BELGRADE – The foreign ministers of Serbia and the Holy See, Ivica Dacic and Dominique Mamberti respectively, signed on Friday an agreement on cooperation in the field of tertiary education, and agreed that Serbia and the Holy See have common interests, and that cooperation should be encouraged.
At a joint press conference after the signing ceremony, Dacic said that it would be in the interest of the state of Serbia that Pope Francis visits the country at state level, adding that he could not speak about relations between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
“I think that the agreement is a step forward in the sense that in our relations we as a state lacked the courage for a long time to speak in line with our interests,” the first deputy prime minister said.
“It is in the interest of our state to find the best possible conditions for dialogue and visits of top church dignitaries and state officials,” Dacic stressed.
Dacic also thanked the Vatican for support to Serbia in relation to the non-recognition of Kosovo’s independence, and the aid sent to the Serbian people after the recent severe floods.
The Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, said that his visit to Serbia is a sign of good relations between the Holy See and Serbia, but also a confirmation of a constructive dialogue that the Vatican would like to have with Serbia.
The agreement that has been signed today is another special proof of good cooperation, as it states that the two sides will work on fostering and encouraging cooperation and dialogue, Mamberti said, underscoring that the document encourages cooperation in the important field of tertiary education.
According to Mamberti, the agreement could bring only good things to Serbia as it will contribute to it being recognized at international level as a state that respects human rights through the practice of religion.
I hope that you will continue along the road toward achieving perfect harmony among all people and communities that make up your country, and continue fostering dialogue, mutual respect and cooperation so as to maintain that common spirit and shared values, Mamberti said, voicing confidence that Serbia will make progress in both spiritual and material terms.