Serbia "has friends everywhere, doesn't interfere"

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić stated on Thursday that his country has friends everywhere in the world - "in the east, west, north and south alike."

(Tanjug)
(Tanjug)

Furthermore, Serbia "does not interfere in any potential disputes of other countries unless it is specifically asked to provide advice or assistance," he remarked.

Addressing a joint news conference after a meeting

with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, Nikolić noted that Lukashenko is Serbia's "big friend and his personal friend as well," and that he was "always the first to come to Serbia's aid when Serbia was having difficulties."

There are no obstacles between the two nations and they can only unite if the governments followed the wishes of their people, Nikolić said that Lukashenko and himself are acting in keeping with the wishes of their people.

The Serbian president recalled that Serbia and Belarus have endured major challenges and that they are joined together by common problems.

Serbia wants to become a member of the EU and Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Union and these two unions will never have a better connection than that shared by our two countries, he said.

Lukashenko noted that Belarus has always supported Serbia's territorial integrity and will continue to do so, and added that his country welcomes the efforts the Serbian government is investing in the normalization of relations with Priština.

"We are willing to continue developing the friendly ties with Serbia," Lukashenko said and noted that Serbs will "always be seen as a brotherly nation in Belarus" while his country will "always stand by Serbia's side in all difficult situations."

Noting that the two countries signed eight intergovernmental agreements on Thursday, he expressed the hope that this would contribute to the improvement of bilateral cooperation and added that Belarus is willing to open a joint company in Serbia if such interest is present in Serbia as well. He specified that the company would employ Serbs and a few Belarus and deal in export of their products on third markets.

Speaking about economic cooperation, Nikolić underscored that the two countries' economies are complementary but Serbia's industry has come to a halt and "has lost a lot in the mindless rush to privatization and through crime-abounding privatization cases."

"Belarus has managed to preserve its economy and Serbia has lost its economy and jobs, which is why the assistance Belarus promised in opening new jobs by creation of joint companies, joint holdings and joint presentation on third markets is so precious," Nikolić noted.

He warned that Belarus should not make the same mistakes if it at some point comes to face the challenges Serbia experienced.

"By this, I primarily refer to the economy, agriculture, the attitude to the country's factories and the private sector," Nikolić noted and added that Serbia recklessly allowed for all of it to disappear before its very eyes and for thousands of people to lose their jobs and take to the streets without any means of existence and no future.

"We are now trying to bring about improvements and any government which does not leave behind a better situation than it originally faced upon constitution has no right to tell the people that it functioned well," Nikolić stated.