Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Serbia and Russia will always be on the same side

11/13/2013 2:53:00 PM
BELGRADE - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic delivered to Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu on Wednesday the Order of the Serbian Flag of the first degree for special contributions in the development of international relations and friendship between Serbia and Russia. Serbia and Russia were always on the same side and they will remain so in the future, Nikolic said delivering the medal to the Russian minister. 

 Nikolic underscored that Serbia has its own path, a clear and committed one, and it needs the help of the entire world on it, but this would have been difficult to achieve were it not for Russia. “Serbia decorates you on this day,” Nikolic said addressing the Russian official. 

 Nikolic asked Shoygu to communicate the greetings to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the people of Russia, and underscored that the relations entered a new era by the construction of the South Stream pipeline and through other investments as well. Shoygu understood what kind of assistance Serbia needs and he realised that in addition to cherishing respect, love and tradition and all the points that have been connecting the two counties for centuries now, economic relations need to keep improving too, the Serbian president said.

 Nikolic noted that Serbia and Russia always had better cooperation during armed conflicts than peaceful times, and added that Shoygu changed this mindset. Our weapons were always used together, Nikolic said and expressed the hope that no weapon will ever be used in the world again. Shoygu expressed gratitude to the Serbian president for the medal and said that he considers this a great honour. He expressed gratitude to Nikolic on the attitude he expressed when speaking about the friendship between Russia and Serbia which goes several centuries back in history. Shoygu noted that he is absolutely certain the medal is a dignified continuation of bilateral relations, both between the two countries and between their people. He said that during his mandate as the minister of defence which he assumed in late 2012, he would invest efforts in the continuation of good relations and ensure that they are conducted in keeping with the strategic contracts signed by the two countries' presidents. 

 Serbian Defence Minister Nebojsa Rodic and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu signed in Belgrade on Wednesday the agreement on cooperation in the defence sector, and agreed that the two countries need to improve their military cooperation as soon as possible. After signing the agreement, Rodic said that the document is very important because it will regulate the relations between the Armed Forces of the Republic of Serbia and the Russian Armed Forces after 15 years. Rodic noted that the signing of the agreement is a logical development of cooperation with the Russian Federation and a follow-up to the signing of the declaration on strategic partnership in May which regulates the two countries' strategic political cooperation. Rodic said that the signing of the agreement on Wednesday contributes to the common goal of preservation of peace in the world, and also entails improvement of the operative performance, functionality, mobility and respectability of the Serbian Army. “A modern and up-to-date army is our goal,” Rodic said. He added that the agreement signed on Wednesday constitutes the umbrella document from which other documents on cooperation with the Russian Federation would derive. 

 This is the first time after 14 years that the defence minister of the Russian Federation has come to visit Serbia, and this testifies of our commitment to future cooperation, Rodic said and expressed gratitude to Shoigu for everything he did for Serbia during his mandate as the minister for emergency situations. Shoigu said that the quality of cooperation between Serbia and Russia has improved of late, but he added that there is still room for further enhancement as the quality of bilateral relations dropped drastically in the past two decades. 

This needs to improve as soon as possible, Shoigu said. He noted that three more documents are being discussed, of which the most important one is the agreement on military-technical cooperation. Shoigu said that his talks with Rodic also covered education of Serbian officers in Russian military schools, joint military exercises and wider cooperation between the two countries' General Staff Headquarters. The defense ministers of Serbia and the Russian Federation laid wreaths at the Monument to the Liberators of Belgrade and Memorial to the Russian soldier on Wednesday. 

 Rodic and Shoygu first laid wreaths at the Monument to the Liberators of Belgrade, after which the national anthems of Serbia and Russia were played. The defense ministers then laid wreaths at the Memorial to the Russian soldier, and then signed the book of remembrance. Serbian First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic conferred with Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu in Belgrade on Wednesday over the continuation of the two countries' cooperation, the need for improvement of economic cooperation and investments in the development of Serbia's economy. The talks covered the situation in Kosovo-Metohija and the results of the recently held local elections in the province, the Serbian government's Office for Cooperation with the Media released. Shoygu said that Russia will continue to support the Serbian government's policy and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia. During the talks, Vucic underscored that Serbia respects its Constitution and the parliament's Declaration on military neutrality.

 They also agreed that cooperation should intensify in the security sector, military-technical cooperation and modernisation of the Serbian Armed Forces. Shoygu notified Vucic about the process of modernisation in the Russian Army and the plan for the Russian Federation to introduce 70 percent of most up-to-date technological weapons by 2020. The talks also covered closer cooperation between the two countries on the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade and the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the release states. Photo Tanjug, S. Radovanovic, N. Milosevic

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