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Jeremić Holds a Lecture in Niš

The President of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) Vuk Jeremić held a lecture at the Faculty of Law of the University of Niš.

The third in a series of lectures entitled Serbia and the World was held on the initiative of the Students’ Union of the Faculty of Law in Niš. The CIRSD President reflected on some of the most significant global challenges of our time, thus focusing the lecture’s introduction on recent developments in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia.

Jeremić said that East Asia is today’s economic cornerstone, arguing that the China-led Belt and Road Initiative in many ways resembles the Marshal Plan in the wake of World War II. He added that those who are prudent enough to truly understand economic and political processes in East Asia will have the comparative advantage in the conduct of contemporary international relations. Luckily, “Serbia has good relations with China,” which can be of substantial significance.

Jeremić also said that “Trump’s announcement of the bid to normalize relations with Russia will, if materialized, be good news for the world,” adding, however, that the incoming U.S. administration’s relationship with China remains a far more complex matter. While the decision of the Obama administration to go ahead with the Iran nuclear deal will temporarily delay the nuclearization of the Middle East, it will most certainly guarantee Iran’s nuclear prospects in a decade, Jeremić asserted.

Moving on to the race for the post of ninth UN Secretary-General, CIRSD President said that “our candidacy has helped raise the visibility and international stature of Serbia,” stating that the chance to even have a candidate for the top UN post significantly increases a country’s reputation. “This is partly due to the fact that we were the only country to propose a concrete 53-commitment platform on how to reform the UN system,” Jeremić said.

Drawing on his extensive diplomatic experience, Jeremić also talked about his term as President of the UN General Assembly and Serbia’s successful effort to secure the OSCE Chairmanship back in 2011. He spoke about the indisputable link between foreign and domestic policies, asserting that mistakes made in one could easily undermine efforts in the other.

The closing section of the lecture featured a question and answer session. Asked about Serbia’s place in the international arena, Jeremić said that relations with the West cannot be observed by looking at one or two most powerful countries of the bloc, as well as that Serbia should continue nurturing its relationship with Russia as a comparative advantage. “Our destiny, however, is to remain in the strategic triangle between the West, the East, and the Southeast, for this has been a part of our reality for generations,” Jeremić said.  

Responding to an allegation that he had refused an offer of the Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres to become his deputy, Jeremić said that Serbia should not blindly accept every compromise on the table, concluding that his decision was to wait for the final vote without having negotiated any consolation prizes.

The video recording of the entire event is available below.

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