Vucic and Putin to have their 17th meeting: Serbian president announces exact date of meeting
Convey my greetings to President Putin, and I look forward to our 17th meeting, said President Vucic
Serbian and Russian people, who suffered terrible losses in the Second World War, represent a force that fights against the falsification of history and different interpretations of everything that happened then, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said last night, pointing out to excellent relations between Belgrade and Moscow.
At a joint press conference in Belgrade with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Vucic said he was honored that Medvedev along with the Serbian people marked 75 years since the liberation of Belgrade, when the Red Army and the Serbian Partisans entered the city and freed it from fascists.
"Your visit is proof that we will not allow history to be revised and that we will always show the utmost respect for Russian and Serbian heroes. To the Serbian ones for contributing to this region, and to the Russians for the whole of Europe," he said.
Vucic emphasized that Serbia and Russia have extremely friendly relations.
"It seems to me that after many meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with Medvedev, I can say that our relations have been at the highest level in the last few decades, that they are filled with sincere trust, appreciation and understanding of positions, which is crucial for us who are the smaller partner, because we can always count on Moscow's support. We develop our cooperation to help one another in international organizations, and we strive to always understand each other. My thanks to Putin and Medvedev for always having time not only to hear us out, but to listen to Serbia and understand the gravity of the situation in which Serbia still finds itself today in political terms," he said.
One of the most important topics, he said, is the economy. He revealed that trade is constantly growing, reaching EUR 3.6 billion in 2018, up 18.6 percent from 2017.
He said that in the first eight months of this year, total trade amounted to 2.181 billion euros, which is almost eight percent more than in the same period last year.
According to Vucic, trade is growing in all spheres, and he added that he believes that due to the great effort of the prime ministers of the two countries, we will have more exchange in the sphere of the internet, software, digitization, as both PMs are dedicated to this.
"The agreement that will be signed by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic in Moscow next week is also important to us. It means a lot more jobs for our workers, and they (Russians) will be able to taste 90,000 liters of the Serbian vinjak (brandy made from wine). I think it's much better than the other types of the French cognac, and the Russians know how to appreciate it. Many people in this country will make a living thanks to that," he said.
Vucic thanked Russia for freeing up a part of its market for Serbian products, just as Serbia is ready to do for Russian products. He said that economic relations are developing in an excellent direction, with agricultural products being our largest export worth 350 million.
He emphasized that during Sunday's presentation of the military capability of the Serbian Army, which showed off a part of our arsenal, Medvedev noticed a huge difference in that operational capability.
"I am proud of the Serbian Army. The difference is literally like heaven and earth, both thanks to your (Russian) support, but also our money, economic reforms. From one or zero MiGs we arrived at 14, and even this year to buying 19 new heavy helicopters, and we haven't bought any in 45 years. It shows how far Serbia has progressed and at what speed. We couldn't have done it without your support and help. You know very well that we act responsibly and seriously, we do it to improve our position, to make sure that we preserve our people, our sky, our earth," Vucic explained.
He said he was particularly interested in continuing cooperation in all other areas of social life.
"Finally we will be able to see the 166th page of Miroslav's Gospel at the National Museum. I hope that in the future we will be able to have permanent and occasional exhibitions of the Russian Museum, the Hermitage and others. There are numerous spheres of possibilities for our cooperation," said the president of Serbia.
He expressed his gratitude to the Russian friends for their support, help, and for treating Serbia as an equal partner, as a friend, just as we experience them.
"To you, personally, thank you for making a difficult agenda today. I would ask how you are handling it, but you're doing well," Vucic said to Medvedev, adding to reporters, "keep laughing, if you had 50 events in one day - who would manage that easily."
He thanked Medvedev for his sincere support, pointing out that the Serbian people know how to recognize and appreciate it.
"Convey my greetings to President Putin, and I look forward to our 17th meeting on December 4 in Sochi," said President Vucic.