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Presidents of Russia and Serbia to discuss bilateral cooperation, international agenda

December 19, 2017, 7:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Alexandar Vucic is on a working visit in Russia until December 20

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MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with Serbia’s President Alexandar Vucic in Moscow on Tuesday.

Vucic is on a working visit in Russia until December 20.

As the press service of the Kremlin reported earlier, the leaders will discuss the development of the Russian-Serbian strategic partnership in the political, trade-economic and cultural areas, as well as current issues on the international and regional agenda. A number of bilateral documents are planned to be signed, as well as statements for the media.

In early December, Vucic said in an interview with TASS, that during his visit to Moscow agreements on cooperation in agriculture, innovations, agreements on creation of scientific parks, on arms purchases will be signed.

In particular, Serbia is going to purchase from Russia at least six military transport helicopters, as well as air defense systems, he said.

International Agenda

As Vucic said in the interview with TASS, the parties will discuss the current intentional agenda, in particular the situation in Catalonia, and in this light the problems of Kosovo and Metohija, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is expected that Putin and Vucic will also touch upon cooperation in international organizations, such as the UN, UNESCO, Interpol.

Vucic also said that during his talks with the Russian leader, he would confirm Belgrade's military neutrality and refusal to join NATO. He also stressed the principled position of Serbia not to join the anti-Russian sanctions, despite the strongest pressure of the West.

Energy cooperation

Among the key topics of the economic agenda are the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline and Serbia’s plans to buy more gas from Russia.

In May, when attending the One Belt, One Road Forum in Beijing, Vucic said that Serbia plans to triple the purchase of Russian gas - from 2 billion cubic meters to 6-7 billion cubic meters. In his turn, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that Hungary and Serbia show interest in the Turkish gas pipeline project, and if procurement guarantees are received, signing the agreement on the second thread of this gas pipeline will become relevant.

The Turkish Stream project envisages the construction of a gas pipeline across the Black Sea to the European part of Turkey and farther to the border with Greece. The pipeline’s offshore section is expected to equal about 910 km and its overland segment on the Turkish territory 180 km.

The project is estimated at 11.4 bln euro. Gas deliveries via the first stretch of the gas pipeline are designed wholly to meet the requirements of the growing Turkish market. The second stretch is planned to deliver gas to the countries of Southern and South-Eastern Europe

Military-technical cooperation

President Vucic told TASS that Serbia is going to purchase from Russia at least six military transport helicopters, as well as air defense systems. The relevant negotiations are now under way between Serbian industry experts and representatives of Rosoboronexport. The Serbian leader also expresses gratitude to his Russian counterpart for six MiG-29 fighters provided in the framework of military-technical assistance.

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