17.08.2016

Sweden, Serbia have exceptional relations, friendship

Serbia and Sweden maintain exceptional bilateral relations and a continuing friendship, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said during a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven on Tuesday.

BELGRADE - Serbia and Sweden maintain exceptional bilateral relations and a continuing friendship, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said during a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven on Tuesday.

"There is significant room to improve economic ties and there really are no obstacles to that," Nikolic noted.

"Serbs who live in Sweden, of whom we estimate there are around 100,000, are the bridge of our friendship," a statement from the presidential press office quoted Nikolic as saying.

Sweden is strongly supportive of Serbia on its path towards full EU membership and we are very appreciative of that, Nikolic said.

Chapter 35 in the EU accession talks is an obstacle if it implies recognising Kosovo, Nikolic said, noting that, above all, Belgrade was holding discussions with Pristina on ways to enable the citizens to live better, but that it would never recognise Kosovo's self-proclaimed independence.

"I initiated the discussions with Pristina at the highest level, but Kosovo does not want to implement what has been agreed - in particular, the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities. It obviously has Western support for that," Nikolic said.

Speaking about the situation in the region, he highlighted Serbia's commitment to peace and stability despite constant provocations, mostly from Croatia.

Imposing sanctions on Russia is unacceptable to Serbia, not only due to the historical friendship and alliance in the two world wars, but also due to a compatibility of the two economies and the huge Russian market that is available to Serbia, Nikolic said.

Loefven agreed Serbia and Sweden had very good bilateral relations, underscoring that there was a potential to improve them further, particularly in the economy.

Serbia has made visible progress in modernising its economy, Loefven said.

He also noted the significance of regional peace and stability and joint efforts to overcome potential disagreements.