BELGRADE, November 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to visit Serbia in January, said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, who is staying in Belgrade, on Friday.
"We consider today’s negotiations as an important stage in the preparations for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Serbia which is planned to be held in January next year," Borisov said at negotiations with Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic.
"We have a chance to objectively discuss key issues of Russian-Serbian cooperation in the energy sphere, transport, infrastructure, industry and the peaceful uses of atomic energy which may be included in the agenda of the presidents of the two countries," Borisov said.
"We suggest paying special attention to a package of bilateral documents which could be signed during this visit," Borisov said.
Relations between Russia and Serbia are developing in the spirit of confidence and cooperation, and Russia regards Serbia as a strategic partner, he said. "Our relations are traditionally developing in the spirit of mutual confidence and comprehensive cooperation. Serbia has always been Russia’s strategic partner in the Balkan region and in Europe," Borisov said. "Indicators of mutual trade speak for themselves: Russia is ranked third among Serbia’s foreign trade partners in it trade volume," he noted. The Russian-Serbian trade volume has been up 10% in eight months of this year, he said. "According to a forecast, it will have exceeded the level of 2017 by the end of the year to stand at more than $2 billion," Borisov said.
"Russian-Serbian investment cooperation continues to develop actively. According to the Bank of Russia, the total amount of Russia’s cumulative investments in Serbia is $1.57 billion. The volume of Russian investments in Serbian economy exceeds $3.5 billion, experts say. The volume of Serbian investments in Russia, according to the Bank of Russia, is [$] 168 million, and more than [$] 500 [million,] according to expert assessments," Borisov noted.
He reiterated that Moscow and Belgrade cooperate not just in traditional spheres - energy, transport infrastructure, agriculture, but are also developing relations in promising areas. The issue concerns the nationalization of products of Russian companies in Serbia, cooperation in high technologies, innovations and civil aircraft manufacturing, he said. "There are more than 30 projects in our arsenal now, most of which are at the implementation and development stages," Borisov reported.
"We consider it important to continually update the plan of action regarding new projects, their terms and stages of their implementation," he noted. "I would like to pay special attention to the activity of the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in the city of Nis, through which cooperation is offered in the removal of the effects of disasters in Serbia and other countries of the region," the Russian deputy prime minister said.
Dacic stated, for his part, that Moscow and Belgrade are developing cooperation in all areas - economy, politics and the cultural and educational sphere. "It is important that these are traditional centuries-long relations," he noted. "Today we met to prepare Russian President Vladimir Putin’s [visit] to Serbia. We need to determine the most important issues which will be discussed in the near future," Dacic said.