Speech by the President of the Republic of Srpska Željka Cvijanović at the Saint Sava Academy in Skopje:
Dear Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia,
Distinguished Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Serbia,
Distinguished Members of Parliament, Representatives of Institutions, Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am honored to be in Skopje tonight and to have the opportunity to attend the celebration of the national holiday of Serbs in Northern Macedonia.
I am glad that we are together on the day when we celebrate Saint Sava, the first Serbian archbishop, educator and great man who with his invaluable spiritual, moral and intellectual heritage established our identity, illuminated the path of harmony and national unity of the Serb people.
The Holy Sacrament is a symbol of our identity and unity, and that is why there is no better and more appropriate date, than the one you have chosen, or rather, the one you have chosen for your national holiday.
January 27 is celebrated not only here in Skopje, on the banks of the River Vardar, or in Kumanovo, but also in the cities on the Vrbas, Sava and Danube, Morava and Morača, Ibar, as well as throughout Europe and the world, wherever our compatriots live.
I am here tonight to extend warm fraternal greetings on behalf of the citizens of the Republic of Srpska and on my own behalf, as well as gratitude for mutual support, understanding and good cooperation.
The Serbs in Northern Macedonia are an indigenous people, they are present for here centuries, with a rich cultural and historical heritage. The medieval and modern history of our people is inconceivable without Skopje, Kumanovo, Bitola and Kajmakčalan, as evidenced by numerous monuments, beautiful churches and monasteries, but also those present here, who proudly and with dignity celebrate the name of Saint Sava and their national holiday.
And that is why, from this place here, I wish to send a message of peace and cooperation with all people and nations living in our region with the desire to respect each other, and to build a better, more successful and happier future for all generations to come.
Peace and regional stability are exactly what we strive for, because it is a precondition for strengthening cooperation and trust between states and peoples, without which there is no sustainable development or long-term prosperity in this area.
We are committed to participating in regional integration processes aimed at stronger economic integration of our countries.
The modern economy strives to enlarge the market, remove unnecessary barriers and simpler procedures, and that is why I am convinced that a stronger connection is a great opportunity for all of us and the path we should all take together because it will bring concrete benefits to our citizens and economy.
Therefore, we want to strengthen institutional cooperation with Northern Macedonia and I am convinced that the Serbian community in this country can be a strong link that will further connect our institutions, but also businessmen, artists, academia, athletes and many others.
You have greatly honoured me by inviting me to attend the celebration on the occasion of Sava Day and your, or better to say, our national holiday. And I think that is the essence of our modern national integration.
To never do anything to the detriment of others, but to build bridges between our peoples, to mark together, to progress, to remember and celebrate all important holidays together, such as this one today.
In that regard, I congratulate you on the holiday of the Serb people in Northern Macedonia, with the desire to remain strong and united on the path of preserving our identity. I also want you to continue to build an even better and more successful future, both for your country and for the entire region.