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Russia and Serbia to sign military cooperation agreement

November 12, 2013, 10:35 UTC+3 BELGRADE

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu begins a two-day visit to Serbia

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BELGRADE, November 12 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu begins a two-day visit to Serbia. On Tuesday, he will meet with Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic. His talks with President Tomislav Nikolic and First Deputy Prime Minister for defense and security issues Aleksandar Vucic and Defense Minister Nebojsa Rodic are scheduled for Wednesday.

"The parties will discuss a broad range of issues, including defense," a Russian Embassy official told Itar-Tass, adding that a military cooperation agreement was expected to be signed.

In May 2013, Russia and Serbia agreed to sign an agreement on military cooperation. "Serbia is interested in further development of relations with the Russian federation, including military cooperation," First Deputy Prime Minister Vucic noted. "We'd like to talk about the military hardware we could purchase. It's a large political issue for us. We are ready to make all efforts towards strengthening our Air Force and Air Defense. Also, we're ready to develop cooperation in military education and military medicine."

Earlier, chief of Russia's General Staff Valery Gerasimov said after talks with his Serbian colleague Ljubisa Dikovic that Russia would boost military cooperation with Serbia. "Over this year, military cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries has become positive," he said.

At the Moscow security conference in May, the Russian and Serbia defense ministries mapped out certain guidelines for bilateral cooperation, which they will continue to strengthen. "Our efforts are foremost aimed at training military personnel and joint exercises," Gerasimov said.

According to Dikovic, it is planned to pay attention to joint training of special task force units. Also, Belgrade is interested in purchasing up to eight Russian multi-role MiG-29M2 fighters. 

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