The Speech of HRH Crown Prince Alexander II at the “3rd Summit of Serbia and Montenegro” – Hotel “Hyatt Regency” Belgrade, 24th of February 2003
Your Excellency Prime Minister of Montenegro
Mr. Milo Djukanovic
Ministers and Ambassadors
The Mayor of Belgrade
Ladies and Gentlemen
I extend a very warm thank you to all of you who are returning to Serbia and Montenegro and a warm welcome to those of you who are coming here for the first time – It is nice to see you at the Third Summit. I would like to congratulate the organizers and the sponsors that made this important conference possible.
Our peaceful revolution of October 5th 2000 is just two years and four months old that is only 28 months ago. So much has happened domestically and internationally since that historical date. We continue to be a growing democracy clearly debating so many issues freely and openly.
On October 5th 2000 we inherited the past that brought with it many complex situations. Our proud people had suffered and were hurt. Our people were eager for the opportunity to have jobs, security and a future in a democratic and peaceful society.
We must consider that merely 28 months ago our country had only just begun the road of transition into democracy, market economy and the effort to create a modern and law-abiding society. As our government said we had to tackle a devastated economy, financial institutions, utility systems, and a decline of basic moral and social values. That was just part of the concerns the new government faced upon taking office. We strived to become members once again of European and international organizations
and eventually a member of the European Union. We skilfully negotiated with international entities to reduce our debt.
We made big efforts to improve our international relations and warmly welcomed foreign leaders, politicians. We also cordially welcomed investors like you to our new democracy. We instigated excellent economic policies thanks to the skill of our ministers and government experts.
We have political debate, but at no time were we ever unstable and there has been no civil unrest. On the contrary the debate has always been in the open just like in any democracy. On the whole there have been many positive improvements.
Good work has been done with human rights and tolerance for all citizens regardless of their ethnic origin or religion.
Considering all the monumental situations we have not stopped and as the saying goes: Rome was not built in a day.
Today globally we are no longer headline news, because there is peace, cooperation and hope in our region, however the fundamental needs of our people have not stopped being important after such incredible deprivation.
A personal remark I would like to stress. The aggression mounted against our country in 1999 cost a fortune. Today, two years and four months after the dawn of democracy, and in comparison to the billions that had been spent on the aggression only a miserly drop of financial aid has reached our country.
Naturally we are most grateful for the help we have received and we very warmly thank the nations, and international entities who have been good to us and continue to do so.
However I would boldly mention the following shocking principle: It is easier to pay for war than to pay for peace. I find that shameful and even more so now that my wife and I have travelled extensively throughout our country. We witnessed first hand the severe conditions our people have inherited from the past. Our people experienced such appalling horrors such as bombing, sanctions, isolation and the cunning dictatorship of the past.
I am proud to say our democratic governments in Montenegro and Serbia continue to skilfully and tirelessly work on reforms, promote our country’s opportunities and encourage investors. Our governments continue to strive to overcome extremely tough situations in all sectors that also include health care and social services.
After September 11 2001 the world changed. Innocent people from all nationalities lost their lives and suffered owing to appalling acts of terrorism in the United States, Indonesia and elsewhere across our planet.
In the aftermath of these acts of terrorism the world economy suffered and this directly affected our chances of recovery even more so.
The situation today is exasperated by the climate of uncertainty in the Middle East. We hope for peace and a better future for everyone and that the global economy will soon recover. Notwithstanding the global financial down turn and the consequences on the economic situation in Serbia and Montenegro, we do have great opportunities and incentives in all sectors for the international investor and partner.
I am certain that you will hear all about these exceptional opportunities from our government experts and other contributors today and tomorrow.
In conclusion, we are grateful to those of you who have already invested in country. We look forward to more investments, partnerships and lasting friendship. I wish you all the very best and look forward to warmly welcoming you this evening at The White Palace.