do help, because as MP’s we really need to get acquainted with the way NATO works ....
I would rate the visit of the multiparty Parliamentary delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia as very important, first of all, because we had the opportunity to get acquainted with the way the Alliance works and to find out much more from NATO officials about some future plans that are extremely important to us. Otherwise, relations between Serbia and NATO are at a much higher level, starting from 2015 when we adopted the IPAP (Individual Partnership Action Plan), which means that Serbia has the highest level of cooperation even though it is not a NATO member state. This cooperation is most important to us primarily because of cooperation with KFOR, for the protection of the Serb population in Kosovo and Metohija, and above all for the freedom of their movement, for the protection of our religious sites. IN the forthcoming period, I also expect greater involvement from KFOR when it comes to securing freedom of movement for the Serb population.

Statement by Serbian MP Aleksandar Stevanović

The visit of the delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia to NATO Headquarters in Brussels is a very important activity for the Republic of Serbia. Only in cooperation with NATO, which surrounds Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia at the moment, as the only countries in the Balkans that will not be NATO members this year, can we have a long-term guarantee of security, stability and, in general, prosperity in the Republic of Serbia. For the time being, the Republic of Serbia is making good use of the relations it has within the Partnership for Peace, and what would be a good investment for the future is finding ways to further deepen that cooperation, precisely in the interest of stability in the Balkans, precisely in the interests of economic development and in the interests of protection from the risks that will arise in the future, such as cyber-attacks, terrorism etc. Serbia, as a relatively small country, can only effectively protect its interests in cooperation with our closest and largest military alliance.

Statement by Serbian MP Branimir Jovanović

I am at NATO Headquarters in Brussels for the first time, and I consider the visit of the Serbian delegation to NATO very useful. This way, we can hear some news from the areas we do not talk about so often, and that we talk about here, that are on the agenda. It is very important that we have good cooperation with NATO. It is important that we hear the opinions of NATO representatives, as it is important for them to hear our opinions on many topics. It was very important for me to hear about the ongoing cooperation between NATO and the Western Balkans countries, whether those which are NATO members, or countries such as Serbia, which is not a NATO member, but I believe that we have a fair relationship and based on that, we can continue to look for some solutions and improve our relationship and find some optimal form of cooperation for the future. Also, it is important for us to see how this organization works and my point is that we should have more joint actions, to improve our cooperation, because only in this way can we create the foundation for better cooperation in the future.

Statement by the Head of Mission of the Republic of Serbia to NATO
Ambassador Miomir Udovički

Today's visit of the delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia is very important for the further cooperation between Serbia and NATO, which has been increasingly developing recently. This cooperation is important to us from many aspects, and we strive to always see some new forms of cooperation. That is why it is good for our MP's to come and see on the spot how this cooperation is going, although this is not entirely possible to grasp in such a short time, but in any case, as our Serbian saying states “it is better to see something once than to hear about it a hundred times”. In that sense, I think it is good that they have had discussions with leaders of numerous departments here at NATO and had a chance to ask them questions and to hear them and to see what the atmosphere is like here.

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