"Serbia, Bulgaria to deepen partnership"

Initiation of Serbia's EU accession talks opens new possibilities for comprehensive deepening of the partnership between Serbia and Bulgaria.

Source: Tanjug
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Initiation of Serbia's EU accession talks opens new possibilities for comprehensive deepening of the partnership between Serbia and Bulgaria.

During his official visit to Bulgaria, Mrkić had separate high-level meetings with the Bulgarian president, prime minister, parliament speaker and foreign minister.

Plevneliev said that Bulgaria and Serbia need to build relations based on mutual understanding and development of the vision which reflects their mutual future in the EU, Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reported.

The meeting also covered the activities of the Bulgarian-Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry set up in 2013 and the idea for staging a joint business forum which would gather representatives of the two countries in the border area in Serbia which is home to Bulgarian national minority.

Mrkić extended assurances to Plevneliev that Serbia would do all it needs to do to improve the life of Bulgarian national minority in Serbia.

The two sides asserted their commitment to the conclusion of the project on regional transport and energy infrastructure in South East Europe.

Plevneliev said that Serbia and Bulgaria will this year mark the 135th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and added that this date would be best celebrated by launching joint projects of mutual interest for both countries.

Mrkić delivered the invitation of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic for Plevneliev to visit Serbia in 2014 and the Bulgarian president accepted, the press service of the Bulgarian president released.

He also said on Thursday that Serbia would like to become a full-fledged EU member in a short time, and thanked Bulgaria for its support to Serbia's EU pathway.

Today we share the same values and principles, our goals are common, said Mrkić.

At a joint news briefing with his host, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin, Mrkić said that efforts will be made in order to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in all areas, adding that an intensive political dialogue at a high level will be continued in the course of the year, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reported.

Relations between Bulgaria and Serbia have never been at a higher level, and the political dialogue has never been more active, Vigerin said after the meeting with Mrkić.

Bulgaria is ready to render Serbia the technical and expert support it needs in the process of its EU membership negotiations, he said.

"We believe that we could be useful not only with the positive results we have achieved, but we can also help Serbia avoid the mistakes we made in the negotiating process and in the period that came after the end of the talks," Vigerin said.

The two foreign ministers agreed that a new bilateral memorandum on cooperation in the EU integration process should be drafted so as to make it possible for Bulgaria to offer help to Serbia in individual negotiating chapters, BTA reported.

Viregin said that the treaty on friendship, cooperation and good neighborly relations is being drafted, adding that in this respect there are no major problems.

Mrkić and Vigerin conferred on the possibilities for the two countries to hold a meeting in foreseeable future at which a number of agreements would be signed, and announced that members of the Joint commission on economic, science and technological cooperation will meet late in February.

Bulgaria and Serbia will also cooperate on other issues of mutual interest, including energy, and Thursday's meeting also touched on the preparations for the implementation of the South Stream project.

On the occasion of the 135th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Serbia, the two ministers agreed on a joint statement expressing their commitment to further fostering of bilateral relations, the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

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