Friday, June 4, 2010

Serbian President Boris Tadic and Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos pay tribute to the Serbian fallen of WWI's Macedonian Front in Salonica, Greece June 3, 2010

Serbian President Boris Tadic

Photo of Zejtinlik, the Serbian Military Cemetery in
Thessaloniki (Salonica) Greece, taken by "Avala".
Wikipedia Commons

President opens business forum in Greece

3 June 2010 / Tanjug

THESSALONIKI -- At the end of his three-day official visit to Greece, Serbian President Boris Tadić today opened a business forum.

Tadić visits the Serb military cemetery in Thessaloniki (Tanjug)
June 3, 2010

The event gathered leading businesspeople from Greece and Serbia in the Greek city of Thessaloniki.

The Serbian market has huge development potential and the prosperity of the Western Balkans can hardly be imagined without Serbia having a crucial role in it, Tadić said.

At the start of the forum Tadić underlined that Serbia offers the best business opportunities in the Balkans.

Serbia is the geographic, business and intellectual center of this region, and as one of the signatories of the CEFTA agreement and similar agreements with Russia, Belarus and Turkey, it offers the chance of export to the market with over 800 million consumers, the Serbian president said.

He expressed gratitude to Greece for the support it has been giving Serbia in both the political and economic field.

“Over 200 Greek companies are doing business in Serbia and Greece has invested EU 2.5bn into Serbia. It is only through economic integration that the Balkans can be politically stabilized,” Tadić said.

The Serbian president reiterated that it was in Thessaloniki, during a summit in the city in 2003, that a clear European perspective of the region was confirmed, pointing out that now, seven years after that summit, Serbia continues to insist on that strategic goal.

“The European perspective is a strong incentive for the process of democratization and stabilization of the entire region. Any slowing down of this process would result in a high price which would have to be paid not only by the people of the West Balkans, but also by the citizens of the EU,” Tadić said, and added that this would bring about inconceivable economic and security consequences to the whole of the EU.

Also on Thursday in Thessaloniki, Tadić and Greek Defense Minister Evangelos Venizelos laid wreaths at the monument to Serb soldiers at the Serb Military Cemetery Zejtinlik.

The ceremony was attended by Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac, Greek Archbishop Varnavas and others.

The ceremony began with a minute of silence observed for the fallen Serb soldiers, after which the Greek army orchestra played the anthems of the two countries.

A total of 5,680 Serb soldiers are buried in the crypt beneath the chapel, and another 1,440 in ten different cemetery plots.

The Zejtinlik cemetery has two common graves with the remains of 295 unknown soldiers who were killed on the Macedonian front during the First World War, and another grave with the remains of 125 Partisans fallen in the Second World War.

Tadić on Wednesday discussed with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou the economic cooperation between the two countries, instruments of the fight against the financial crisis and the issue of Kosovo and Metohija.


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