By chairing the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and by having successfully organised the 22nd summit of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Serbia has shown that it has become a serious factor on the international scene, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said at the end of the OSCE ministerial summit in Belgrade on Saturday.
"Serbia has proven to be a serious player on the international scene and shown that it can chair an organisation whose topic of discussion it was several times in the past. We have proven that Serbia's international position has changed and that the country plays an important role after all that it has accomplished in recent years, as acknowledged by the very participants of the Belgrade conference," Dacic said at a joint news conference with Vucic.
Expectations ahead of the Belgrade summit that at the event, "after so many deep divisions a spirit of compromise and tolerance will suddenly start to reign", were unrealistic, said Dacic.
"Still, we have adopted several important documents - on the fight against terrorism, on violent extremism that leads to terrorism, on young people and on security... Compromise could not be reached on some other topics but everybody noticed that the tone we used in addressing one another reflected much more tolerance and respect than in the previous years," said Dacic.
The lack of compromise on some topics was mostly due to disagreement between the interested sides on which term to use for the conflicts in Ukraine or the migrant crisis, Dacic explained, adding that the disagreements, too, showed that Serbia could still be a place of talks and agreement.
PM Vucic said that he had a number of very important bilateral meetings - from EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and US Secretary of State John Kerry to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the foreign ministers of Germany, Turkey, Austria and Japan.
For Serbia it is very important that we have agreed several visits for this year and the next, said Vucic.
Dacic announced a visit by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev for the first half of 2016, and a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is to attend a business forum in Belgrade. The Serbian PM said that he accepted invitations to visit Japan and that he invited the Japanese PM to visit Serbia.
The Belgrade meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council ended in the night between Friday and Saturday. Despite an additional afternoon meeting on Friday, which was not envisaged by the summit's protocol, no agreement was reached on several topics of the summit. The main topics of the ministerial conference of the 57 OSCE member-countries were the fight against terrorism, the Ukraine crisis and the migrant crisis, climate change, the Russian-Turkish dispute following the shooting down of a Russian military plane, and the fight against narcotics abuse. Among the draft declarations that were not adopted was one on the freedom of assembly and expression and the freedom of the media.
The end of the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council officially marked the end of Serbia's year-long chairmanship of the OSCE. In 2016 Germany takes over the presidency of the organisation.