Putin to talk pipeline, attend football game

BELGRADE -- Russian PM Vladimir Putin will arrive here on Wednesday for meetings with Serbia's top officials, with the South Stream pipeline expected to dominate the talks.

Vladimir Putin (Beta, file)
Vladimir Putin (Beta, file)

But Putin, who is today in Slovenia, will also find time to attend a football friendly in Belgrade, according to announcements.

With the EU being only one of the four declared pillars of Serbia's foreign policy, the meetings tomorrow are expected with great attention.

Meanwhile in Russia, the media are not paying much attention to Putin's Balkans trip, said Kommersant daily editor Genady Sisoyev.

He says that the goal of the visit is to convince and assure the leadership of Serbia that Russia is ready to implement all its contractual obligations regarding the construction of the pipeline within the agreed deadlines.

Sisoyev also believes that other subjects will include talks on future deals in the field of economy, and notes that since the South Stream agreement and NIS sale, no major investment had been signed.

Meanwhile, Red Star FC, which is organizing a friendly with St. Petersburg's FC Zenit, will also play host to Vladimir Putin, who will attend the game.

Putin is a fan of Zenit - a club owned by Gazprom, which is also Red Star's chief sponsor.

It remains to be seen if Serbian President Boris Tadić - who supports Red Star rivals Partizan FC - will also attend the game.