IM in Australia, discusses visas, police cooperation

CANBERRA -- Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić met on Monday in Canberra with Australian Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen, said reports.

Ivica Dačić and Bill Patterson (Tanjug)
Ivica Dačić and Bill Patterson (Tanjug)

The spoke about possibilities of introducing facilitation measures for the issuance of Australian visas for Serbia citizens, Beta news agency reported.

The Serbian Interior Ministry announced that an agreement had been reached to begin talks that could lead to procedural relief measures being introduced during the issuance of Australian visas to Serbian citizens and their validity being extended.

Dačić recalled that after 2000, Serbia abolished visas for Australian citizens, but that Australia had a visa policy according to which everybody is required to have a visa to enter the country, except the British Queen and citizens of New Zealand.

Dačić and Bowen also spoke about the Serbian diaspora which numbers more than 100,000 citizens in Australia. Dačić also spoke in Canberra with members of the Australian parliament's foreign policy committee and Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, who announced that he would visit Belgrade.

On Wednesday, Dačić and Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police Tony Negus will sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the Serbian Ministry of the Interior (MUP) and the Australian Federal Police in the fight against transnational crime, the MUP released.

Ivica Dačić stated on Tuesday that Serbia wants to join the global counter-terrorism pact.

Dačić conveyed this position to the Australian Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism Bill Paterson in the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Serbian Interior Ministry released in a statement.

Serbia would like to join the global counter-terrorism pact, in which it would assist the tracking down of criminals in cases such as the recent one relating to an Australian citizen born in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dačić said.