First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic addressed the audience at a ceremony marking the centenary since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Serbia and Spain, held at the Archive of Serbia. Following is full text of the Minister’s remarks.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I have the honor and pleasure to address this distinguished gathering and to thank, at the same time, the Archive of Serbia and the National Historical Archives of Spain, for having invested huge efforts in order for us to jointly mark, through this event, too, the hundredth anniversary since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between our two countries.
I am pleased to underline the very good and friendly relations maintained by our two countries and peoples for a century now. Serbia and Spain are tied by numerous forms of cooperation and mutual respect and cherishing of common values. It is Serbia’s wish and commitment to continue to foster and improve its close relations with the Kingdom of Spain, in all areas of mutual interest.
The first contacts and talks between the two countries’ diplomatic agents took place in Paris, in 1880, on the occasion of the official notification on Serbia’s independence.
Serbia’s representative in Paris attended a function held on the occasion of the visit made by Queen Mother Isabella, where he received congratulations on declaring Serbia a monarchy.
The process of establishing the diplomatic relations between our two countries began in 1916, while the Government of the Kingdom of Serbia was exiled in Corfu, where, on 25 August, Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pasic ordered the Serbian Envoy in Paris to contact the Spanish Embassy in Paris, and to seek agrément for Serbia’s representative, Mr. Dragomir Jankovic, who was then King Peter I’s Chief of Staff. The response from Madrid was not to be waited long, since the agrément was granted on 20 September 1916. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain sent a diplomatic note whereby it informed that it was delighted to accept Mr. Jankovic’s appointment.
In the name of King Peter I, Regent Aleksandar wrote a letter to King Alfonso XIII, on 14 October 1916, regarding the appointment of Dragomir Jankovic as Serbia’s representative in Spain. The representative came to Mardid a few months later, and presented his Letters of Credence to King Alfonso XIII, on 7 February 1917, when the century-long history of rich diplomatic relations between our two countries began. To illustrate the importance that Serbia attached to its relations with Spain, allow me to remind you that intellectuals such as Jovan Ducic and Ivo Andric acted as its diplomatic agents in Madrid.
In the course of 2016 and 2017, Serbia and Spain are marking this milestone anniversary with a number of events in the fields of culture, arts, science and education.
On this occasion I would like to emphasize in particular my gratitude to the Kingdom of Spain for the principled position on non-recognition of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo, deeply convinced that it will remain unchanged. In the context of resolving the complex issue of Kosovo and Metohija, through the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, the Republic of Serbia is dedicated to achieving a just and lasting solution that will contribute to the preservation of stability and security in our region and in Europe.
I greatly appreciate the continued support and understanding of the Kingdom of Spain on the European integration path, which is our strategic foreign policy priority and we hope it will remain one of the main advocates of the enlargement process and the European perspective of the Western Balkans. As a member of the European Union, the Kingdom of Spain is a good example of overcoming the transition process successfully, adjustment to the standards of the European Union and the existence of a modern democracy based on European values.
Throughout its turbulent past, Europe has seen many bloody wars, witnessing ethnic and religious conflicts and bringing about millions of dead and displaced. On the ruins of the former world and on the contribution of all those who fought for freedom and a better tomorrow, foundations of a different, democratic, prosperous united Europe began to emerge. The Kingdom of Spain joined such a European Union in 1986 and Serbia, as well as the entire Balkan region, is advancing the same way now.
Today, Europe is integrated into a unified political system which enables the preservation of peace and living standards of its citizens through its strong economic and social policy. It is the ideal that the Republic of Serbia aspires to – to improve the overall living conditions of its citizens, reduce unemployment, especially youth unemployment, and to fight to eradicate poverty.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Since no country, however strong, is able to independently withstand global challenges, networking and cooperation have become the basis for preserving peace and a prerequisite for development. The past history of rich and mutually intertwined relations between the Republic of Serbia and the Kingdom of Spain testifies to their shared interest and the need for close cooperation in various fields, which clearly defines directions of future activity and gives impetus to exploring all opportunities for more dynamic relations.
In this spirit, and on the solid foundations of centuries of friendship, Serbia and Spain are celebrating the centenary of establishing diplomatic relations.