18 June 202021:57

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Nebojsa Stefanovic, Belgrade, June 18, 2020

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Mr Deputy Prime Minister,

Thank you for this meeting. I have come to Belgrade at the time when we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory in the Second World War. We are honouring all those who made this victory possible. We have visited a cemetery just now were we laid wreaths in commemoration of the Yugoslav and Soviet soldiers who died fighting to eradicate the Nazi plague.

Together with our Serbian friends, we treasure the memory of their heroism and are trying to do everything in our power to prevent history from repeating itself and to stop the ideology of hate from spreading across the world.

Our resolute actions on the international stage and at various multilateral organisations are aimed at preventing the glorification of Nazi criminals and the revival of the Nazi ideology and any other ideology based on racial superiority, as well as any manifestations of chauvinism and intolerance.

Our position on Kosovo is based on respect for international law and the UN Charter. Today we had a detailed discussion on this issue with President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic.

We firmly uphold UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which calls for finding a solution based on respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia. Like our Serbian friends, we are concerned about the developments in the Balkans, including Kosovo, where we see a rise of extremist and radical sentiments in contravention of the fundamental principles of international law.

Acting within the framework of our common efforts against these risks and threats, today we will sign a pivotal intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in combating terrorism. This agreement will provide a solid legal framework for the practical projects of the concerned agencies launched to exchange information, in particular, data about foreign terrorist fighters who are spreading throughout the world, including the Balkans.

This agreement will give a fresh boost to close coordination between your ministry and the related Russian agencies. I am referring to the Russian Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service and the Federal Guard Service, as well as your agreements of principle with Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev.

I would like to mention one more important sphere of cooperation between our countries, which your ministry is supervising – the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Centre in Nis, Serbia. Some of our Western colleagues have attempted to politicise its activities, but the centre is working to implement vital practical projects that have to do with emergencies, such as the forest fires that hit Serbia late last year. The centre is also doing an important job of mine clearance. We believe that cooperation in the spheres of your ministry’s responsibility constitutes an important contribution to the further development of practical collaboration between our countries within the framework of the strengthening of strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Serbia.

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