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11. February 2010.
The building of the new U.S. embassy officially began on Wednesday in the Belgrade suburb of Dedinje. It is expected to be completed in 2012. The total value of the project is USD 117mn, and 500 workers have been hired for the project, mostly from Serbia.
The complex will be built on an area of about 40,500 square meters, while the building itself will take up about 14,000 square meters.
The symbolic start of construction was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick, Belgrade Mayor Dragan Đilas, and Environment and Spatial Planning Minister Oliver Dulić.
“This new investment of over USD 100mn will benefit the city of Belgrade in many ways. The building and space around it will not only be beautiful, but the entire building saves energy and shows that the American government is dedicated to building in accordance with the protection of the environment,” Warlick said.
She added that the new embassy will be built according to the highest standards for protecting the environment in Serbia and the entire region.
Warlick said that the citizens of Serbia and the U.S. are better connected today than ever before, and adding that the new embassy will be “a symbol of our dedication to long-term partnership between the two countries.”
Dulić evaluated as very important the decision of the U.S. embassy to invest money in the construction of such a building, which, as he put it, will be built with domestic materials, and where experts and engineers will obtain great knowledge and experience.
Dulić reminded that the relations between Serbia and the U.S. have gone through "various phases", but that it was necessary to work on a new type of partnership, as well as on connecting people.
The minister also stated that the embassy received the building permit in only two months, "which shows that such a thing is possible in Serbia when the project is good".
"I believe that today I am opening the construction of a building that will represent a symbol of a friendly state, that will not be a target of demolition and burning, I hope that decades and centuries of cooperation are ahead of us, just as I hope that our country will not be a target of that same state," Dulić was quoted as saying in news agencies' reports.
Mayor Đilas also spoke at the outdoors ceremony, pointing out that Serbia and the America were working together on many issues, especially in the field of security, and expressed his belief that in the next period cooperation elsewhere would also be improved.
Đilas expressed his hope that, once the new embassy has opened, in 2012, the citizens of Serbia will not need visas to travel to America.