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News 15 May 15

Serbian President Pledges Loyalty to Russia

President Tomislav Nikolic said Serbia’s success was linked to that of Russia and expressed hope that Vladimir Putin would continue his “successful” leadership.

Tanjug
Belgrade
Lavrov and Nikolic in Belgrade. | Photo by Beta

At a meeting in Belgrade with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday, Nikolic said that Serbia’s fate was bound to Russia and expressed hope for greater economic cooperation and even closer relations.

“It’s known that that when it goes well for Russia, It’s going well for Serbia as well. Please send my regards to the President of the Russian Federation and our wish that he continues to successfully lead your country,” Nikolic told Lavrov.

Nikolic also expressed his gratitude for the Moscow’s support for Belgrade over Kosovo.

Nikolic and Lavrov Fret Over ‘Greater Albania’

The Russian foreign minister said that Moscow was concerned about potential violence with the goal of creating a ‘Greater Albania’ and called on the EU to react strongly to the recent violence in Macedonia.

He said that the clashes in Macedonian town of Kumanovo were the result of well-prepared “terrorist actions” that could spread to Kosovo and Bosnia.

“I have to express our concern about calls for the creation of a Greater Albania. It is a call for bloodshed in the Balkans, and no politician should remain indifferent,” Lavrov said.

He also said he could not avoid having the impression that the attacks in Macedonia were associated with the fact that the Skopje government refused to impose sanctions on Russia.

Serbian President Nikolic said that the situation in the Balkans was going backwards.

"These are all consequences of the proclamation of the so-called independent state of Kosovo and its desire, as well as the desire of Albania, to create one large Albanian state that will spread across the borders of neighboring countries," said Nikolic.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and since then, Russia has supported Serbia’s refusal to recognise its former province’s claim to be a state.

Lavrov said that he greatly appreciates the fact that Nikolic attended the Victory Day in Moscow on May 9, which was boycotted by US and EU leaders because of the Ukraine crisis, and said that Russia is devoted to maintaining close ties with Belgrade.

“Our cooperation on international issues is developing very constructively. We harmonise our actions, exchange information and assessments in the UN and the OSCE,” he said.

Lavrov also met his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic, who said that no third party could interfere with the warm relations between Belgrade and Moscow.

“The ties far surpass current political topics and there are no open issues between our two countries,” Dacic told a joint news conference with Lavrov.

He said that contrary to speculation, EU membership aspirant Serbia had no problems balancing its relations between Moscow and Brussels.

“We cannot hide our policy. Our decisions are public. Serbia’s political goal is to become a member of the European Union, but that does not mean it should cut relations with friendly countries,” Dacic said.

Serbia has been refusing to join the EU’s sanctions against Moscow, although Brussels officials have been calling on Belgrade to align its foreign policy with the EU.

Lavrov praised the Serbian approach to the sanctions.

“There are not many countries in Europe that share such a stance,” Lavrov said.

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