The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic met today, on day four of the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Belgrade, with the parliament speakers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, State of Qatar, Vietnam, Djibouti and PACE, taking part in the 141st IPU Assembly of the oldest and largest international parliamentary organization.
Gojkovic met with the parliamentary delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina headed by First Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Nebojsa Radmanovic and Second Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples Nikola Spiric. Gojkovic thanked the delegation of Bosnia and Herzegovina for participation in the 141st IPU Assembly, attended by a large number of parliament speakers from around the world, as well as the Western Balkans, which confirms the importance of dialogue within the IPU. Gojkovic said Serbia is committed to steadily improving relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and stressed the importance of the beginning of construction of the Belgrade-Sarajevo highway for strengthening relations in the region. Gojkovic noted that parliamentary cooperation has been improved in the previous period and that the Serbian Assembly is ready to further deepen parliamentary cooperation.
Gojkovic thanked Bosnia and Herzegovina for its principled position on Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty viz. the issue of Kosovo-Metohija, and pointed to Pristina's unilateral moves, as well as the fact that 100% customs tariffs on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have still not been abolished.
Radmanovic congratulated Serbia and the National Assembly Speaker on the excellent organization of the 141st IPU Assembly, stating that holding such an important gathering is a great compliment to Serbia, and the pride of all those leaning on Serbia, as it is a testament to the progress and possibility that such a large gathering can be to organized in the region. Radmanovic pointed out that Bosnia and Herzegovina did not recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo-Metohija and respects Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as Serbia's stance, and will continue to do so.
Spiric opined that this gathering returns Serbia to the very top of world politics and draws attention to significant role parliaments play in matters of import such as preserving international law and regional relations, stressing that the relations between the two countries are friendly and that it is important to resolve issues through frequent meetings.
Gojkovic also met with the parliamentary delegation of the State of Qatar headed by the Speaker of the Qatar Shura Council Ahmed Bin Abdullah Zaid Al Mahmoud, whom she thanked for participating in the 141st IPU Assembly, recalling that the previous one, in Doha, provided the much needed experience for the preparations of the Belgrade session. Gojkovic said that she was particularly pleased to see the Speaker of the Qatar Shura Council come to Belgrade and Serbia in the year marking the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. She noted that the National Assembly is ready to further cooperation at all levels, stressing that economic cooperation is on the rise and that there is room to advance trade as well.
Al Mahmoud said that the State of Qatar is very interested in advancing its relations with Serbia, as well as parliamentary ties and suggested signing a Memorandum of Cooperation to that end. Al Mahmoud invited the Serbian Parliament Speaker to take part in the 7th Global Conference of Parliamentarians Against Corruption, 9 – 10 December, in Doha.
Gojkovic met with the delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe headed by PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier, whom she thanked for participating in the 141st IPU Assembly, the first in 20 years to be held in a European country. Gojkovic highlighted the good cooperation with the Council of Europe PA, as evidenced by the forthcoming participation at the Conference of Presidents of Parliaments in Strasbourg, especially important because of the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe, as well as Serbia’s continued participation at all levels and in all bodies of the Council of Europe. Gojkovic said that the standing delegation of the National Assembly actively participates in the work of the PACE, and provides PACE’s work with full support.
The PACE President said that the Serbian Assembly has a very active delegation, noting that Serbia is a full member of the Council of Europe which has signed and ratified a number of conventions, and praised Serbia’s good cooperation with the Council of Europe's monitoring mechanisms. Gojkovic and Pasquier discussed the current issues as regards PACE monitoring, as well as the constitutional amendments concerning the judiciary and other areas, and Gojkovic informed the PACE President about the inter-party dialogue, with the mediation of the European Parliament, on improving the environment for the upcoming election, as well as parliamentary procedures.
The Serbian Assembly Speaker also met with the Deputy Chairwoman of the National Assembly of Vietnam Tong Thi Phong, recalling the traditionally good relations between Serbia and Vietnam, with no outstanding issue, and thanked Vietnam for respecting Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Gojkovic pointed to the possibilities of developing parliamentary cooperation through the establishment of parliamentary friendship groups, as well as signing memoranda of cooperation, and emphasized the importance of developing economic and trade cooperation, as well as cooperation in the field of culture, education and sport. The Parliament Speaker Vietnam thanked her host for the invitation and the opportunity to come to Serbia, a country of rich tradition and history, stressing that she appreciated the traditional friendship between Serbia and Vietnam and adding the people of Vietnam will always appreciate the support of the Serbian people in the fight for the national liberation of Vietnam. Tong stated that Vietnam respects Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty and that Vietnam does not support the so-called "Kosovo’s" attempts to join international organizations. Tong pointed out that this IPU Assembly has gathered the largest number of parliament speakers, which speaks volumes about Serbia's important position today, and stressed that Vietnam is ready to be a bridge between Serbia and the East Asian region in order to improve economic cooperation. The Parliament Speaker of Vietnam invited the Serbian Assembly Speaker to visit Vietnam.
Finally, Gojkovic met with the Parliament Speaker of Djibouti Mohamed Ali Houmed whom she thanked for coming to Serbia as his visit is an excellent opportunity to assess the options for the improvement of parliamentary cooperation through the establishment of parliamentary friendship groups, as well as overall bilateral cooperation. Ali Houmed invited the Serbian Assembly Speaker to the conference of the African Parliamentary Union and visit Djibouti, stressing that an exchange of parliamentary experience is vital of the Djibouti Parliament, which hopes for the Serbian Assembly’s help and support.