Agreement with Russia "important for Serbian army"
The technical cooperation deal between Serbian and Russian armies is "very significant for the Serbian military as an umbrella for further talks."Source: Tanjug
The agreement was signed on Thursday by Serbian Defense Minister Bratislav Gašić and head of the Russian Federal Agency for Technical Military Cooperation Alexander Vasilyevich Fomin. The presidents of the both countries attended the signing.
"Serbia has signed its first contract with the Russian Federation as an independent country," Gašić told RTS, pointing out that the agreement was the bases for all future forms of cooperation and negotiations regarding the modernization of the Serbian Armed Forces and equipment and spare parts purchases.
He hopes that thanks to its reforms, Serbia will be able to take out the commodity loan it discussed with the Russian side in 2012 and will be able to buy new aircraft in 2016.
Serbia and Russia have had close military relations so far, but they can now be expanded to military education, health care and technical cooperation based on this agreement, Gašić noted.
It is extremely important that Serbia develop its defense industry and retake the place it belongs to it, because that branch can start the country's reindustrialization, he pointed out.
The Serbian Army was reduced in size from 2000 to 2012, sold their equipment and property, and had that trend continued, this once respectable military force would have been reduced to a civil defense force, he stated.
The military has been growing stronger for the past two years, and it has been successful in its work on all three of its missions, maintaining security, taking part in international peace operations and helping the population during natural disasters, Gašić said.
The military parade held in Belgrade on Thursday in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin showed that, he remarked.
The Serbian government is committed to EU integration, he said, adding that Serbia lied both in the east and west and wished to have good relations with everyone while keeping the interest of its people as its top priority.