Russian envoy urges "speeding up" of economic cooperation

Relations between Serbia and Russia are on the brink of an upswing befitting the friendly spirit between the two nations, says Aleksandr Chepurin.

Source: Tanjug
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The Russian ambassador in Serbia at the same time noted that political dialogue has been intensified and economic cooperation should be sped up.

Chepurin recalled that the Russian and Serbian presidents have already met twice, their relations are good and filled with trust, and announced that several Serbian officials will visit Moscow soon.

Early in April, Minister of Mining Milan Bačević, who heads the intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation, will visit the Russian capital, and in two weeks he will be followed by a big delegation headed by Prime Minister Ivica Dačić, the Russian diplomat said in an interview for Tanjug.

He recalled that Russian president has been invited to visit Serbia, but it is hard to say when a visit might happen.

Chepurin said economic cooperation could be extended considerably, especially when it comes to oil and gas, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, tourism, banking and military technical cooperation.

The diplomat added that Russia has already invested EUR 2.5 billion in Serbia and added it will invest another EUR 1.5 billion over the next two to three years.

Chepurin said construction of the South Stream gas pipeline will get underway this year, and according to plan, first gas deliveries should begin in late 2015.

Asked when Serbia will be able to withdraw the remaining funds from a loan it was granted by Russia, Chepurin explained the money is earmarked for the Serbian Railways, which now needs to present concrete projects.

The Russian side is ready, the money has been set aside and we need to decide quickly where reconstruction will be done and get to work, he said.

Chepurin said Russia will also approve a USD 500 million loan to support the Serbian state budget, even though this is not an easy move even for Russia at the time of the crisis.

The deal could be signed during the Serbian delegation's visit to Moscow in April, provided everything is prepared in Belgrade ahead of time, he said.

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