Vucic tells presser with EU official he'll "meet with Putin"

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on Friday announced that he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin "in the coming weeks."

Source: B92

"This is not a question for Federica Mogherini," Vucic said, as he addressed a news conference with the EU foreign policy chief, who was on Friday visiting Belgrade.

According to Vucic - "Serbian officials don't inquire into whom EU officials meet with, and expect a reciprocal approach."

"I don't care who Federica Mogherini meets with, and likewise I won't ask her whom to meet with," said Vucic, noting at the same time that President Tomislav Nikolic will "soon meet with his Chinese counterpart."

As for Mogherini's meeting today with representatives of some opposition parties, Vucic said it proved "Serbia's democratic nature" and described them as "representatives of the former authorities" who "likely complained to the teacher" - but added that "the one from the back benches would defeat everyone."

Commenting on the current recess in the work of the Serbian National Assembly, Vucic said he saw "no problem" in the assembly "not working for 28 or 29" days ahead of the presidential election - and that during the "previous authorities" such recesses lasted "up to three months."

"Nothing's been blocked, we're not rushing anywhere. I see no problem, all important laws have been passed," he told the news conference.

Vucic added that he was "not scared of the representatives of the former regime" and what he termed to be their "direct threats of violence."

And "despite the mood" during her address to the Serbian National Assembly on Friday - the EU foreign policy chief is "always welcome in Serbia," he said.

According to Vucic, Mogherini personally has been "very fair toward Serbia - despite the fact we have not always been in agreement in appraising certain events."

"Those who say that Serbia should not be on the European path, do not speak well about the future of Serbia. I can be angry and sulk at them countless times, I always tell them openly what I think, but Serbia is on the European road, it will continue to work and fulfill its obligations, but we will always preserve our freedom, too. Economic cooperation with European Union countries is important," Vucic said.

According to him, "Serbia will manage to preserve stability in turbulent times in the region."

Referring to relations in the region, Vucic said he and Mogherini "spoke about that" and added that he also "asked what would be said if he were to send a message that someone should removed themselves from Sarajevo, or that Serbs should take matters into their own hands."

On the other hand, Mogerini said she was grateful for "divine hospitality" and commented on the goings-on earlier in the day during her address to the Serbian Assembly - when she was heckled by some opposition parties - to say she "felt a part of this region."

Mogherini then went on to speak about the support for Serbia's European path, and the situation in the region.

Vucic also said that "we live in a time of uncertainty and potential tensions that could destabilize the region, and even the situation outside the region," and added:

"The message I want to convey is that we recognize that Serbia has decided in favor of the path toward the EU. Great results have been achieved in the past two years through the joint effort and joint work, I am sure that further commitment will be of use to the Serbian people, but also to EU citizens."