"Peace in Ukraine, compromise with Albanians"
Serbia and Ukraine have traditionally good and friendly relations, which they want to deepen at all levels, says Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.Source: Beta, Tanjug
Vucic added that Serbia wants all problems in Ukraine to be settled in a peaceful manner, while respecting the Minsk accords.
"We hope and want all problems in Ukraine to be resolved in a peaceful manner, that the Minsk accords are respected, and we believe that the OSCE is a very important link to establish peace. President Poroshenko wished to Serbia to find a compromise with the Albanians, while Ukraine was always been on the side of respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia," Vucic said at a joint press conference with Poroshenko in Belgrade on Tuesday.
According to him, there is mutual desire to promote bilateral relations, strengthen political dialogue and strengthen economic cooperation.
"Serbia and Ukraine have no open bilateral issues. They consider each other to be highly friendly country. Our languages are the most alike in the world and (in) the Slavic language group," said Vucic.
He reiterated that, as Ukraine supports the territorial integrity of Serbia, Serbia supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
"We think it is very important that we work seriously, responsibly and to improve our relationships and friendships. We think that in the coming period, a mixed committee can do a lot to improve economic cooperation, political and cultural ties," he added.
Vucic said that he believes "there will soon be room in our cities for monuments to the most famous Ukrainian writers, and that cooperation in culture and sports will be opened, while readiness to exchange experiences in all other areas is also emphasized."
Among them are also EU integrations, "where we will point to each other's mistakes and advantages, what we can and what we need to do together," he said.
Vucic pointed out that after a big fall, last year trade rose to USD 357 million, with Serbian imports and exports both increasing.
"We still have a significant deficit in the trade exchange with Ukraine. We expect and have talked with President Poroshenko to give the cooperation an injection in order to reach the figure of one billion euros, so we'll see how that will go," he said.
Vucic expressed his belief that Serbia and Ukraine will be able to sign a free trade agreement in the coming period, recalling that it is not easy to agree on that issue.
"We are confident that we will have a constructive and friendly attitude of Ukraine in terms of our accession to the World Trade Organization," he added.
Vucic emphasized that it was necessary to improve contacts between people of both countries - "we want to see an even greater number of Ukrainians in Serbia, as well as Serbian citizens in Ukraine."
"We launched an initiative, and we will get an analysis of our operator Air Serbia whether it is possible to establish a regular line for Kiev. It would be a significant boost to our friendly relations," he stressed.
Vucic recalled that he spoke with Poroshenko last month in Turkey at the opening of the TANAP gas pipeline, and that they discussed energy and other issues at the time.
"No billateral issues"
Petro Poroshenko said in Belgrade Tuesday that Serbia and Ukraine did not have any bilateral issues.
At the news conference with Vucic, Poroshenko said that Ukraine supported solving the Kosovo problem through a compromise that would acknowledge the interests of Serbia, and said that he expected Belgrade to support Kiev on Crimea.
I want to clearly state that we respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia. We did not recognize Kosovo and it is our stance that the problem of Kosovo needs to be solved through a compromise and by honoring Serbia's interests, Poroshenko said.
He said that Ukraine continued to insist on its territorial integrity, which included Crimea, adding that he unconditionally counted on Serbia's support for the introduction of a peace mission.
I am sure that the clear implementation of the Minsk agreement will restore peace throughout Ukraine, Poroshenko said.
He said that he strongly appreciated everything that the Serbian president had invested in developing relations between the two countries and added that he felt as if he was among friends in Belgrade.
For the first time Belgrade is decorated with Ukrainian and Serbian flags and we feel the hospitality of not just the president and government, but the people of Serbia as well, Poroshenko said.
The Ukrainian president said that, during his meeting with Vucic, the Serbian president and he had exchanged experiences with EU integration, and that he had voiced the hope that Serbia would have negotiated all of the obstacles to entering the EU by 2025.