Russia Lauds Strategic Partnership with Serbia

Russia Lauds Strategic Partnership with Serbia

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Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavror has lauded the strategic partnership between Russia and Serbia, and the close relationship between their leaders.

Russia will support Serbia’s will in relation to any agreement to solve issues with Kosovo, Lavrov told journalists in Belgrade on Sunday.

The top Russian diplomat will attend the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Belgrade on Monday.

Formed in opposition to the military-political blocs during the Cold War, the NAM account for 120 member states and is the largest grouping of states after the United Nations.

Speaking on Kosovo, Lavrov pressed the European Union to push Kosovo to create the Association of Serb Municipalities (ASM).

The creation of the ASM was agreed between Kosovo and Serbia in 2013, but Kosovo’s top court found it unconstitutional two years later. It said the association cannot have governing functions that are exclusive to the central government.

Lavrov stressed that the EU cannot hold Russia back from exerting its influence in the Western Balkans, calling such claims “a neocolonial approach”.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic also highlighted the importance of Serbia’s “extremely good relations” with Russia. He said they had the “most sincere and open conversation to date” with Lavrov, whom he informed on all regional matters.

The two governments are working to organize a meeting between Vucic and Putin in the near future.

Serbia maintains close political and military ties with China and Russia, while being a candidate for accession into the EU.

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