Details of Putin's visit that cameras did not capture
Tanjug is Friday reporting some details from the lunch President Aleksandar Vucic organized in honor of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin the day before.Source: Tanjug
"I raise this glass..." - thus, away from the cameras and outside the official protocol, the presidents of Russia and Serbia yesterday exchanged toasts and messages that are not heard every day - and which, judging by their tone, speak about friendship, mutual respect, and the closeness of the two leaders.
Putin thanked Vucic for the invitation and the warm reception, and reiterated that Serbia and Russia are bound by friendship, and deep historical, centuries-old spiritual ties.
"Both during the good times and during the complicated times, Serbia always displayed great character, great strength and readiness to fight," Putin said in his toast.
Today, he continued, "we have every opportunity to go through any complication or challenge, to remain dignified and to fight for our goals."
Putin then personally addressed the head of the Serbian state:
"Dear Mr. President, in recent years, you have not only shown character in foreign policy, but also in internal affairs, first of all in the economy. If I am not mistaken over the last two years, the Serbian budget has had a surplus, and this is one major indicator," Putin said.
He also wished Vucic and the Serb people a lot of success and prosperity.
"I raise this glass to you, to your health and to the development of Russian-Serbian relations," Putin said.
The Serbian president expressed his great satisfaction over the Russian leader's visit, and then thanked him for everything he has done for Serbia.
"I told you that what you did in 2015 will never be forgotten (apparently a reference to Russia blocking a British resolution at the UN). I think that you feel the love and respect of the Serbian people today as well, and you will see it tonight. The police told me that already there are more than 125,000 people in the streets (to welcome Putin), this has not happened for 30 years. You earned it with your dedicated work and respect that you have always shown for our little Serbia," said Vucic.
He told Putin that the gratitude the Serbs feel towards the Russian people - but also the friendship and brotherhood - will never end.
"And this friendship is more powerful today than ever, thanks to you, Mr. President. And there is a big difference between you and many of those who preceded you. That's why the love and respect of the Serb people towards Russia is even greater today than it was 20 and 30 years ago," said Vucic.
He wished to Putin personally and to the Russian people all the best.
"We wish you a lot of health, a lot of success and joy. Serbia will remain a free and independent country and will remain a traditional friend and ally of Russia. Thank you once again, and long live the Serbian-Russian friendship," Vucic said.