Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen, if there are no objections, the President and I will say a few words regarding our meeting, our talks, and the outcomes we hope to reach.
I would like to once again welcome the Serbian President, Mr Tadic, to Moscow. This visit is evidence of a stable, progressive development in our relations, the amicable nature of the ties between Russia and Serbia, the dependable nature of our relationship, which, in essence, can be referred to today as a strategic partnership. Of course, they are based on our spiritual and cultural kinship, on history, on mutual cooperation that has spanned over centuries. But on the other hand, we are also interested in having our relations acquire new dimensions – which, in fact, is exactly what happened when we completed the process of preparing and signing a large energy package, which unites the Russian Federation and Serbia.
I think it is symbolic that this has happened before the New Year, a year that will probably create additional opportunities for developing our economies, providing energy security for our countries and for Europe as a whole, and at the same time, a year that, as we have discussed today, will clearly not be easy. These kinds of bilateral agreements will provide additional stimuli for the development of our economies, and they will create an additional basis to help our economies in these current difficult conditions, and ultimately, work toward solving big challenges. And so these three key joint projects, which we have agreed upon and which have just been signed, are related to these epic events.
Today we also discussed issues of cooperation in trade and economics. It is evident that a lot has been done in the last several years. Turnover between our countries has grown quite significantly. Today it is already measured by the billions, somewhere around four billion dollars; such will be the figures for this year. What is most important is the result of the documents we have just signed, as well as the results of other large investment projects that exist – we have just discussed several other projects with Mr. President. They should not result in the turnover going down; rather, turnover should continue to go up and become stable, as this would help the development of our economies.
In this context, I feel it is very important to have more than just direct dialogue between the leadership of our countries; between intergovernmental commissions, which are working actively; between departments, which also meet frequently to discuss various issues. There must also be direct dialogue between business communities and between entrepreneurs. And this is good insomuch as not long ago, a Russian-Serbian Business Council was established – a council for business dialogue.
We should not limit ourselves to economic ties. We truly have a very rich history. Cultural and educational projects as well as scientific partnerships must be expanded. We are talking about signing many new documents, such as the program for cooperation over a three-year period on issues of cultural-humanitarian cooperation. In my opinion, it would be a good idea to renew the practice of having Russia Days in Serbia, and Serbia Days in Russia. In any case, these are very important topics for our countries, close to our hearts, and which do not require us to prove anything to one another. We just need to expand the dimensions of our collaboration, to meet more often, to have exchanges of performing arts companies, and simply widen the cooperation between all the different social organizations and communities, as well as to have people to simply visit one another, spending time together and relaxing. That is also very good.
We also discussed the current state of global affairs. Of course, it is not simple. It is affected by many factors; in addition to the usual global threats, there are problems in the international financial sector, with a global financial and economic crisis. It does not help to solve a range of difficult problems. The Russian Federation has once again declared, through me, that our direction in supporting the resolution of the Kosovo problems in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution 1244 remains unchanged. We proceeded and continue to proceed from the idea that Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence has had a very negative impact on regional and international security. In this regard, nothing has changed in our position.
Nonetheless, both the Kosovo precedent and the problems that took place in the Caucasus, as well as our subsequent actions to defend citizens of the Russian Federation and defend the young subjects of international law, give urgency to the issue of signing a special agreement on global European security. I mentioned this again to Mr President. I feel that this type of agreement is not directed against anyone in particular, it is not anti-coalition, and it is certainly not some kind of agreement that undermines the existing basis of the European world order; on the contrary, it should provide regular conditions for cooperation and assure the full-fledged nature of relations between all countries on the European continent. We pursued and continue to pursue this direction, and anticipate mutual understanding from other European countries as well.
I would once again like to thank everyone who participated in the preparation of these important documents. We met in Belgrade in February – in essence, beginning this process. Today, we finalized these issues, but at the same time, this is the beginning of a large, serious, and, I am certain, mutually beneficial job.
Thank you, Mr President, for your visit to the Russian Federation. We count on these agreements to provide further momentum for Russian-Serbian cooperation.
Serbian President Boris Tadic (retranslated from Russian): Mr President! Thank you for your kind words. At the same time, we have another opportunity to talk about some very important issues in our bilateral relations and issues that the international community faces today in the context of the world financial crisis.
This crisis, a crisis of such dimensions, threatens everyone, which in a way is already destabilizing the foundations of international cooperation. Today I spoke with you about the fact that some kind of new definition of relations among the main participants of international political processes will occur on a global scale. I think that we need new structures, new authoritative structures in which all the countries of the world will participate; we need solutions for pulling ourselves out of the ordeal that every economy in the world is undergoing today – in particular, our own countries’ economies.
The world economic crisis has affected Serbia just as it has affected Russia, and every other country. But Serbia, for its part, wants to help the region around it – the region of South-East Europe – to achieve economic stability and political security. We have been observing your initiatives in all areas with great respect. For Serbia, it is very important that Russia will provide it with further support on the fundamental issues of protecting our country’s integrity.
I would like to thank you again for the support you gave us in regards to Kosovo and Metohija. This is the most important issue for Serbia and its integrity.
The second issue we are facing today, which constitutes a challenge for Serbia, is the question of energy development, and so our agreement in the field of energy has great strategic meaning for us. Our two countries and our two economies will be tied together by these three agreements, these three documents that we signed today in Moscow. Thus, we are talking about the long-term provision of gas for Serbia, the creation of petroleum products in Serbia for the South-East European market, protecting the environment, maintaining the current standards of living for our citizens, the prosperity of our economy, and preserving jobs for our people. We are quite happy that on the Russian side, ‘Gazprom,’ a respected Russian company, is emerging in the Serbian market today and that starting today, it will also become our Serbian company.
Mr President, we have very deep, friendly relations, traditional relations; our cultures are linked, and our people have been connected for a very long time. With agreements like these, we strengthen our relations for the future.
I invite you once again to visit Belgrade, Serbia. This is our third or fourth meeting this year, and I feel certain that that it is good for us to meet, that we will have more meetings in future years, and that each of our meetings will be backed by concrete actions. Up to now, the politics between Serbia and Russia have been marked by ideas of great intentions, but today, in addition to these ideas, we have concrete actions, which are the result of our meetings – meaning, the concrete implementation of our joint plans. And I am certain that we can do a great deal more in the fields of culture, international politics, and economics, which, after all, serves as the foundation for our world.
For me, it is a genuinely great pleasure that I am taking part in this ceremony in Moscow today, and that we have signed a document together which serves as a guarantee for the realization of all these projects in the field of energy.
And I would like to once again thank Russia for its support regarding all fundamental questions of international politics in which Serbia has participated in recent years.