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Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov on a visit to Serbia

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov paid an official visit to Serbia on 15 December and met with President of the Republic Aleksandar Vucic, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic and Speaker of the National Assembly Ivica Dacic.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attended the lighting of the 'Eternal flame' ceremony and laid wreaths at the Eternal Flame monument at the Memorial Cemetery of the Liberators of Belgrade. After that, they visited the Saint Sava Temple located in Vracar municipality and laid flowers on the tomb of Patriarch Irinej.

Lavrov and Selakovic held a bilateral meeting and signed a Consultation Plan between the Russian and Serbian Foreign Ministry for the period 2021-2022.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic emphasized that he had a detailed discussion with the Russian Foreign Minister on all essential relations, primarily bilateral ones which are of exquisitely amiable nature, as well as that a strategic commitment of both countries was confirmed to continue to develop our relations in various spheres of social life on the basis of friendship and exceptional mutual respect.

President Vucic emphasized that he was grateful to Russia for supporting Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and added that this was reciprocated by Serbia in its relationship with Russia. He stated that he conveyed "his personal concerns as the Serbian President" about the situation in the region and said that he hoped that "we will all together have enough reason and strength" to resolve all differences peacefully, which was a commitment of Serbia.

The President added that Serbia played a role together with Russia in "defending the truth" about the World War II, adding that there were "various attempts" made to rewrite this part of history that the two countries will oppose together, President Vucic said.

President Vucic conveyed to the Head of Russian diplomacy his concerns regarding the situation in the region.

"I presented our views on the situation in the region and my personal concerns as the President of Serbia. I hope that together we will have enough reason and strength to solve all problems peacefully, through dialogue and talks. That will be a permanent commitment of Serbia," he emphasized and thanked Russia for supporting Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The Russian Foreign Minister conveyed to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic greetings from Russian President Vladimir Putin and a message that Russia was committed to the realization of all agreements reached with Serbia at the top level.

Expressing gratitude to the Serbian President for the receiving the Russian delegation at such a high level and for the traditional Serbian hospitality, Minister Lavrov emphasized that in the substantive talks with the Serbian leadership a commitment was affirmed to the agreements reached at the highest level and to the strengthening of strategic partnership in all areas including the political dialogue, economic, and military and technical cooperation.

The Russian Foreign Minister pointed out that cooperation will continue in all directions of foreign policy, and that specific directions of this policy were agreed and harmonized by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

"Our positions are harmonized regarding the necessity to respect international law and the Charter of the UN which envisages the respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs of other states", Minister Lavrov said.

He added that he welcomes the balanced foreign policy pursued by Serbia and its policy of military neutrality.

"We welcomed Belgrade's commitment, reaffirmed once again by President Vucic, to the policy of preserving military neutrality by renouncement to join the anti-Russian sanctions, regardless of who introduces them", Lavrov emphasized and noted that Russia was committed to respecting the principles of Dayton that is - the equality of the three constituent peoples and the existence of two entities - Republic of Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Furthermore, Minister Lavrov stressed that Russia extends full support to Serbia concerning the issue of Kosovo and Metohija and reiterated that UNSC Resolution 1244 is a fundamental document and a framework in which all activity related to Kosovo and Metohija should be carried out. He stressed Russia's interest that the EU's role as a mediator achieves practical results, to be implemented impartially and to overcome open sabotage by Pristina of all agreements that were reached, among which is the agreement on the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities.

Lavrov emphasized that Russia's position remained unchanged - a compromise should be sought based on the Resolution 1244, and that they will only support a decision that suits the Serbs as well.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Selakovic said that the visit by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov was not a technocratic but a friendly one and that it reaffirmed the traditionally good relations between Serbia and Russia.

"It had a friendly tone. And if there is someone among the great powers whom with we share an absolutely friendly tone, those are Russia and China. Of course, the goals of our foreign policy are European integration, European future and a different relationship with the western countries as we develop the level of cooperation with them, but with Russia there is a decades-long continuity", Minister Selakovic underlined.

The Serbian Foreign Minister said that the ceremony of bringing the eternal flame from the tomb of the unknown soldier in Moscow to the Cemetery of Belgrade Liberators was particularly solemn and touching.

"Much like the cemetery of Belgrade liberators is a symbol of brotherhood in arms and the joint fight against the fascist-Nazi enemies in the World War II, the Church of St. Sava is a symbol of new cooperation between Serbia and Russia, because it is owing to the significant assistance extended by our Russian friends that we managed to bring the works on this temple to an end", the Serbian Minister said.

On his visit to the Church, Minister Lavrov read out loud the letter by Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he congratulated the Serbian President and people bringing to an end the works on the mosaic in St. Sava's Church and stressed that the cooperation between the Serbian and Russian masters in this undertaking is a symbol of the brotherly friendship and spiritual closeness between the two peoples.

Ministers Lavrov and Selakovic signed a Consultation Plan between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation for 2021-2022.

On that occasion, Minister Selakovic underlined that the bilateral cooperation between Serbia and Russia is at a high level, maintained and developed in many areas, and added that it received special impetus through the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin in January last year.

Furthermore, Minister Selakovic said that Russia defends Serbian interests in other international and European organizations Serbia is a member of, stressing that Russia's support is of great importance for the protection of the rights of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church, but also regarding the use of Serbian language and Cyrillic script.

Minister Selakovic added that what left the greatest impression on him was hearing Minister Lavrov repeat at least three times that President Vucic was particularly respected by the Russian state leadership for his attitude and a unique, unusual way he spoke and behaved, which resulted in Serbia today being an independent and self-sufficient state.

Minister Lavrov said that he discussed with his Serbian counterpart all issues related to further steps in international organizations, including the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe and invited the Serbian Foreign Minister to pay a visit to Russia.

Sergey Lavrov arrived to Belgrade from Bosnia and Herzegovina and after the visit to our country he continued his travel to Croatia.


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