Vladimir Putin and Tomislav Nikolic discussed the expansion of cooperation between the two nations in trade, economy, and fuel and energy sector, in particular the implementation of the South Stream strategic project.
The Russian and Serbian Presidents made press statements following their talks and answered journalists’ questions.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,
Allow me to warmly welcome you to Russia. We had a very brief meeting a few months ago and we agreed to see each other again, to take more time to talk about our bilateral relations. I am very happy that we will have this opportunity today.
To begin our discussion, if we start by addressing our trade and economic ties, I would like to note that I believe we have had good momentum in recent years since our turnover has grown. Unfortunately, during the first half of this year, we have observed some decline, so we are to analyse why it occurred and figure out what is to be done to reverse the situation.
I hope that after the Government in Serbia is formed, co-chairs will be appointed on both sides and the Interstate Commission can begin working in full.
Naturally, I am prepared to discuss political issues and to hear your views on the situation in the region overall. Welcome!
President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic (retranslated): Thank you for your invitation, Mr President,
I see this as both a continuation of our meetings and the beginning of entirely new relations between Russia and Serbia.
I know that there has been some stagnation, particularly in trade between Russia and Serbia. But this is because Serbia went through its own set of problems – elections and the formation of a new Government. Our Government is now formed, members of the Serbian part of the Interstate Commission have been appointed, and a Commission’s meeting has already taken place in Moscow. We expect that we will begin working in this direction.
I would like to thank you for your personal contribution to the success of the air show in Belgrade [commemorating the 100th anniversary of military aviation in Serbia] and for the participation of three Russian aircraft in the air show.
A meeting was also held between our defence minister and your colleagues who oversee the defence industry. We have established relations between ministries in the energy sector. Thus, all Serbian representatives who have spoken to Russian representatives are confident that this is the start of an absolutely new phase in the relations between Serbia and Russia.
I thank you for the support I feel from the Russian representatives with whom I have been in contact. This is a good foundation for building our relations so as to serve the interests of both Russia and Serbia.
We are awaiting the start of construction for South Stream, part of which will pass through Serbia. Representatives from Russia and Serbia assume that this could happen at the beginning of December. They did not have the courage to do so themselves, so they asked me to invite you to participate in the construction launch ceremony. I now officially invite you to participate, to join us for the launch of construction of the Serbian section of South Stream.