Dmitry Medvedev’s meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić.
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Dmitry Medvedev: As I have already told the Prime Minister, this is a major, substantive visit. I mean our talks and the Open Innovations forum, where we will meet with business representatives, and finally a meeting with our country’s president.
It seems to me that this is very good, that this benefits Russian-Serbian cooperation, our relations. We warmly welcome you.
The only problem, of course, is the weather, but it’s always like this in Moscow this time of year.
I’d also like to mention that Mr Vučić speaks Russian brilliantly. Of course, our languages are similar, but they are different.
Aleksandar Vučić: Thank you, although this is not entirely true. I understand everything perfectly well, but do not speak correctly.
I’d like once again to greet you, Mr Prime Minister, and your delegation. I hope that we’ll accomplish a great deal here in Moscow today, tomorrow and the day after. I believe that our relations, our relations of friendship and cooperation, will be even better in future, if this is even possible. Thank you once again.
Documents signed following Russian-Serbian talks
Agreement between the
Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of
Serbia on Reciprocal Protection of Intellectual Property in the Course of
Bilateral Military-Technical Cooperation.
Signed by Head of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks Grigory Ivliyev and Minister of Defence of the Republic of Serbia Bratislav Gašić
Memorandum of Understanding
between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the
Republic of Serbia in the Area of Economic Cooperation, Attracting Investment
and Implementation of Joint Projects.
Signed by First Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexei Likhachev and Minister of Economy of the Republic of Serbia Željko Sertić
Memorandum of Cooperation
between the Federal Migration Service (FMS Russia) and the Ministry of Internal
Affairs of the Republic of Serbia (MIA Serbia).
Signed by Head of the Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky and Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nebojša Stefanović
Memorandum between the
Federal Service for Drug Control of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of
Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia on Cooperation in Counteracting New
Signed by Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Drug Control Nikolai Tsvetkov and Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Nebojša Stefanović
Memorandum between the
Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of the Russian Federation
and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Serbia.
Signed by Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Anatoly Punchuk and Minister of Defence of the Republic of Serbia Bratislav Gašić
Memorandum of Understanding
in the Area of Youth Policy between the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs of the
Russian Federation and the Ministry for Youth and Sport of the Republic of
Signed by Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Sergei Pospelov and Minister for Youth and Sport of the Republic of Serbia Vanja Udovičić
Memorandum of Cooperation
between the Business Council for Cooperation with Serbia and the Business
Council for Cooperation with Russia.
Signed by General Director of the Russian Energy Agency and President of the Business Council for Cooperation with Serbia Anatoly Tikhonov and President of the Business Council for Cooperation with Russia under the Serbian Chamber of Industry Branislav Grujić
Memorandum of Strategic
Partnership between RZD International and Serbian Railways Infrastructure.
Signed by General Director of RZD International Sergei Pavlov and Director of Serbian Railways Infrastructure Goran Maksić
Press statements by Dmitry Medvedev and Aleksandar Vučić
Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon. My colleague, Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, and I have just completed our talks. They were successful because they were friendly, and this fully describes our bilateral relations and their history. I hope they will remain friendly in the future.
You have witnessed the signing of many documents. Some of them are more specific, while others are more like memoranda. However I hope that these will be filled with practical content during their implementation.
We regularly meet with our partners from Serbia. A year and a half ago – in July 2014 – I met with Mr Vučić here in Moscow. Time flies. Our friends and partners attended international events. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić came to Moscow in May, when we celebrated the Day of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. We will continue our discussions tomorrow, when we will hold our special forum, “Open Innovations,” which we hold regularly. This time the Republic of Serbia will be our guest of honour at this forum, and we are very glad about this.
In addition to exchanging information on current affairs, we focused on promoting bilateral economic ties.
On the one hand, for various reasons, this year’s trade dynamics with many European countries is negative. Regarding our trade with our Serbian partners, it is primarily due to declining energy prices, because oil and gas still account for a significant portion of our trade. Global market volatility and exchange rate fluctuations also play a role in this.
Nevertheless, there are areas in which our relations are progressing, and none of us is dramatising these positions. On the contrary, we believe that we are moving forward in several areas.
Cooperation in agriculture received a boost last year, which is due to political decisions, among other things. Last year, imports of agricultural products from Serbia to Russia grew by 70 percent. They are up by another 40 percent over the first six months of this year, and even now Serbia has a niche of its own in the Russian agricultural market, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I hope our partners will manage to consolidate their positions, because sanctions will not last forever, and those who have taken someone else's place are usually reluctant to give it back, which we will only welcome.
In addition, we have consultation mechanisms in place to overcome all sorts of economic problems, and promote cooperation, in particular, the Intergovernmental Russian-Serbian Committee on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation. I hope our partners will continue this work, and will bring new areas to this cooperation.
Notably, we have preserved the old cooperation mechanisms. Of course, they are not something that will be in place forever. I’m referring to the free trade regime, which helps us overcome current difficulties.
