By Ria Novosti
Russia could possibly issue Serbia an $800-million loan, Serbian President Boris Tadic and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a joint press conference on Wednesday.
Tadic said part of the amount would be spent on railroad projects.
Putin, who arrived in Serbia on a visit on Wednesday, said: “Last year, we granted a $200-million loan to support the [Serbian] budget, and now we are considering an $800-million package to finance specific projects, which are being studied now.”
The Russian premier also said that Russian energy giant Gazprom’s oil arm Gazprom Neft invested $290 million in Serbia in 2010, and plans to invest another $500 million this year.
Tadic said Serbia is interested in Russian investors and added that the two countries can actively cooperate in agriculture.
“We are interested in selling our agricultural products to Russia, we are open to Russian products, and I think here we can find great opportunities for trade turnover,” he said.
Regarding the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, Putin said Russia is ready to give support in the negotiating process.
“Any negotiations are better than warfare, brawls and disputes. We welcome this in all possible ways, and if need be, will support this process,” he said.
Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed its independence from Serbia in February 2008. A total of 69 out of 192 UN member states have recognized Kosovo. Serbia, Russia, China, India and some other countries have not recognized it, saying international law was violated.
Putin said Russia’s position is based on UN Security Council’s resolution 1244.
The UN International Court of Justice ruled in July 2010 that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate general international law. But resolution 1244 on Serbia’s territorial integrity remains in force.