"Russia to invest around EUR 5 billion in Serbia"
Russia supports Serbia’s efforts to resolve the Kosovo issue in a peaceful manner and to preserve the sovereignty of Serbia, says Aleksandr Chepurin.Source: Tanjug
The Russian ambassador in Belgrade also stated that relations between his country and Serbia were "dynamic" in 2013, "with a special focus on the economy."
In an interview for the Belgrade-based Geopolitika magazine, Chepurin spoke about results of cooperation between the two countries in the past year, including highest level contacts and the signing of a strategic partnership declaration, stressing that economic cooperation is key to the future development of the two countries and adding that Russia will invest about EUR 5 billion in Serbia over the next two to three years.
Chepurin said that the South Stream pipeline, whose construction kicked off on November 24, is the biggest project in Europe in the last ten years.
When it comes to the pipeline there is no reason whatsoever for anyone to be afraid about anything, because it is a big project that all can only benefit from, Chepurin said.
"Serbia and Russia opted for implementation of investment and infrastructure projects worth about EUR 4 billion in the next two to three years, and these include the South Stream EUR 1.9 billion investment, Gazprom Neft and NIS 1.5 billion investment, and a 600 million investment in the Serbian Railways infrastructure overhaul," Chepurin said.
The Russian ambassador spoke about projects by the energy systems machine-building company Siloviye Mashiny and by a number of other hi-tech companies, adding that Russian giant Lukoil is considering the possibility of investing EUR 500 million in Serbia, which would up the total figure to about EUR 5 billion.
Chepurin added that Russian companies are ready to take part in future privatization processes in Serbia.
Speaking about military cooperation between the two countries, Chepurin said talks on air defense systems will continue.
The diplomat said it is vital that the country determines what its specific needs are and how much it can spend on these systems, as they are very expensive.
"Of course, the character of relations between Serbia and Russia would play a considerable role in such cooperation, and Serbia would feel much safer," the Russian ambassador said.