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Serbian president says Belgrade will never take side of those who hate Russia

"Russia has been a great supporter of Serbia," the Serbian leader emphasized
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic FoNet/Nenad Djordjevic
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic
© FoNet/Nenad Djordjevic

BELGRADE, December 12 /TASS/. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic who met Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier on Monday said that Serbia would never side with those who hate Russia.

"Serbia has many friends around the globe. But we have never called our friendship into question even when those big friends got into a quarrel with one another. Given the recent political climate, Russia has been a great supporter of Serbia," the Serbian leader emphasized.

"We will never take the side of those who despise Russia," Nikolic said. He also added that Serbia would never team up with Russia to stoke hatred against any other nation.

The Serbian president wished Lavrov a successful stay in Belgrade. "I hope you have a fine visit, and I hope all Russians continue to go along the path chosen by their leaders," Nikolic said.

Lavrov conveyed to Nikolic best wishes from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"First of all, I would like to convey best wishes to you from President Putin, the minister said. "He has warm memories of the conversation he had with you in March. You discussed many issues, including developments around the world and in Europe."

"What is happening now convinces us once again of the need to rely on eternal values, above all, friendship and loyalty," Lavrov stressed.

"The centuries-old traditions of relations between Serbia and our people are a guarantee that we will continue doing our utmost for the development of our two countries, to make people's lives easier," he noted. "Our relations are based on our national interests, the way you see them and the way we see them. Everything we are doing is mutually beneficial and is not affected by any ideological interpretation. We proceed from this assumption in our relations, including during the current visit."

Lavrov voiced confidence that this visit will help promote the bilateral ties more actively.

The Russian top diplomat is paying a working visit to Belgrade on December 12-13 to meet Serbian leaders and attend a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).