Major infrastructure projects are another effective means of promoting our relations. We spoke about this in detail today. We have many such projects with Serbia, primarily in the sphere of energy. The fact that our joint venture – Oil Industry of Serbia – has become the regional leader in the Balkans is a case in point. We have resolved all kinds of debts and difficulties of the enterprise in the process, which is also a welcome development. Let’s hope that this will be a highly efficient and interesting project. The company operates in the sphere of oil production, refining and petrochemistry. This once loss-making enterprise currently provides, as far as I know, up to 14 percent of Serbia’s budget revenue.
We also continue to work to ensure the stability of gas supplies. Now (we’ve just informed our partners about it), in connection with the implementation of new ideas and the termination of the South Stream project, we are working on other supply lines. We apprised our Serbian friends about such ideas in detail again.
In addition to energy, we participate in a number of other projects, including transport infrastructure. We’ve signed documents on this subject as well. I hope that cooperation in this sphere will continue.
Cultural ties are of particular importance for our countries. All of our instruments and institutions are operational, including the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Centre, as well as a number of other projects. We will continue to support these projects.
We will expand our contacts in the sphere of education as well. The agreement on mutual recognition of education certificates and academic degrees between the two countries came into force this year. The number of Serbian students in Russia is rising steadily, which is good, as is the number of those who want to learn Russian. The Prime Minister is now among them, which I’m particularly pleased to know, because it is really pleasant news.
But it's not just that we speak sister languages. Our guests from Belgrade are always welcome in Russia, because our countries have a rich history of relations, and I’m confident, a bright future.
Thank you. Over to my colleague.
Aleksandar Vučić: Thank you. Good afternoon. First of all, I’d like to thank Mr Medvedev for his hospitality, and apologise to all those present for not yet being fluent in Russian. So, I’ll make only part of my statement in Russian.
As you know, Serbia and Russia maintain traditional friendly relations. I’m confident that after my meeting with Mr Medvedev, today’s talks will become an additional impetus for the accelerated development of our political and economic ties. Serbia is sincerely grateful to the Russian Federation for its help and protection of Serbia's vital interests in the UN Security Council, as well as for its genuine, friendly support in UNESCO, where Serbia is protecting the preservation of its churches, monasteries and historical monuments, its past and its future.
We believe that Serbia has also showed its friendly attitude toward Russia, which is undergoing hard times. Serbia remained one of the few European countries that, despite numerous demands from the whole world, did not impose any sanctions against the Russian Federation. Serbia will continue to pursue such policy in the future.
Today we discussed all important, global issues, but above all, we agreed on further development of our economic relations. Serbia will pay off all its debts to the Russian Federation, primarily to Gazprom, earlier than expected, which clearly points to the improvement of our budget and our desire to build relations with Russia on a sincere and responsible basis.
And the last thing I'll say in Russian. I’ve invited Mr Medvedev to pay an official visit to Serbia. I hope he will come next year. Welcome to Serbia!
Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you!
Aleksandar Vučić (via interpreter): I’d like to add a few words in Serbian. We held talks on various spheres, primarily the development of our economic ties in agriculture, where our cooperation is a great success. I was proud to hear at our joint lunch that Mr Medvedev had Serbian yogurt. I hope we will produce more products that we’ll be proud of.
We believe we can contribute a lot in order to occupy a bigger share of the Russian market. Our ministers discussed this today. We can develop cooperation in all areas. Russian Railways plays a very important role in transportation. We are investing in our railways for the first time in 30 years, and are achieving better and better results. We are ready to invite Russian companies to build infrastructure facilities. It seems that the doors for our companies are also open in Russia.
Today we held a business forum. It was attended by a huge number of Serbian companies. I don’t think we have been to any event with such a delegation: eight ministers, the Prime Minister and 120 Serbian companies.
I’d like to thank Mr Rogozin, co-chair of our Intergovernmental Commission, for having actively promoted the development of relations with Serbia from the very start of his work.
We discussed energy issues and many other economic topics, and our future looks bright. Serbia will remain Russia’s friend, but we can upgrade our relations in the interests of both sides by developing ties on a rational basis.
We spoke about ways of increasing our exports to Russia because we have a deficit due to heavy energy imports. We discussed prospects for Russian equipment repairs in Serbia. I think we are about to sign an agreement with Gazprom on expanding the Banat Yard gas depot to one billion cubic metres. With this expansion, we want to become a giant in terms of gas storage. In this way we will meet our own requirements and won’t have to worry about whether Serbia will receive gas or not.
I am very grateful for the defence of our interests upon our request to our Russian friends. I look forward to seeing Mr Medvedev in Belgrade, but I expect a lot of concrete achievements before that.
I’d like to thank all our hosts in the Russian Federation and praise the Serbian ministers who want to build even better relations with Russia.