Italian president arrives in Belgrade, meets with Nikolic
President of Italy Sergio Mattarella started Monday his official visit to Serbia by meeting his Serbian counterpart Tomislav Nikolic.Source: Tanjug
Mattarella, who is in Belgrade on Nikolic's invitation, was given an official welcome in front of the Palace of Serbia with Guard of Honor lined up as an orchestra played the two countries' national anthems.
After the welcome ceremony, the two presidents held a meeting, followed by talks between Serbia and Italy's delegations.
The two countries' relations are characterized by "mutual trust and friendship," the two presidents told the press during a joint news conference.
Serbia and Italy share traditional friendship, cooperation and understanding, and the fact that Italy has for a while now ranked as one of the top three investors in the Serbian economy serves as a testimony of this, Nikolic said.
Nikolic added he believes that companies like Fiat, Benetton and Calzedonia "constitute an excellent basis for further improvement of cooperation."
The Serbian president said that the two countries also share mutual trust which the two nations built together for a number of years.
If we continue working together, we can create even more room for improvement of cooperation, realization of joint projects and joint presentations on third markets, he said.
"We have a strong and realistic vision of progress and cooperation," Nikolic said and expressed gratitude to Italy for its support in the process of Serbia's European integration.
Mattarella said that his country supports the opening of chapters in the EU entry negotiations with Serbia as soon as possible.
He added that the two countries are bound together with good relations and the broad cooperation in numerous fields, and voiced the hope that it would be improved even further.
Underscoring that the two countries take identical positions on international issues, he said that Italy will support Serbia along the EU integration path.
"Italy backs the position that initial chapters in the accessions talks between the EU and Serbia should be opened as soon as possible," Mattarella said, adding that this is in the interest of the Western Balkans' stability.
In the afternoon, Nikolic and Mattarella will lay wreaths at the Italian military cemetery and Mausoleum to Defenders of Belgrade in the First World War at the New Cemetery.
Also on Monday, the Italian president will meet Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic and address Serbian MPs at an extraordinary session.