Dacic and Rogozin: “Friendly relations between Serbia and Russia in all areas”

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic visited the Russian Federation, where he participated in the 15th Meeting of Serbia-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade, Economic and Scientific/Technical Cooperation.

“I would like to express my great pleasure that this Joint Committee Meeting was held at Suzdal, according to the wish of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitrij Rogozin. We had an opportunity to acquaint ourselves with the historical importance of the area, and I am grateful to Suzdal Governor for her warm welcome.

As you know, Serbia and Russia are traditional fiends and strategic partners, and we would like to continue to develop our cooperation. Serbia appreciates Russia’s support in international organizations with regard to Serbia’s territorial integrity and the issue of Kosovo and Metohija as its foremost problem.

Serbia is pursuing a friendly policy towards Russia, and it has neither joined nor will it align with any sanctions against the Russian Federation whoever imposed them, though we are all suffering the consequences.

It is paradoxical that subsidiaries of Russian companies registered and operating in Serbia are under sanctions, while those registered in the EU are not.

As a result of such problems and those caused by oil prices on the world markets, as well as euro and dollar exchange rates, Serbia’s foreign trade dropped by 25% in 2015 compared to the previous year.

We are endeavouring to achieve the best possible cooperation in the economic field, particularly in a number of sectors that are most important to us, including energy and agriculture.

In the energy sector, Serbia is facing a problem related to the gas issue, i.e. cancellation of the South Stream project, because as soon as the gas flow through Ukraine is discontinued in a few years’ time as announced, Serbia will remain without gas supply; therefore, this issue needs to be resolved over the next couple of years. We must also address the problem of supplying gas for industrial consumers on more favourable terms to enable them to operate.

We can be satisfied with the rise of Serbia’s exports of agricultural products, but nevertheless further efforts should be made in this regard. It is necessary to ensure that our producers are capable of meeting the needs of such a big market.

Since Serbia already has free trade agreements with several Eurasian Union member countries, our intention is to sign a unified free trade agreement with the Eurasian Union as a whole, applicable on the entire territory of the Union, as a kind of unification, and will make an effort to accomplish this goal as soon as possible.

I would like to mention that there were no discussions today on arms, as this is not in the domain of the Joint Committee. However, we certainly wish to have full cooperation and friendly relations with Russia in all areas ranging from economy, science, culture and education to those of defence, security, and military industry. We are looking forward to the continuation of such highest-level visits”, stated Minister Dacic following the Joint Committee meeting.