Serbian FM Ivica Dacic Meets Georgian Leaders in Tbilisi

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic is visiting Georgia on April 24-25. Yesterday, he met with Georgian leaders, and discussed ways to deepen ties between the two countries.

While meeting with his Serbian counterpart, Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani focused on bilateral and multilateral issues of cooperation.

The meeting was followed by a joint press briefing, with Zalkaliani saying the two countries relations have been developing “positively and dynamically” in recent years, and that opening of honorary consulate in Belgrade is yet another proof of this. 

In his remarks, FM Dacic expressed satisfaction with the fact, that there “were no open issues” in bilateral relation. He also said Serbia has a “firm and principled position regarding safeguarding of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia”.

Dacic stated that the trade relations, with turnover only at 7 million EUR, can improve and diversify much further, and the two sides consider a free trade agreement. He said Georgia can serve as a good example for Serbia in development of the civil service.

Georgia’s trade turnover with Serbia, according to the National Statistics Office, Geostat, stood at USD 7.3 million in 2018, with exports at USD 21.9 thousand (USD 220.5 thousand in 2017) and imports at USD 7.07 million (USD 6.95 million in 2017).

He said the two sides are linked with “partnership, friendship and love” and that the “friendship needs to be cherished”, since sometimes people “pay more attention to our enemies, than to our friends” and said his visit and his intention is to change that state of affairs.

In conclusion, FM Dacic said he hopes that the talks about starting direct flights between Belgrade and Tbilisi would succeed, adding jokingly that he also expects opening of the Georgian restaurant in Belgrade.

At the meeting with President Salome Zurabishvili, Minister Dacic reiterated his country’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Zurabishvili’s press office reported

On her part, President Zurabishvili also confirmed Georgia’s support to Serbia and noted that its position about the status of Kosovo will not change. 

Zurabishvili briefed Dacic on grave human rights and security situation in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions and on recent cases of abduction. The Georgian President also asked Minister Dacic to visit the occupation line and become familiar with the situation on ground.

Zurabishvili later wrote on her Facebook page that during the meeting she also asked Minister Dacic “to raise the issue of Georgia at bilateral meetings with Russia and to remind [Moscow] of its commitments.”

In Tbilisi, Minister Dacic also met with Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, with the two stressing importance of deepening their countries’ political and economic ties, as well as people-to-people relations. Serbian MFA reported, that the two spoke about reforms ongoing in both countries in fields of digitalisation, development of public services, upgrade of infrastructure and communications and creation of conducive environment for business. FM Dacic has invited PM Bakhtadze to visit Serbia.

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