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BALKANS > Belgrade pays homage to Moscow on Kosovo claim

MOSCOW - Reuters

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Russian President Putin (R) and Serbian President-elect Nikolic speak during their meeting in Moscow. AP photo

Russian President Putin (R) and Serbian President-elect Nikolic speak during their meeting in Moscow. AP photo

Serbia is on a “long and uncertain” road to joining the European Union but will not give up its claim to Kosovo for the sake of membership, President-elect Tomislav Nikolic told Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 26, who promised to provide an $800 million loan during the meeting.

It was former leader of the ultranationalist Radical Party Nikolic’s first foreign trip since he was elected president on May 20. The pair spoke warmly of ties between their nations, which share mostly Slavic, Orthodox Christian culture.

$800 million ‘aid’

“We see Serbia as our spiritual brothers,” said Putin, who met Nikolic on the sidelines of a congress of the dominant United Russia party just outside the Kremlin.

Nikolic told Putin that “Serbia is a partner of Russia in the Balkans” and said he would protect the interests of Serbia and Russia. Nikolic offered further assurance that he wants Serbia to join the EU.

“Serbia is on the road to the EU. It is a long and uncertain road. We will order our country according to the rules that exist in the EU,” Nikolic told Putin, according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass and Serbia’s Tanjug.

Putin told Nikolic that Russia was “ready” to provide an $800 million infrastructure improvement loan that has long been under negotiation, but did not say when it might be finalized. In December, the had entered final negotiations for the loan to overhaul the Balkan country’s dilapidated rail network, part of a wider economic pact agreed in 2009.

Nikolic added that he has “not heard there exists the condition that Serbia should recognize Kosovo.

We cannot do that, even if it meant breaking off negotiations at that very moment.”

Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.

May/28/2012

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john albay

5/28/2012 10:11:32 PM

well with that frame of mind the serbs will not be joining the EU,which with the mess in the EU at present is their good luck! As for the Korsovo they murdered the albanians there and they lost the war and the country so they should forget it and move on. Just like the puppet state of south cyprus lost the north for the same reasons.
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