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Russian, Serbian presidents’ January meeting should cement bilateral ties - Lavrov

The Russian foreign minister also focused on promotion of trade and economic cooperation

MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/. Russian and Serbian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vucic are scheduled to focus on a wide range of issues at their summit meeting in January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with The Serbian Telegraph newspaper.

"Actually, there are lots of topics our leaders are likely to discuss. Let us proceed from the fact that results of the future highest-level talks will contribute to forge Russia’s multifaceted ties with Serbia," the minister said.

The two presidents last met in Moscow on October 2, 2018, which means the talks are held regularly, he recalled.

"Traditionally, their agenda is rather busy. The two countries’ relations have risen to a new level of a strategic partnership which was sealed in a corresponding strategic partnership declaration signed by the Russian and Serbian presidents in May 2013 in Sochi," Lavrov said.

"Our truly fraternal peoples are united by shared cultural and religious roots and sincere feelings of friendship and mutual affection. The affinity between the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches is of particular importance as well," Lavrov stressed.

Economic cooperation

The Russian foreign minister focused on promotion of trade and economic cooperation.

"Major joint investment projects are being implemented. First of all, I mean the Petroleum Industry of Serbia - NIS company, since Gazprom Neft has invested about three billion euros into its development (the Russian state-run giant acquired 51% of the Serbian company’s shares - TASS)," he said.

"There are big plans related to development of Serbia’s gas transportation and gas distribution systems, industrial cooperation and collaboration in high-technology sectors. In particular, I will mention that the Yandex corporation has started operating in your country," he said.

Moreover, Russian Railways has worked hard to upgrade the Serbian railways infrastructure and some new facilities will be complete by 2021.

"We can see a vast interest in student exchanges between Russian and Serbian universities. We will be doing our best for this to happen," the Russian foreign minister concluded.