First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic attended the ceremony of marking the United Nations Day in Belgrade, and addressed UN and its specialized agency representatives, members of the diplomatic corps and many other guests.
On that occasion, Minister Dacic underlined the Organization’s key role in the areas of safeguarding international peace and security, respect and protection of human rights, ensuring freedoms and equality, social and economic development, and called for strengthening its role in facing the global problems of today. He further pointed out the participation of the Republic of Serbia, as the leading country in the region and eighth in Europe in terms of UN peacekeeping missions, and the importance of the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate, as well as the need for reaching a comprehensive solution to the refugee and migrant crisis on the European and global levels, emphasizing Serbia’s solidarity, empathy and humane attitude while providing for them in its territory.
The Serbian Foreign Minister assessed that Serbia’s participation was notable in the process of election of the UN Secretary-General, which contributed to its greater international visibility, and expressed his conviction that UN Secretary General-designate Antonio Guteres would step up the common efforts of Member States in the process of seeking solutions to the challenges that the world is facing. Minister Dacic also expressed satisfaction at the Serbian Government decision to enable operation of the UN House which would provide premises for all agencies of the UN system.
Minister Dacic underscored that Serbia would continue its commitment in defence of international law, its sovereignty and territorial integrity guaranteed under UNSC resolution 1244 (1999) and the protection of its national interests in Kosovo and Metohija, and that dialogue and peaceful resolution of all issues relevant to Serbian and Albanian communities were the sole way of reaching a compromise and lasting solution.
Full text of the address delivered by Minister Dacic is given below:
“Madam Miculescu, Madam Vojackova Sollorano,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am greatly pleased to have the opportunity, which has already become traditional, to address you and congratulate you on the United Nations Day, the occasion when it is particularly important to underline the essential role played by the universal organization in the modern world. This pertains primarily to the areas of safeguarding international peace and security; the respect and protection of human rights; exercise of freedoms and equality, as well as economic and social development. Moreover, this is the time to re-examine and ask ourselves whether we are sufficiently employing our best efforts to prevent the plight of people in the world at large. In this way, we will reaffirm the contribution of the world Organization as the sole multilateral mechanism to the achievement of lasting peace, dialogue, eradication of poverty and making it possible for all nations to live in dignity. Irrespective of its record of accomplishments, the UN is needed today almost as much as at the time of its inception, its relevance being incontestable.
Serbia is proud to be among the founders of an international organization of sovereign states which has been acting and serving for more than seventy years, as a universal platform for peaceful conflict resolution, exchange of views and positions of Member States on a wide range of issues relevant to the life of people. The United Nations gives a chance to peace, equality, justice and development.
Last year, on the occasion of the observance of the 70th anniversary of its existence, you had an opportunity to see an exhibition reflecting the rich and substantive history of relations between Serbia and the United Nations. It is upon these foundations that Serbia wishes to build its role and to contribute in the future, believing in the strengthening of the United Nations and its taking-on a more prominent role in addressing global problems, providing for a more inclusive global governance system. As a leading country in the Western Balkan region, Serbia is also very proud to emphasize its continued commitment to the safeguarding of peace and peacekeeping through participation in UN peacekeeping missions world-wide, as the eighth country on the list of European countries contributing the largest number of military and police personnel. Taking part in the missions in Lebanon, PR Congo, Liberia, Cyprus, Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic and Golan, Serbian peacekeepers are protecting the civil population on a daily basis, thus making a specific contribution to international peace and security.
The year that passed between the previous UN Day and today was characterized by ever-present conflicts, grave and far-reaching effects of multi-dimensional and inter-related crises, social tensions, terrorist acts, tragic plights and by unfolding challenges which have become more complex, raising concern for the future. At a time of vast changes, turbulences and growing inter-dependence when all the regions of the world are affected by their impact, it is our duty and shared responsibility to contribute to finding a solution. The adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Peace Agenda, and the Paris Climate Agreement are the major steps in tackling the most serious challenges of today – global economic instability, growing social inequality and the effects of climatic change.
We have been facing the migrant and refugee crisis of humanitarian and security proportions that go beyond one country or region. Through the solidarity and empathy demonstrated, and an adequate treatment provided for accommodation of refugees and migrants, Serbia has led by example in term of humanity and responsibility in resolving our common problems. However, we believe that additional efforts need to be made in meeting this serious global challenge and finding a comprehensive solution at both European and UN levels. Rest assured that the Republic of Serbia will remain to be a reliable partner truly committed to the implementation of all jointly made arrangements and goals laid down.
Furthermore, the previous period has also been dominated by the recent selection of the new Secretary-General of the United Nations, a process in which Serbia had the honour and privilege to take a prominent part. We are grateful to a large number of countries for having extended their support to our nominee, thus contributing to a greater visibility of Serbia at the international level. I am confident that the newly appointed Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, and his vast experience and dedication would substantially help to further the strengthening of the role played by the United Nations, as well as the processes aimed at responding to many challenges the world has been facing today.
It is our great pleasure to underline that a decision made by the Serbian Government has initiated the operation of the UN House and that we are eagerly looking forward to its formal opening in the presence of UN officials. We hope that the final version of the five-year Development Partnership Framework between the Republic of Serbia and the UN will soon be signed, giving additional impetus to our efforts in the context of all-embracing reforms carried out in our society, improving the standard of living of the population and the European integration process.
The Republic of Serbia remains strongly committed to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. We are determined to safeguard international law, including United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) which protects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country, also defending our national interests in Kosovo and Metohija. We will continue to resist attempted abuse by Pristina as well as their unilateral actions, confident that dialogue and peaceful settlement of all issues of importance for Serbian and Albanian communities are the only path leading to a compromise and durable solution.
I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office in Belgrade, Simona-Mirela Miculescu, and to the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia, Irena Vojackova Sollorano, for the efforts made in the performance of their duties in our country. I am confident that the Republic of Serbia can count on your friendship and support in the future as well.
Thank you for your attention.”