The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Maja Gojkovic met with the Speaker of Parliament of the Arab Republic of Egypt Ali Abdel Aal, at whose invitation she is paying an official visit to Egypt.
Gojkovic and Aal said that the two parliaments are ready to write a new page in the history of relations of Serbia and Egypt and strengthen the parliamentary and overall ties between the two countries.
To that end, Gojkovic and Aal signed a Memorandum of Understanding, elevating the cooperation between the two parliaments to a higher institutional level and setting the groundwork to further it at the level of committees, parliamentary friendship groups and standing delegations to international parliamentary organizations.
Gojkovic said that today’s visit is all the more important for being the first one at the highest parliamentary level in almost 40 years, stressing that the two countries are committed to strengthen cooperation based on the traditionally good relations grounded in friendship.
Gojkovic and Aal said that last year saw the 110th anniversary of diplomatic relations, reminiscing about the countries’ shared history, dating back to the times of former Yugoslavia and joint activities in the Non-Aligned Movement, which had left a strong mark on the bilateral relations.
Speaker Aal said that the two countries share a number of common interests, as well as challenges, and as they are both working on economic development they should work together in the interest of their citizens.
Aal said that the two countries cooperate in a variety of areas, from political and economic, to education and culture, emphasizing the importance of the meetings of the Mixed Committee.
Gojkovic said that Serbia is committed to strengthening relations with its traditional friends, especially African countries, and considers Egypt a very important friend, saying that the decision to celebrate 25 May – Africa Day, as the Day of Friendship with the people of Africa, confirms the desire to strengthen this cooperation.
Gojkovic thanked the Egyptian Parliament Speaker for Egypt not voting against Serbia’s interests in international forums, adding that Egypt is a state known for its principled stances and respect for UN resolutions and decisions.
Gojkovic briefed the Egyptian Parliament Speaker on the situation in Kosovo-Metohija, saying that the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is at a standstill and that Pristina is undertaking radical measures against Serbs living on the territory. Gojkovic said that Serbia is ready to continue the dialogue, but the 100% customs tariffs on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina need to be revoked.
Gojkovic and Aal agreed on the importance of establishing stronger economic ties between Serbia and Egypt. Aal said that Egypt is going through a period of economic reform and renewal and reconstruction of its infrastructure and is open to Serbian investment and more tourists from Serbia. Gojkovic said that opening a direct flight between Belgrade and Cairo would be good for the advancement of economic relations and tourism since Egypt is one of the most favourite destinations for Serbian tourists.
Gojkovic and Aal spoke about the contemporary challenges in the Middle East and in Europe, and the Egyptian Parliament Speaker urged to resolve any and all problems in a peaceful manner.
Gojkovic invited the Egyptian Parliament Speaker to the 141st IPU Assembly in Belgrade, 13-17 October.
The National Assembly delegation also comprises Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Prof. Dr Zarko Obradovic and the Head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Egypt Dubravka Filipovski.