IPU gathered 2.000 participants from 150 countries
President Vucic opened the 141st session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union last night, sending the message that a world of dialogue and compromise is possibleSource: Beta, Tanjug
The opening ceremony of the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) began with the intonation of the Serbian anthem at the Belgrade Sava Center. The IPU will run until October 17, gathering 2,000 participants from around 150 countries.
In addition to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Serbian Parliament Speaker Maja Gojkovic, the attendees were also addressed by IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron and Director General of the UN Office in Geneva Tatiana Valovaya.
The opening of the IPU Assembly was also attended by Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Ivica Dacic, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development Mladen Sarcevic, Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar, along with IPU Assembly participants.
The central theme of the IPU Assembly session is "Strengthening international law: Parliamentary roles and mechanisms and the contribution of regional cooperation", and MPs will discuss gender equality, empowering youth, human rights of parliamentarians and universal health coverage.
The session will end with the adoption of the Belgrade Declaration. Belgrade will have the honour to host an IPU session full 56 years after it had hosted the 52nd Assembly in 1963 in the then Yugoslavia. This is also the first IPU Assembly held in a European country outside of Geneva in 20 years.
Vucic: The world of dialogue and peace is possible
Vucic also stressed that Serbia is the only country that can hold such a session in Europe today.
"I want to express gratitude to IPU President Gabriela Cuevas Barron for reminding us that Belgrade, Serbia is the only place where this session can be organized. In all others, there are some hindrances, impediments for some countries. In Serbia, there are no obstacles for anyone from you, from all parts of the world", Serbian President said.
Vucic said that all our guests are dear to us, wherever they come from, and that we cooperate with all parts of the world.
"I am proud that you are all in Serbia. It seems that Serbia is the only country that can organize such a session in Europe today, because we are a free and independent country that wants to cherish friendship with everyone", said Vucic, welcoming the participants.
He assessed the gathering to be one of the most significant international events in modern history, with 2,000 members attending it, from 150 parliaments.
"It's not just a testament to the impact that the IPU has, but more importantly, how little it takes to make big dreams come true", he added.
Vucic noted that today, in a world often still based on political nightmares, parliamentarians are the part of the community that can and must dream different dreams.
"It doesn't matter how big the obstacles are, and how strong diverse interests are, it's important that we don't give up those dreams. A world of dialogue, compromise, peace is possible, just like Frédéric Passy and Randal Cremer, the founders of Inter-Parliamentary Union did, word for word, meeting after meeting, faith without giving up", Serbian President emphasized.
Perseverance and belief, genuine commitment, were and still are, he argues, the only way to ensure a world suitable for living, and parliament was created so that people can resolve their disputes and conflicts through conversation, to establish rules that will apply to everyone.
As he said, the world of dialogue and compromise is possible, but the world is still far from that ideal, noting that the same rules do not apply to everyone.
"We, small nations, are sometimes deprived of both justice and money and development. Sometimes it seems we are isolated, but today the libertarian part of the world is waking up, and people seem to feel again that independence, sovereignty and freedom to decide is something worth fighting for", Vucic said.
Vucic pointed out that a few days ago, at least three countries - Serbia, Northern Macedonia and Albania - succeeded in signing the agreement on enabling free flow of goods, people, services and capital in the market of 20 million people, so he encouraged and invited others to join.
"It is the most significant step we have made since the wars, a path that leads to peace, understanding and mutual progress. It is the best call I can make to all of us together to find ways to end conflicts and to be able to participate in the benefits without fear of loss of identity and anything else", he said.
He said that we set out to dream of peace, prosperity, equality, and that we seem to be pursuing that dream.
"Also today, as we have always been able to do, we tell everyone today that there is no greater value than our freedom. We will not allow anyone to compromise our independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, but also the right to decide on our future. We have restored our right to make our own decisions, not only to ask the great powers, but to bravely protect basic human rights, first and foremost, the right to choose our future, and we will not stop doing this. We will cherish that right", Vucic said.
He expressed hope that parliamentarians from around the world would have the opportunity to get to know Serbia and its people, who as he said, highly appreciate and love them.
"We have learned to love people from Africa, Latin America, Asia, from all continents, because we were part of the Non-Aligned Movement, but also because we knew that we should never turn our backs on friends when it's hard because we know that only few of them stood with us when in times of trouble for Serbia", Vucic said, opening the 141st IPU session.