Today, the National Assembly House hosted a presentation of the findings of a research on the Relations between Serbian citizens and the United States, to mark the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Member of Parliament and founder of the Serbian-American Friendship Congress Prof. Dr Vladimir Marinkovic opened the meeting saying that the bilateral relations between the two countries are dynamic and on the rise, and that the pinnacle of these relations is the Washington Agreement, signed by the two presidents on 4 September 2020, defining cooperation at a number of key and strategic fields, including both Serbia and the United States. In his address, Marinkovic especially emphasized economic cooperation: "What is very encouraging, even though there has been a change in the US administration, is Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying a few days ago that one of the former administration’s good results is the Washington Agreement and that the new administration would work on its implementation". Marinkovic expressed confidence that cooperation between two countries, at the level of governments as well as at the level of legislative representation, would continue and there is room to strengthen that cooperation at many levels, as the research showed.
The findings of the survey "Serbian citizens’ attitude toward the US" was presented by Vladimir Pejic, Director of the polling agency "Factor Plus" and founder of the Serbian-American Friendship Congress. The findings show that the attitude of the citizens of Serbia towards the United States was mostly stereotypical, influenced by the media, historical cooperation, attitudes of the environment i.e. family and friends, as well as political cooperation. The presentation showed that the attitude of the respondents has changed over time in the past years in 27.9% of cases, and 4.5% of the respondents gave a positive answer to the question whether the relations between the two countries are moving in a positive direction.
The meeting was also attended by National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic, who said that relations between Serbia and the United States have experienced a great positive trend in recent years and that the two countries have not "swept under the carpet" some of their disagreements, especially around Kosovo-Metohija. Dacic said that Serbia expects the new American president Biden and the new American administration to use the mutual relations’ upward trend and, for their part, continue to enrich it with new types of cooperation. Speaking about the Serbian citizens’ attitude towards the United States, Dacic said that the two countries have moved on, holding on to what unites them and not what separates them.
Ognjen Popovic, Advisor to the Minister of Finance in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, spoke of the economic cooperation between the two countries, emphasizing the opening of the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in Belgrade and the signing of the Investment Promotion Agreement as the cornerstone of the institution’s further work.
Gabriel Escobar, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, also addressed the gathering, stressing that the two countries have had a very strong partnership and friendship through a 140 yeas long common history. He added that though America has a new administration, it would not make negative changes in the development of relations with Serbia. He also pointed out that Serbia and America have a long history of common values and partnership, reflected in the alliance in the two world wars, joint sacrifices, raising of the Serbian flag at the White House in 1918. He added that both nations were committed to sharing democratic values, economic development and security. The joint cooperation in the fight against the current world pandemic of COVID-19, also speaks of good relations.
Finally, Prof. Dr Zorana Mihajlovic, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and Minister of Mining and Energy, Co-Chair of the KSA Advisory Board, also spoke about the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations. She affirmed that this was an important year for the relations between the two countries, adding that there is one interesting and important thing regarding the Navigation and Trade Agreement signed at that time, and that is that Serbia was one of the few countries that the United States had such an early contractual relationship in the field of economics. She added that regardless of the weaker relations in some periods, both sides should be proud of the excellent 140 years of diplomatic relations. The Minister pointed out that it was time to think about strengthening political relations in addition to economic cooperation, mentioning signing an umbrella agreement in the form of a strategic partnership between Serbia and the United States, the kind Serbia already has with a large number of countries.