BELGRADE -- President Aleksandar Vučić, after signing the declaration with Czech President Miloš Zeman, held a joint conference.
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FOTO TANJUG/ ZORAN ŽESTIĆ/bs
After the face-to-face meeting between Vučić and Zeman and the plenary meetings of the two delegations, a joint declaration was signed on the strengthening of cultural cooperation and the establishment of the "Czech House".
"Dear President of the Czech Republic, my dear friend Miloš, I was given the honor to address the President by his name, which speaks of the friendship between our two countries," said President Vučić at the very beginning of his speech.
"In the political sense, I am especially happy that I was able to host President Zeman. What he said two years ago, concerning Kosovo and Metohija, concerning our Serbia, remained in the heart of every citizen of ours. He looked at me in a bit of amazement when I told him that I hardly know any president in Europe, and not only in Europe but also on other continents, who is as popular in Serbia as President Zeman. And that is because the president of the Czech Republic has shown courage that no one in Europe has, even though from that he had nothing but attacks and headaches from the Czech and European media, President Zeman showed how great and brave people can make history. And Serbian people will always remember this gesture of his. And thanks once again to him and the Czech people who have entrusted him so many times with the position of president," said President Vučić.
"There are many projects we are working on. Czech House is a place that will be important in our relations. There are also factories that want additional investments in our defense industry. I see that the word peace is banned in the world … replaced with victory of one over the other… Peace can’t be mentioned anywhere,” Vucic said. Serbian President said that cooperation between the two countries’ defense industries is good and added that Serbia won’t sell weapons to Ukraine or Russia. We cooperate and will do a lot on the issue of transport. We also discussed the situation in Ukraine, we agree on that, we respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Serbia is the only one that has not introduced sanctions against Russia. We have had experience with sanctions and we know that they did no good to anyone," said Vučić and wished Zeman to stay in political life for a long time:
"I wish Zeman good health, I congratulate the newly elected president of the Czech Republic. everything you do, Serbia will never forget. You rarely have the opportunity to talk with a man of such intellectual capacity as Zeman. You will always be respected here, I had the privilege of speaking with you several times, and let's call each other friends".
After that, Czech President Miloš Zeman addressed the media.
Zeman is the only head of state or government of a NATO member who apologized to Serbia for the 1999 air campaign which he approved as Czech Prime Minister at the time.
"I am proud to have Serbia's highest award. We talked about bilateral cooperation. Two years ago, during Vucic’s visit, I said that I apologize for the fact that Czechia gave approval for NATO planes to cross its territory to bomb FR Yugoslavia. I asked for forgiveness the only time in my life prior to this. I said it on purpose in Prague. I appreciate that "Serbia condemned the Russian aggression in Ukraine. I did not condemn only the bombing of Serbia, but also the abandonment of Afghanistan, which led to the victory of the Taliban. I want to congratulate Serbia on its successful economic results, the Czech Republic has been struggling with a deficit for a long time," Zeman pointed out, and then spoke about the Czech house.
"I believe that unlike the street, the Czech House will remain a monument of Czech-Serbian cooperation. I am firmly convinced that when we open the home, we will do something significant. Once again, I would like to thank the Serbian people for their friendship," Zeman pointed out.
Presidents on Kosovo and Metohija
When asked by a journalist if he regrets that the initiative to withdraw the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo was not passed, Zeman said:
"I tried to get the Czech Republic to revoke the recognition of Kosovo. I want to remind you that at one time the Czech Parliament called on the government to revoke the recognition, but things have changed. On the other hand, I welcomed the fact that Hashim Thaci is in The Hague. I did not give my consent to sending ambassador in Pristina," said Zeman.