New Zealand Embassy Rome, Italy
Minister McCully makes historical first visit to Serbia
On 23 June, Minister McCully met with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić in Belgrade. It was the first official visit by a New Zealand minister to Serbia since the normalisation of diplomatic ties between the two countries in the 1990s.
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues including Serbia’s perspectives on developments in the Balkans, its aspirations for closer integration with Europe, and the appointment of Honorary Consuls in both countries.
Minister McCully expressed his sincere condolences over the catastrophic floods that recently hit Serbia and other Balkan states, adding that New Zealand had donated NZ$150,000 to the International Federation of Red Cross for flood relief activities. The minister also announced streamlined visa processing for Serbians wishing to travel to New Zealand. Both Ministers agreed to raise the level of political dialogue between their respective countries and to enhance economic cooperation in the future.
Minister McCully also met with Prime Minister Aleksander Vučić and made courtesy calls on President Tomislav Nikolić and Speaker of the National Assembly, Maja Gojković. In all his meetings the minister presented New Zealand’s case for a non-permanent UNSC seat for the period 2015-2016. The minister was hosted to an official lunch and laid a wreath at the Commonwealth cenotaph of the Belgrade War Cemetery in remembrance of the 15 New Zealand WWII veterans who are interred there.