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President: Serbia free to choose Russia over EU membership

Staff Writer |
The European Union (EU) will have to understand Serbia's relations with Russia, if it wishes to see it as its future member, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said after meeting visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Belgrade.

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Lavrov landed at the Belgrade Airport on Wednesday afternoon to attend the ceremony of the 180th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

He was greeted by his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic, and immediately afterwards went to Villa Mir in Belgrade, where he met President Vucic and held a joint press conference.

Vucic said at the conference that the EU demand that Serbia harmonizes its foreign policy before becoming a member country - presents "an obstacle" and that it will take good will of the EU to overcome it.

"In the strategy for the Western Balkans for the first time it is said that we should achieve full harmonization of our foreign policy with the EU, before becoming a full member of the EU...

"We have a major obstacle that we have to overcome, and not only Serbian or Russian good will is required in order for it to be solved, but also the good will of Kosovo Albanians, European Council and the European Union," he said, referring to Serbia's southern province that unilaterally seceded in 2008.

Vucic stressed that Serbia will resist all pressures to impose sanctions upon Russia, and will always respect the traditional relations with Russia and develop them further in the best possible way, acting as an independent country that brings its own decisions, and "not changing the direction and nature of relations in the future."

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