„It is time to uphold the agreements reached several years ago, especially the agreement to form the ASM in Kosovo, which was officially harmonized in 2013,“ Sergey Lavrov said from Belgrade last night. Lavrov furthermore claimed that „it does not serve the honor of the EU to give in to Kosovo’s attempts to postpone the most important issue for the Serb population in Kosovo.“
„It was our most open and honest conversation so far“ – the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic described last night’s meeting with the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Belgrade.
Vucic: Serbia will not forget its long-standing friend
The Serbian President emphasized that Serbia and Russia are long-standing friends and that the former had the latter’s support so far – not just in the United Nations but in other international institutions as well.
„I trust that this will continue in the future, just as we suit our Russian friends, in those relations within such organizations and institutions,“ the president said in a joint media address on Sunday evening.
Vucic highlighted that Serbia must remember those who helped it during difficult times – which was what Russia did – from the fight with the Covid-19 outbreak to the Kosovo issue.
A solution through compromise, not dictates
„We shall not forget that kind of help and support. We are also very grateful to the Russian Federation for helping our territorial sovereignty and integrity and insisting that the issue of resolving the issue of Kosovo and Metohija can be resolved only by finding a compromise and not via dictates imposed on the Republic of Serbia,“ the Serbian president stressed.
The president revealed that he spoke to the high-ranking Russian diplomat about his “objective fears,” adding that Lavrov shared his opinion on them and gave him „important advice“.
„The Republic of Serbia will remain a militarily neutral country. We are proud of our military neutrality and in accordance with that, we will continue not only to protect our country but also to develop our defense capacities to deter any potential aggressor from jeopardizing Serbia’s freedom.“
He also said that Lavrov expressed hope that Vucic would meet with his Russian counterpart by the end of the year in order to discuss issues of interest to Serbia.
Lavrov: 1244 and a direct conversation between Belgrade and Pristina
Serbia is still the most important partner for the stability of peace in this region, and its opinion should be taken into account in any negotiating format and exchange of opinions, Sergey Lavrov said in Belgrade last night.
Addressing the resolution of the Kosovo issue, Lavrov brought up the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 several times during his media address, recalling that the Russian Federation insisted on the part of the resolution that states that the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the former FRY, i.e. Serbia, must be respected.
The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs also repeatedly underlined that Russia will support any solution that suits Serbia and the Serb people.
„Russia consistently advocates that the solution to the Kosovo issue must be based exclusively on Resolution 1244. It advocates that a solution must be found within the direct talks between Belgrade and Pristina and that the solution should be approved by the United Nations Security Council. President Putin has emphasized this several times, that is our firm position, and we will accept any solution that suits Serbia and the Serbian people,“ Lavrov emphasized.
Lavrov also revealed that Russia expressed concern over the „provocation“ that occurred in northern Kosovo in late September, but also the appreciation of the „restraint and firm stance of Serbia and President Vucic, which made it possible for the crisis to be resolved and the moves of the Kosovo Albanians to be stopped.“
It is time to form the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities, Lavrov underscored, emphasizing that Russia will insist on fulfilling the agreement that the EU – as a mediator in the dialogue – is responsible for.
„In contact with the EU, I mention the responsibility of Brussels in the function of a mediator. Brussels initiated that and the EU got this role by the decision of the UN General Assembly. And, of course, I assume that our American partners will use their influence, which is very important for Pristina, which is very important to ensure the normal progression of the negotiation process and to reach agreements within the framework of Resolution 1244, one that would suit our Serbian friends.“
Revealing that President Putin is also determined to continue cooperation at the highest level, Lavrov could not specify when and where a possible new meeting between the two presidents could take place.
„We have a confidential dialogue not only at presidential level, but also at governmental level, at the level of separate ministries, and of course at the level of foreign ministries, and confirmation of the consistent development of our strategic partnership was the next session of our intergovernmental committees for trade and inter-economic cooperation, during which concrete great steps were determined to promote our trade, economic and investment cooperation for the benefit of our peoples and cooperation between Russia and Serbia,“ Lavrov said.
Both of them boasted that in the first seven months of this year the trade increased by more than 16 percent.
The delivery of vaccines from Russia is set to continue, and the two countries also plan to launch the joint production of Sputnik V.
The Russians are accustomed to the accusations of Western partners that Russia is „interfering“ in the issues of the Western Balkans – Lavrov stressed, adding:
„The most important thing for us is mutual benefit, balance of interests, and that is exactly what all our agreements with Serbia and all the countries of the Western Balkans are based on.“
„We have known for a long time that the EU is trying to say that it has rights to the region of the Western Balkans. The previous head of EU diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, stated that with the EU’s presence someplace, others have nothing to do there. She was thinking of the Western Balkans. At the same time, the EU believes that it is absolutely right to pursue its far from constructive policy in those regions, which are far from Europe – such as Central Asia. The EU has its own approach to other parts of our planet, as we are being told that we have no initiative in places that the EU is interested in. I don’t have to explain how neocolonial this opinion is.“
He stated that he recently met with Josep Borrell at the UN, who has the same line of thinking. Lavrov said that he explained to Borrel that anyone who has concrete facts that Russia is the one violating the principles and norms in the Western Balkans or elsewhere “should step forward and present it, please.”
A summit marking the 60th anniversary of the first Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement will be held in Belgrade today and tomorrow. The first conference was also held in Belgrade – the then Yugoslav capital. According to the announcements, more than 100 foreign delegations, including about 40 foreign ministers, will be attending the summit.
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