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Vladimir Putin Met with Aleksandar Vucic

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President,

It is a pleasure to have you here in Moscow.

I remember well your previous visit on May 8–9. Most recently, we celebrated the 180th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

I note with satisfaction a steady increase in bilateral trade, namely, 23 percent last year and another 13.3 percent in the first half of this year. Russia’s investment in the Serbian economy is also growing and now stands at $4 billion.

I know we will need to talk about the situation in the region as well.

I am very pleased to see you. Welcome.

President of the Republic of Serbia Alexandar Vucic (speaks Russian): Mr President, my friend,

First of all, thank you very much for your kind words and hospitality. It is, as always, a great honour for me.

However, today’s meeting is of great importance for my country, Serbia.

I am pleased with the way our relations are unfolding, which is the result of our open, constructive and productive discussions. Russian-Serbian international relations are very good.

I must express my deep gratitude to you personally, Mr President, for your firm position in upholding international law and vital national and state interests of the Republic of Serbia.

As you are well aware, the situation in the Western Balkans is very complicated, and as a state Serbia is faced with numerous daily provocations. Despite this, regardless of our willingness to reach a compromise and to maintain peace and stability, we are still very far from reaching any decision on the matter concerning Kosovo and Metohija.

I would like to emphasise once again that as an independent and free state Serbia will maintain military neutrality, and I believe that Serbia is the only country in the Western Balkans that enjoys such a definition today.

With regard to our economic ties, you were right when you said that our trade is on the rise. I am quite pleased with this and I hope that we can improve our economic relations in the future.

In closing, I would like to thank you once again for everything you are doing for Serbia and to take this opportunity to invite you to visit Belgrade in the near future. This, as I said earlier, will be a great honour for us and our people.

I have prepared for you a book My Fair Serbia written by Russian authors.

Many thanks again for your very warm welcome and hospitality.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

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