Ambassador underlines Russian backing

BELGRADE -- Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Aleksandr Konuzin says Russia will continue to back Serbia’s position on Kosovo and continue to invest in the country.

Aleksandr Konuzin (Tanjug, archive)
Aleksandr Konuzin (Tanjug, archive)

“The reality in Kosovo is still disturbing,“ Konuzin said in an interview for the Friday edition of Belgrade daily Večernje Novosti.

“The situation there poses a threat to regional and international stability, and this is why we continue to cooperate very closely with Serbia so as to help resolve the difficult situation in a peaceful manner,“ he underlined.

“Russia’s stand is rather simple—we are ready to back whatever position Serbia takes,“ Konuzin underlined.

“Negotiations are under way between Serbia and the UN on the six points that pertain to the life of the Serb population in Kosovo, and Russia has been supporting these efforts from the very beginning,“ he added.

As for the forthcoming session of the UN Security Council on Kosovo, which is scheduled for June 17, Konuzin said that he was in constant contact with the Serbian foreign minister, the Kosovo Ministry and Serb representatives in Kosovo.

“All of them are presenting their views and informing me about the situation in this region, and we are guided and will continue to be guided by what the Serbian side tells us,“ Konuzin emphasized.

The ambassador repeated that Moscow had nothing against Serbia’s European perspective.

“But I want to stress that the EU is not an alternative to relations with Russia. We ourselves are actively forging relations with the EU as she is our most important economic and political partner. We’re trying to find forms of cooperation between Serbia, Russia and the EU that would be beneficial to all three sides,“ he explained.

Summarizing economic relations between Russia and Serbia, Konuzin stressed that the partnership relations between Gazpromneft and the Serbian Oil Industry were taking shape in line with the agreed timetable.

As concerns the South Stream project, he said that a joint company would be formed in the coming weeks that would begin implementing the project in Serbia, including construction of the pipeline itself, while the underground storage facility in Banatski Dvor was due to start work at the beginning of the next heating season.

“Our cooperation transcends all frameworks,“ said the ambassador, highlighting the construction of new power plants, the reconstruction of Đerdap 1, Russian-owned Ikarbus in Belgrade, the Jastrebac plant in Niš, and the copper pipe manufacturing plant in Majdanpek.

“By our calculations, from 2000 to the end of this year, Russian investment in the Serbian economy will have surpassed a billion dollars. That’ll make Russia one of the biggest investors in Serbia,“ said Konuzin, adding that, following the visit of a Moscow government delegation to Belgrade last week, experts were due to coordinate their approaches and draw up a draft project for the Belgrade metro.