President in Israel for two-day official visit

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić on Monday started his two-day official visit to Israel with a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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Nikolić was welcomed with top state honors, and the sounding of the two countries' anthems.

Nikolić advocated strengthening of economic cooperation between Serbia and Israel in Jerusalem on Monday, and thanked the country for its "principled support to Serbia's stance on the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo and Metohija," expressing hope that this position will be maintained.

Israel has not recognized the ethnic Albanians' proclamation made in early 2008.

After a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres, Nikolić said: "My visit is an expression of gratitude for the support to the efforts we have been making in order to find a solution that would be in the interest of stability. Serbia is grateful for the understanding with which Israel addresses the issue that is of great importance to us. We expect that the existing position will be maintained," Nikolić stressed.

He also said that he came to Israel "with great satisfaction and deeply convinced that his visit will result in further strengthening of cooperation between Serbia and Israel, for mutual benefit."

According to the Serbian president, Serbia wants to further enhance economic cooperation with Israel, and his visit aims to reaffirming the possibilities and need for strengthening the cooperation in the field of investments, finance, agriculture, information technologies and security and defense sector.

Nikolić underlined that he feels privileged to be able to pay honor to the victims of Holocaust at the Yad Vashem memorial on behalf of Serbia and its citizens.

"To my knowledge, there is a special section there dedicated to Jasenovac concentration camp in which mass execution of hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people was carried out during World War II on the territory of the so-called Independent State of Croatia," he noted.

Nikolić pointed out that his meeting and acquaintance with Peres is a special privilege and a pleasure, as he is an inspiration to all nationally responsible leadership in the world.

He is also scheduled to confer with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Knesset (parliament) Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, cabinet minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III.

The president is accompanied by his advisor Marko Đurić and Agriculture Minister Goran Knežević.

The Serbian delegation will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial, where Nikolić will lay a wreath. He will then tour the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of Archangel Michael, the Church of the Nativity, and the St. Sava Monastery.

Israeli Ambassador to Serbia Yosef Levy told Tanjug ahead of the visit that the two countries have excellent bilateral relations and that those are based on "a deep solidarity between the Serb and Jewish peoples."

According to the diplomat, Serbia and Israel have a number of signed agreements, "but also a very good dialogue and joint interests." He noted the real estate sector cooperation as having great potential.

"Israelis are among the biggest real estate investors in Serbia. I think every Serbian who goes shopping comes across some facility built by Israelis. I'm referring to Airport City in Belgrade, Plaza in Kragujevac... these are examples of the very good relations with Serbia that we can further develop in the economy," Levy was quoted as saying.

After Israel, Nikolić will travel to Palestine, where he will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Peres glad that EU considering Serbia

Israel's President Shimon Peres said in Jerusalem on Monday that he is particularly glad that the EU is seriously considering Serbia as a new member state because of the progress achieved in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, and underscored that all conflicts should be resolved in that way.

You in the Balkans are going through the phase of EU integration, which is now undergoing a revival. I am very happy that the EU is now seriously considering the possibility of accepting Serbia as a new member state. I am also very glad about your dialogue with Kosovo. All conflicts should be resolved through dialogue, Peres said after meeting Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić.

The Israeli president backed the strengthening of bilateral cooperation, pointing to the friendly ties between the two countries and a possibility for enriching that friendship.

Both President Nikolić and I want to build a world based on science and new technologies in new world relations, Peres said.

He assured Nikolić that in Israel he will always be received as a friend, among people who want friendship with the Serbian people.

We want to add new content to that friendship, especially the cooperation in domains of science, technology and agriculture, Peres said.

He added that he is particularly pleased that Minister of Agriculture Goran Knezevic is a member of the Serbian delegation, underlining that for Israel, agriculture is an important area of science.

Peres wished the Serbian president a welcome to the Israeli capital, voicing hope that his visit will be full of friendship and joy.

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Politics Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11:13 Comments: 13
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