Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Bocharov Ruchey summer presidential residence in Sochi.
The two Presidents briefly spoke in front of the cameras, thanking thanked each other for their support and their multilevel cooperation.
Speaking in Russian to the Russian President, President Vucic stressed that “every meeting with you is of great importance to Serbia”. He then thanked President Putin for the continued support he has shown Serbia for the protection of its territorial integrity and national interests.
“Though, I must tell you, I am not optimistic about a final compromise being reached between Belgrade and Pristina; but we will discuss the issue seperately”, Vucic noted, adding that economic co-operation between Serbia and Russia is also improving, while trade in goods is constantly increasing.
He also recalled that the projects with RZD are being implemented in Serbia, praising the Russian companies for the responsibility and professionalism they showcased, while thanking in particular the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu for his co-operation.
Vucic recalled Putin’s visit to Belgrade at the beginning of the year, which the Serbian citizens remember with joy, and called on the Russian president to visit Serbia again. Finally, the Serbian President delivered a letter issued by Serbian Patriarch Irinej to his Russian counterpart.
The Russian President welcomed the Serbian delegation, stating that relations between Serbia and Russia are progressing very well and that the two countries’ strategic partnership is being affirmed on a daily basis in terms of political, economic and security relations.
Vladimir Putin also talked about trade, noting its 2% surge last year and the 9% increase this year. He also said that the joint committees are working to strengthen and develop relations between the two countries, which will be discussed during the talks, adding that he is awaiting the Serbian President in May 2020.
According to the program, the two men will have a one-on-one talk and then attend an extended working lunch. At the end of the talks they will issue a joint press conference.
According to President Vucic, during the meeting all the key issues will be discussed, ranging from Kosovo and the Western Balkans, to Putin’s view of the political situation in Europe, Eurasia and the rest of the world.
The economy will also be discussed, with some of the talks focusing on co-operation and joint plans to modernize Serbia’s rail network; attention will also be paid to the issue of natural gas.
According to Vucic, he expects that Russia will contribute to the supply of gas, from which the entire Serbian industry depends on, noting that “gas is a key issue for us, as the future of the Russia-Ukraine relations seems blurry regarding the supply of gas; the country might find itself in trouble in the event that these issues are not resolved with the Russian partners”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed today that the Serbian president’s visit to Russia is important and long-awaited, adding that relations between the two countries are allied and based on a partnership approach. He went on to note that Vucic would speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the presence of his closest aides, according to reports by TASS.
President Vucic is accompanied by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic; of Defense, Aleksandar Vulin; and of Energy and Mining, Aleksandar Antic. /ibna