The two leaders discussed the current state and prospects of Russian-Serbian cooperation and pressing international matters.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, friends, allow me to welcome you to the Kremlin.
I would like to begin by congratulating you on receiving the prize of the Unity of Orthodox Nations International Public Foundation. You do a great deal to protect and promote eastern Christian traditions and values. I know it from personal experience – you and I have spoken about it on numerous occasions in private. I would like to congratulate you and thank you for your efforts in this area.
Relations between our states are developing successfully. We will talk about it today.
President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic (retranslated): Mr President, thank you very much for your congratulations. This award was special for me; I value it because it bears the name of the late Patriarch Alexy II, who was at Serbia’s side and in Serbia through the most difficult times. This is simultaneously an award and an obligation.
Thank you for finding the time for this meeting. Although we have come here for a different reason, this gives me an opportunity to thank you personally for everything you have done for Serbia last year and over all these years.
You cannot imagine how grateful Serbia is to you for two things you have done. They have to do with Serbia’s future, I would say the future of the Serbian Republic. The attempt to adopt the Srebrenica Declaration was an attempt to say that all the crimes were committed by Serbs, the Serbian people, and to reaffirm the stereotypes that already existed that the Serbian people were to blame for the genocide.
Despite the fact that this happened in a different time and under different circumstances, I could compare this to the gesture made by the Russian Tsar who said he would withdraw from the fighting if the allies did not provide ships to pick up the Serbian army from the Adriatic coast, not to mention the fact he got involved in the war only to protect his Serbian brothers.
I know how difficult it is to veto a Security Council resolution, and this gesture will remain in the memory of Serbian people.
I would also like to thank you for the way you acted in UNESCO, when there was an attempt to let so-called Kosovo join the organisation.
I have been waiting for this moment to unburden my mind and say this to you.
At the same time I would like to thank you for your support for Serbia in its attempt to get back on its feet and join a number of developed states, for your understanding of Serbia’s stance in international relations and for the courage Russia has demonstrated to all the other states in the fight against ISIS.
Unfortunately, this is not 1999, otherwise we would not be talking about the bombing of Serbia, and we would not have mentioned it.
This is all I wanted to say in the presence of the press.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
We do share a rich and eventful history and very warm relations that this history proves.
I hope that we will cover a present-day positive agenda. In this connection, I would like to recall the visit by the Serbian Prime Minister to Russia last autumn and of the planned visit by the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation to Serbia, hopefully soon.
We can discuss the situation in the region and bilateral relations. I would like to thank you once again for coming to Russia and creating this opportunity.