The talks were preceded by an official welcoming ceremony and an introduction of the two countries’ delegation members.
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President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic (retranslated): Welcome to Serbia, Mr President.
It is a great pleasure and honour to see you again in Belgrade, specifically because our relations are developing ever more successfully.
It has become popular to measure friendship in trade turnover. We see friendship differently. Today Serbia has no enemies; it only has friends, some bigger, some smaller. We see the Russian Federation as our big friend. We think the way our ancestors did, and we teach our children to think the way we do.
We share everything: not only our common Slavic background, language, faith, traditions and culture, but also the fact we have always been on the same side. Your support in maintaining the territorial integrity and independence of Serbia, specifically regarding Kosovo and Metohija, is invaluable for us. I know you maintain these principles, although you could have probably acted otherwise.
Serbia also sees Russia as its major partner and ally, and Serbia will never endanger its morals with some bad attitude to Russia. We cannot behave differently.
Our economic cooperation accompanies our friendship. In the first six months of the year, our trade turnover has grown. Exports from Serbia are lower than imports from Russia to Serbia, but that is mainly due to energy resources.
Today we will have an opportunity to discuss the issues that we are mainly responsible for in the energy complex; we will see how the debt issue may be resolved and how Russia can help us, specifically in the petrochemical industry.
What I personally find most important is agriculture. I believe that with the development of agriculture in Serbia Russia would have a reliable supply of such produce.
One again, welcome to Serbia, where both the authorities and the people are always happy to see you.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr President.
Thank you for your invitation to visit Serbia and Belgrade during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade from Nazi occupation. We fought together for the right cause. We had a lot in common in the past, and I hope — I am sure we have a good common future.
You mentioned Russia’s position regarding Kosovo. Russia has taken a principled stance based not only on our friendship and proximity, but also on international law and justice. This is a principled position and it cannot be adjusted in any way. We have always supported Serbia and will continue to do so. Russia does not deal in friendship.
As for our trade and economic ties, there really is a tendency for growth, although the current conditions are such that this growth could have been greater, and I fully agree with you here.
I hope that in the course of our contacts with you, Mr President, and with the Prime Minister of Serbia, we will manage to find extra reserves for the development of our trade and economic ties.
Thank you very much.