Serbia and India "bound by traditional friendship"

Serbian FM Ivan Mrkić and Minister of State for External Affairs of India Preneet Kaur have said that the two countries are bound by traditional friendship.

Source: Tanjug
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These ties "span several decades and a high degree of mutual understanding," the two officials agreed as they met in Belgrade on Wednesday.

Mrkić expressed his gratitude for the consistent position of India in refusing to recognize the unilaterally proclaimed Kosovo independence, and Kaur restated India's stance on the issue, according to a release from the Serbian Foreign Ministry.

Mrkić and Kaur discussed opportunities to improve overall cooperation between the two countries, especially in the fields of economy, culture and education, and pointed to the need to further strengthen the cooperation through contracts.

Mrkić and Kaur attended the signing of a protocol on bilateral negotiations on the accession of Serbia to the World Trade Organization and of an agreement to lease a building to serve as residence of the Indian ambassador in Belgrade.

"All key issues"

India continues to support Serbia in all key issues, including Kosovo, India's Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said on Thursday, while Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dačić called for further improvements of the two countries' relations, especially in agriculture.

According to Kaur, India believes Serbia plays an important role in the stability of the Balkans and Europe.

"The friendship between Serbia and India dates back to the time of former Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito," Dačić told a news conference after the meeting with Kaur, also expressing gratitude to India for following international law and supporting Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The decades of friendship between India and Serbia are an excellent framework for improving their cooperation in all fields, Kaur stated.

"It is time to focus on strengthening that cooperation, especially in economy," she noted, adding that Indian scientists would soon visit Serbia to analyze the possibilities for that cooperation.

Kaur and Dačić expect high-profile political and business visits to be exchanged, while Kaur also hopes for agreements in various areas, including internet security.

India hopes Serbia will continue to support reforms in international bodies, including the UN, and India's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Kaur stated.

The trade between the two countries was USD 160 million in 2012, said Dačić, calling for improvements to economic relations and adding that they should follow the good development of the political ones.

Dačić expects mechanisms for economic cooperation and political consultations to be activated in the coming months.

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