Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Twelfth Sitting of the Foreign Affairs Committee

At the sitting held on 15 January, the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee conducted an interview with the newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Slovenia, Predrag Filipov, before his departure for diplomatic duty.



At the sitting held on 15 January, the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee conducted an interview with the newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the Republic of Slovenia, Predrag Filipov, before his departure for diplomatic duty. The Committee sitting was chaired by Dr Dragoljub Micunovic.

Ambassador Filipov pointed out that while chairing the European Union, Slovenia will focus on solving several issues concerning Serbia, too. Striving to impose itself as an EU member in charge of monitoring the Western Balkans countries’ accession, as a moderator and interpreter of their interests, Slovenia supports an “open door policy” for the acceptance of these countries into the EU. Ambassador Filipov stated that Slovenia is committed to have the EU member states’ agreement signed in Thessaloniki 2003 refreshed, and make the ‘Thessaloniki Agenda’ more attractive and inspiring by expediting the acceptance of these countries into the European Union,.

He announced several meetings between Slovenian and European officials, among others with the new Chief Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, Serge Brammertz, on the eve of the signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Serbia and EU. In addition, Slovenia will organise a meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the European member states of the Kosovo Contact Group, striving to contribute to the expedient resolution of this issue during its mandate.

Filipov gave a positive estimate of the bilateral relations between the two countries, but stressed that some open questions of significance for Serbia are still to be resolved. The most important among them is Serbs being acknowledged as a national minority, as well as solving the status of several thousands of so-called “erased persons”, Serbs born outside of Slovenia, but permanently residing in Slovenia. As one of the important tasks he listed the recent beginning of negotiations on the signing of the agreement on social and pension insurance, which should solve the life issues of a large number of Serbian citizens who worked in Slovenia.

The Committee members supported Ambassador Filipov’s account concluding that Serbia’s relations with Slovenia must be “carefully defined”.

Chairman Micunovic informed the Committee members on the received invitations for the National Assembly and Deputies’ Standing Delegations’ participation in the activities of several international organisations. Thus, Serbian Delegations will participate in the meeting of the Third Committee of the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, held on Malta on 7 and 8 February and the winter session of the OSCE PA in Vienna 21 and 22 February. The Chairmen of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committees will participate in the conference gathering all the chairmen of such committees at the parliaments of NATO member countries, countries belonging to the Adriatic Partnership and Partnership for Peace, held in Skopje, 17 – 19 February. The Conference is titled “NATO, Bucharest and further – the role of parliamentary committees on foreign policy and defence in realising NATO goals and policy”. In addition, the members of the Serbian delegation will participate in two meetings organised by the Black Sea Economic Cooperation PA, the session of the Committee on the preparation and audit of the BSEC PA budget first, in Istanbul, 25 – 27 February, coinciding with the meeting of the BSEC PA Bureau’s extended composition, commemorating the 15th anniversary of this organisation. Afterwards, on 5 and 6 March, a session of the Committee on economy, trade, technology and environmental issues of the BSEC PA will be held in Tirana.

Also, a Committee member was designated to take part in the talks on 17 January between the delegation of the National Assembly and the delegation of the Joint Commission on human rights, children’s rights, youth, immigration, refugees, asylum and ethics of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina visiting Serbia.

At the sitting, the Committee members accepted several reports on realised parliamentary visits, meetings and talks.

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