Vucic says Putin "always supported Serbia in times of trial"

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in the Kremlin late on Tuesday.

Source: Tanjug
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Vucic and Putin are seen at Wednesday's Victory Parade in Moscow (Tanjug)
Vucic and Putin are seen at Wednesday's Victory Parade in Moscow (Tanjug)

According to the introductory remarks published by the Kremlin, Putin told Vucic he was pleased to have an opportunity to talk informally about "the package items in our relations."

Vucic remarked that "nothing is less enduring in international relations than gratitude" - pointing out that "the Serbian people would never forget what you have done - you have protected Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty many times."

"I am happy to see you in Moscow again," Putin told Vucic. "The reason for our meeting this time is certainly important – both for Russia and Serbia. I am referring to the end of World War II or the Great Patriotic War, as it is called here."

"Naturally, there are glorious pages of history in the historical memory of our people when Serbia and Russia were fighting together against a common enemy," the Russian leader said.

"This year we will celebrate the 180th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our states. Our trade is growing – last year it increased 23 percent. I am very pleased that we have an opportunity to talk informally about the package items in our relations this evening," Putin concluded.

Serbia has demonstrated that it is a reliable partner to the Russian Federation and has never acted against the interests of your country when Russia was going through hard times, Vucic told Putin.

He thanked the Russian president for the warm reception and congratulated him on his "exceptional victory in the Russian presidential election," wishing him "every success in his work."

Vucic and Putin in the Kremlin on Tuesday evening (Tanjug)
Vucic and Putin in the Kremlin on Tuesday evening (Tanjug)

"On behalf of Serbian citizens, I would like to thank you for the support that you have always granted Serbia in times of trial," Vucic said. "As you know, nothing is less enduring in international relations than gratitude, and I would like to thank you once again for what you did in 2015 when you literally saved the Serbian people, that have been one of the most suffering nation during the past century, from the stigma of genocide by vetoing the UN British resolution."

"I would like to assure you that the Serbian people will never forget what you have done. You have protected Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty many times," the Serbian president said.

Vucic added that he was "very satisfied with the growth of our trade. In the first three months of this year it has already increased by 10 percent compared to the corresponding period of 2017."

"Serbia will preserve its independence. Serbia will preserve its military neutrality and is not going to become a member of NATO or any other military alliance," Vucic said, and "expressed hope that we will further promote our cooperation and improve it in all areas."

The meeting then continued behind closed doors, and after that over a working dinner.

Vucic, who arrived in Moscow on Tuesday, on Wednesday attended the Victory Day military parade, and will at Putin's invitation take part in the Immortal Regiment march.

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