Foreign ministers stress need to foster Serbia-Uganda ties

BELGRADE -- Serbia and Uganda should strengthen their bonds of friendship and work on joint projects, especially in the economic sector, their foreign ministers say.

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Ivan Mrkić was the host to Uganda's Sam Kutesa on Monday in Belgrade, when he told a joint news conference that they had signed an agreement to establish regular political consultations between the two ministries - one of intergovernmental agreements.

The Serbian foreign minister said that he and Kutesa agreed on the need to urgently draft an agreement that will enhance economic cooperation between the two countries by way of avoidance of double taxation and the protection and promotion of investments.

“Uganda is an old friend of Serbia's,” said Mrkić, adding that Serbia is on the road to full membership in the EU, but is not forgetting its old friends, particularly those in Africa, where it established a lot of friendships decades ago.

Mrkić expressed the hope that Serbian enterprises will be able to re-establish themselves in commercial projects of African countries, especially in a country as friendly as Uganda.

Kutesa will have a series of meetings in Belgrade, mostly with the people working in the economic field, Mrkić said, expressing the hope that the visit will bring concrete results in terms of planned economic activities between Serbia and Uganda.

Thanking Uganda for its principled support of Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, Mrkić said that Uganda does not intend to change its stance on Kosovo and Metohija.

Minister Mrkić said that Serbia's senior officials should visit Africa and Uganda soon.

Kutesa said that the agreement signed today will encourage businessmen of the two countries to do safe-investment business with each other.

Pointing out that Serbia and Uganda cooperate in many areas at the international level, the Ugandan foreign minister said that the two countries should continue to strengthen their relationship.

There are great opportunities for investment in the areas of trade, tourism and many other sectors, Kutesa said, adding that certain Serbian companies are already doing business in Uganda, but that the scope of the joint operations should be increased.

During his meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić in Belgrade Monday, the Ugandan minister said that the African country will continue to support Serbia's stance concerning the Kosovo issue.

Nikolić thanked his guest for the principled stance of Uganda not to recognize Kosovo, adding that " full-fledged membership in the EU is the most important but not the only goal of Serbian foreign policy, and developing relations with other countries, above all with those with whom we have traditional and friendly ties, is no less important for our country."

“Serbia is committed to redeveloping old friendships, and it is here that African countries are very important. Our desire is to reinforce the ties we once had, as that is a reliable and proven way for Serbia and her friends to grow,” said Nikolić.

He added that Serbia has recently become actively involved in United Nations peacekeeping operations in Africa, pointing out that it only participates there in a fully neutral manner, desiring to see sustainable peace and stability established in the regions facing crisis.

"Also, our country is becoming involved in a program of schooling international students again, which is considered to be very important for the establishment of the best possible relations with the countries that these students are coming from," a Serbian government statement quoted him as saying.

Minister Kutesa said that Uganda wants a comprehensive development of economic and trade relations with Serbia, adding that companies from Uganda are interested in importing agricultural machines produced in our country, according to the release.

Minister Kutesa conveyed the greetings of the president of Uganda to President Nikolić.