Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado said on Thursday that his country would closely cooperate with the new Serbian government on Serbia's ambition to join the European Union when it takes over the EU presidency in July.
"Serbia is a European country, with strong ties to European culture and we wish Serbia to become a member of our European family," visiting Amado said at a joint press conference with his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic.
During its six-month EU presidency slated to begin on July 1, Portugal will send out a powerful message that the EU would strengthen relations with the entire region, Serbia in particular, said Amado.
Serbia opened Stabilization and Association Agreement talks or pre-entry discussions with the EU in October 2005, but the talks were suspended in May 2006 after Serbia failed to arrest and extradite several war crimes suspects to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
The new Serbian government headed by Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, which was sworn-in on Tuesday evening after a power struggle for nearly four months, has set out five priorities, including European integration and cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.
Jeremic said that Serbia has won Portugal's full support on its road to European integration.
"I requested support for the resumption of talks on a Stabilization and Association Agreement and the answer I received was that Portugal will strongly push for the speediest possible resumption of talks," he said.