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Serbia and Russia continue cooperation despite complicated international situation

December 17, 2014, 20:07 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The two countries are successfully cooperating in all spheres despite difficulties, Serbian Ambassador to Russia says ahead of a visit of Serbia’s First Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister to Moscow
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Serbian Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzic

Serbian Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzic

© Nikolai Galkin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 17 /TASS/. Serbia and Russia continue cooperation despite the complicated international situation, Serbian Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzic said in an interview with TASS on Wednesday given ahead of a visit to Moscow of Serbia’s First Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on December 18.

Dacic is expected to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov the next day on Friday, Terzic said. “The two ministers have met each other this year (several times) on the sidelines of international organizations and forums,” the Serbian diplomat told TASS.

“They are planning to discuss vital themes concerning bilateral relations as well as international issues, including those related to the Balkan region. Serbia and Russia are successfully cooperating in all spheres despite the complicated international situation,” Terzic said.

He added that Serbia would hold the OSCE chairmanship in 2015.

“Serbia’s role as the OSCE chairman in 2015 is important and at the same time responsible, “Terzic said adding that Serbia would be an honest, impartial and constructive mediator that will speak up openly on all issues.

Terzic also pledged that Serbia would support all the existing OSCE missions in crisis regions and would try to settle all problems through dialogue and reciprocal agreements.

“We know it’s going to be hard and how complicated our mission is going to be. However, it is our position of principle. Today, we are dealing with a deep and serious crisis in international relations,” the Serbian diplomat went on to say.

Europe and the world, according to Terzic, should decide in what direction they should move: do they want to return to dialogue on the basis of norms of international law and civilized relations among states and peoples — this option has no alternative — or return to the Cold War which may unexpectedly turn into something worse.

“We do not need this stalemate,” the Serbian ambassador concluded.

On South Stream project

Serbia hopes for reanimation of negotiations on the South Stream gas project, Serbian Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzic told TASS in an interview.

“South Stream is a project of national importance for Serbia. We had seriously prepared for the pipeline’s construction,” the Serbian diplomat said.

“That project was not only of great importance for the energy security of Serbia and Southeast and Central Europe, it was also a condition of faster and stronger economic development. Our builders and companies were supposed to have taken part in South Stream’s construction,” which, according to Terzic, would have created new jobs and brought in profits from transit fees. Terzic said the news that the South Stream had been frozen was unexpected for Serbia. “Russia tried to settle its relations with the European Union on this matter. But certain circles in the European Union, and not only them, were more preoccupied with a political rather than economic aspect of this project,” the Serbian ambassador went on to say.

Terzic said he hoped that negotiations on the South Stream could continue considering, among other things, the project’s social and economic significance for the peoples and countries through which the pipeline is supposed to run.

On sanctions against Russia

Serbia will not impose sanctions on Russia, Serbian Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzic told TASS. “Serbia has not joined sanctions against Russia and is not planning to do that. This is a clearly defined position of the Serbian leadership. It is based not only on centuries-old historical relations of allied partnership between the two peoples and states but also on the current level of our dynamic relations,” Terzic said.

“Russia consistently supports Serbia’s territorial integrity, especially on the question of our southern province of Kosovo and Metohija. As you know, Serbia has started negotiations on EU entrance but at the same time it wants to continue developing traditionally friendly and close relations with Russia,” the Serbian diplomat went on to say.

Asked to comment whether Serbia was coming under pressure from countries that imposed the anti-Russian sanctions, Terzic said “there was pressure.”

“This pressure is coming indirectly rather than directly in the form of various warnings. Serbia’s stance on those issues is based on our national interests,” the Serbian ambassador said.

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