The members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Israel met today with Israeli Ambassador to Serbia Yahel Vilan to discuss the modalities of interparliamentary cooperation between Serbia and Israel with the support of the PFG with Israel for its improvement.
The Head of the Parliamentary Friendship Group with Israel Milovan Drecun said that the 50-member PFG with Israel is one of the largest in the National Assembly and is ready to fully cooperate with Knesset’s PFG with Serbia as soon as it is formed. The officials opined that the bilateral relations between the two countries are friendly and good, especially in view of the two peoples’ shared fate and plight in World War Two, which the Serbia has the deepest respect for, cultivating the tradition of remembrance and combating any attempt at revisionism.
PFG Head Drecun spoke of the existing interparliamentary cooperation between the National Assembly and Knesset, expressing an expectation that both parliaments would intensify cooperation at all levels, especially the multilateral. He reminded the attending that economic cooperation is the key to the development of bilateral relations, expressing satisfaction that over 70 Israeli companies are operating in Serbia. Drecun also opined that fostering ties between young people would be important for the preservation of the two peoples’ historic ties and relations, as would strengthening cooperation in the field of agriculture, energy, tourism, trade, culture, diaspora, environmental protection, combating cybercrime, as well as in science and education, IT industry, etc.
In the talk with Ambassador Vilan he stressed that, for Serbia, Kosovo-Metohija is a national and vital question and Israel’s decision to recognise so-called independent Kosovo was received with regret. Drecun expressed hope that Israel would reassess the decision and that it would not advance cooperation with so-called Kosovo. The Head of the PFG with Israel informed the Israeli Ambassador about the position, pressures and terror the Serbian people in Kosovo-Metohija are exposed to, all with the aim of complete ethnical cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija. He stressed that this issue would decide the future of the Serbian people in the 21st century.
“Serbia is open to dialogue, but we have set some limits, because Serbia will never recognise the independence of Kosovo. We can talks about anything within the framework of Resolution 1244, but we will never recognise the membership of Kosovo in the UN”, said Drecun.
Israeli Ambassador Vilan said he understood Serbia’s current position, which he opined is very difficult, and drew attention to the similarities of the two countries in the historical, geographic and geopolitical sense. He said that his country knows and values history and understands the significance of the issue for Serbia, especially when faced with difficult decisions, and that there is understanding for these positions in Israel, even though as a state it is not a big factor in the Balkans.
“We view Serbia as a friend in the Balkans and its parliament as one of the pillars of that friendship”, said Vilan.
PFG members Dr Aleksandra Tomic, Zagorka Aleksic, Sanja Laketic, Bosko Obradovic, Vesna Petrovic Savovic, Dubravka Filipovski and Dunja Simonovic Bratic also took part in the talk which touched on concrete joint activities of the PFG and the Israeli Embassy in Serbia when marking important events, especially the culture remembrance of Holocaust victims, preventing revisionism, antisemitism, neo-fascism and neo-Nazism, as well as promoting the twinning of Serbian and Israeli towns.
The participants of the meeting concluded that there is a strong desire and many ideas to intensify cooperation between the PFG with Israel and colleagues from the Israeli Parliament and the Embassy in Serbia, and that first contacts between the new parliamentary legislatures’ friendship groups would soon be realised.