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The talks between Sergey Lavrov and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic are expected to focus on cooperation as part of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in view of Serbia’s presidency in 2015.
“Moscow is set for close and constructive cooperation with Belgrade on all the issues of the OSCE agenda,” the Foreign Ministry says, adding that one of major tasks is to search for a way out of the European security crisis as part of Helsinki plus 40.
A draft declaration of the Helsinki plus 40 was signed in December 2013 in Kiev by the foreign ministers of the OSCE member-states, including Russia. Its aim is to rebuild trust and improve efficiency of the international venue.The document laid the basis for the work on drafting a declaration by 2015, marking the 40th anniversary of the OSCE and the Helsinki Accords. However, talks were suspended for an indefinite period due to a sharp deterioration in Russia’s ties with the West amid the Ukrainian crisis, the Izvestia newspaper reported.
Other important tasks are to “contribute to settling the Ukrainian conflict and creating conditions for harmonizing integration processes and strengthening traditional values on the OSCE space,” the ministry said.
Foreign Ministry’s official spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia expects from Serbia’s presidency “a balanced line that ensures that all the positions of the member-states are taken into account.”
The foreign ministers are also due to discuss joint cooperation in the economic and investment spheres. In January-September, the Russian-Serbian trade reached $1.54 billion, a 15.9% increase compared with the same period of 2013.
The sides will also discuss the South Stream gas pipeline project which Russia abandoned on December 1 due to the European Union’s unconstructive approach to cooperation in that sphere.
Lukashevich said Serbia understood Russia’s decision to scrap the project, which was aimed at diversifying deliveries of natural gas to Europe, although it “expressed some concerns.” Belgrade has also not ruled out that alternative options could be found for Serbia to be provided with reliable energy resources from Russia, he said.