Aleksandr Lukashenko and Tomislav Nikolić meet in Belgrade

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Belarus and Serbia will enhance long-standing and mutually beneficial cooperation in the bilateral and multilateral formats. After the negotiations in Belgrade on 12 June presidents Aleksandr Lukashenko and Tomislav Nikolić expressed eagerness to promote the implementation of agreements.

The presidents held one-on-one talks and expanded participation negotiations. Before the session in the expanded format Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “In the most difficult minutes of your history we have always been as close to you as possible. And we will do so in the future.”

The Belarusian head of state remarked that before the visit he asked about the response of the European Union and the USA to his visit to Serbia. “I stopped wearing my rose-colored glasses a long time ago, nevertheless, I was baffled and surprised by their attitude. They were ready to do everything to disrupt the visit or make it as unnoticeable as possible in Serbia,” the Belarusian President stated.

“We have come here not for the sake of damaging someone’s interests but for the sake of securing maximum in our bilateral relations without any damage to your neighbors and ours,” the Belarusian leader emphasized. “If we cannot resolve our own problems on our own, we shouldn’t seek more helpers and supporters in this world. Do not be afraid of us. We can do a lot,” he added.

Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined the purely brotherly nature of Belarusian-Serbian relations: “I am sure that your politicians and citizens have no facts to reproach me or Belarus for being insincere. We have always treated the Serbian nation with respect because it is our nation, a nation that has suffered a lot and won, that has made a huge contribution to liberating Europe from the brown plague.”

“For us Serbia was and still is an important partner in the Balkan region,” the Belarusian head of state said. He urged to step up efforts to implement events envisaged by the roadmap to enhance cooperation between Belarus and Serbia.

After the negotiations the two presidents attended the signing of international cooperation documents. Aleksandr Lukashenko and Tomislav Nikolić signed a joint statement in which they outlined bilateral cooperation guidelines.

Aleksandr Lukashenko told reporters that Belarus is ready to intensify friendly ties with Serbia. He pointed out that the negotiations were productive.

“Our talks today have focused on the future. We have agreed in principle that we will work together to promote our interests,” the Belarusian head of state said.

According to the President, the most promising cooperation avenues include energy, agriculture, construction, transport infrastructure, science, education and tourism.

Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized the importance of transition from simple trade to cooperation in manufacturing, technologies and investments. There are joint ventures assembling Belarusian machinery in Serbia and their number is going to increase in the near future.

In recent years the bilateral trade has expanded nearly four times to approach $200 million. “We are set to reach the level we agreed on during the talks in Minsk, i.e. $0.5 billion,” the Belarusian President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that Belarus has always supported the territorial integrity of Serbia and welcomes the efforts of Serbia’s government to normalize the situation in Kosovo and Metohija. Belarus also counts on more fruitful cooperation with Serbia within the framework of international organizations.

As part of the official visit the Belarusian head of state met with members of the National Assembly and Patriarch Irinej of Serbia. Patriarch Irinej presented the highest award of the Serbian Orthodox Church – the Order of Saint Sava 1st Class – to the Belarusian President. The order is presented in recognition of exceptional achievements in the spiritual, enlightenment and humanitarian work. Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the award will encourage him to do more to promote the unity of the two nations.