At a meeting of the South East European Co-operation Process, SEECP, in Montenegro’s seaside resort of Budva, Sutanovac stressed that Serbia has a significant role in promoting that cooperation
He warned that, “despite the evident improvement of the regional spirit and cooperation, we should not close our eyes to obvious problems.”
“In addition to the unresolved status of Kosovo-Metohija, the region is also burdened with issues of insufficiently developed economies and high unemployment rates,” Sutanovac pointed out.
According to the minister, additional areas of concern include high levels of corruption, organised crime, trafficking in people, narcotics, weapons and body parts and failures to resolve issues of return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes.
“The unsatisfactory quality of life is what should concern us politicians the most, because we are here primarily for the benefit of citizens,” he stressed.
The SEECP meeting brought together the defence ministers of member states from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.
Sutanovac noted that the entire region was committed to membership in the European Union and that “regional cooperation is a key segment of the EU’s policy towards the Western Balkans, since the EU itself came into being through the development of regional cooperation.”
He said that “in 2011 we have results which clearly show that there is no alternative to resolving disputes and problems through cooperation.”
“If we take the example of Serbia, only in terms of bilateral relations in the field of defense until and including 2010, we see that it has established contractual relations with all the countries in the region, except Albania, but this is something Serbia will work on in the foreseeable future,” he added.
During the gathering in Budva, the Serbian defense minister held bilateral meetings with his colleagues from Montenegro, Boro Vucinic, from Turkey, Mehmet Gonul and Albania, Arben Imami.