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Serbia celebrates National Day

On the occasion of the National day of the Republic of Serbia, Charge d’Affaires and Mrs. Branko Marijanac of Serbia hosted a reception at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on Feb. 18, 2014.
There were many distinguished guests from the Korean society and the international community as well as from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps (SDC).

Among the Korean guests in attendance were Hankuk Kyungje Business Daily TV Editor Jang Ik-Kyung, Korean Honorary Consul General Kim Han-Young of Bhutan, Rev. Park Sung-Uk (chief abbot of the Cheonman-sa Buddhist Temple in Ulsan) and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.

From left: Ambassadors Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Hocine Sahraoui of Algeria, Hakan Okcal of Turkey, Konstantine V. Vnukov of Russia, Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta of Paraguay, Branko Marijanac of Serbia (CDA), Dato Haji Harun Ismail of Brunei Darussalam (dean of Seoul Diplomatic Corps) and Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine: an unidentified diplomat; and Ambassadors Nikoloz Apkhazava of Georgia and Ngovi Kitau of Kenya.

From the SDC came many mission chiefs who included Ambassadors Hocine Sahraoui of Algeria, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan (CDA), Natallia Jhylevich of Belarus, Dato Haji Harun Ismail of Brunei Darussalam, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Nikoloz Apkhazava of Georgia, Ngovi Kitau of Kenya, Aram Cisneros of Panama, Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta of Paraguay, Krzysztof Majka of Poland, Konstantine V. Vnukov of Russia, Tajeldin Elhadi Eltahir of Sudan, Hakan Okcal of Turkey and Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine.

Speaking to the guests, CDA Marijanac of Serbia said: “February 15 is a very special day in the Serbian history. In Serbia this date is called Sretenje, or Candlemas. Two major historic events happened on this date. One of them was in the year 1804, 210 years ago, the first Serbian uprising against Ottoman occupation took place and, after a long struggle, Serbia gained freedom and independence. The second, in the year 1835, Serbia adopted its first Constitution. It was one of the most progressive and liberal constitutions in the 19th century in Europe, and it set up foundations of democracy and rule of law.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this Article.)

Performing the role of the MC that evening was a Serbian Co-ed Jelena Milosabljic (from Academy of Korean Studies) who spoke the Korean language so well that one would not have been able to distinguish her from native Koreans unless one saw the striking beauty of Serbia.

From left: Ambassador Konstantin V. Vnukov of Russia, General Manager Bernhard Brender of Grand Hilton Seoul, and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post

Excerpts from the speech of CDA Marijanac of Serbia:
Let me greet you and thank you all for being here with us tonight to mark the National day of the Republic of Serbia. February 15 is a very special day in the Serbian history. In Serbia this date is called Sretenje, or Candlemas. Two major historic events happened on this date:
- First, in the year 1804, 210 years ago, the first Serbian uprising against Ottoman occupation took place and, after a long struggle, Serbia gained freedom and independence.
- Second, in the year 1835, Serbia adopted its first Constitution. It was one of the most progressive and liberal constitutions in the 19th century in Europe, and it set up foundations of democracy and rule of law.

These two events represent historical cornerstones of the modern Serbian state.
Last month, Serbia officially started talks on the accession to the EU. The process is certainly long and challenging, but we believe that, based on the wide consensus of major political parties and Serbian people, we will finally get the place in the community of European nations, where Serbia rightfully belongs. For its part, Serbia wants to be an active and constructive Member State whose actions will contribute to the realization of the goals and values that the EU is based upon. Parliamentary elections in Serbia next month will certainly contribute to this goal.

Ms. Jelena Milosavljevic poses for the camera. (She speaks Korean very well, studying Korean language at The Academy of Korean Studies )

Although accession to the EU is a major political objective, Serbia is determined to continue and further develop its relations and cooperation with all friendly countries in Europe, Asia and other continents. Among them, Korea is certainly an important partner and we hope that our bilateral relations will further develop in the years to come. This year we can mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and Serbia (in 1989 it was Yugoslavia, and Serbia is pursuing continuity with former Yugoslavia). Although geographically distant, our two nations have a lot in common: aside from two unique alphabets-hangeul in Korea and Serbian which is following the principle of ?rite as you speak and read as it is written? similar size and climate, our two countries have similar turbulent historical experience, marked with strong determination for freedom and independence. Therefore, it is very important to preserve correct interpretation of history.

Let me wish you all good health, professional success and personal well-being in the Year of the horse!

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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