Nikolic,Yanukovych agreed on economic cooperation, exchanged medals
BELGRADE – Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych arrived Thursday in Belgrade, where he will confer with Serbia’s state leadership. Yanukovych was welcomed by Serbia’s President Tomislav Nikolic. The two officials inspected the Guard and listened to their countries’ national anthems.
The presidents of Serbia and Ukraine, Tomislav Nikolic and Viktor Yanukovych, agreed that the two countries are strategically committed to the EU, and announced that the economy will be the priority of their future cooperation.
“We have talked about a great number of issues of bilateral, regional and interstate character, and concluded that the dialogue at all levels has been considerably upgraded,” Nikolic said at a press conference he held together with Yanukovych.
Nikolic said that the Ukrainian president is on the first official visit to Serbia in the history of the two countries’ relations.
He said that officials of Serbia and Ukraine have signed a number of agreements and a joint statement determining the directions of the two countries’ cooperation.
“Both Serbia and Ukraine are strategically committed to the EU. The priority goals of our future cooperation will be the sectors of energy, traffic, machine building, agriculture and civil engineering,” Nikolic said.
The Serbian president thanked Yanukovych for Kiev’s principled stance not to recognize Kosovo’s independence and to respect Serbia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Stressing that the two countries’ relations are close, Yanukovych said that there is unused potential in the area of economic cooperation.
He said that the Ukrainian-Serbian business forum, which is planned to be held in Serbia, should contribute to the development of the economic cooperation and help entrepreneurs in both countries.
The presidents of Serbia and Ukraine announced that further directions of the economic cooperation will be discussed within the Mixed Intergovernmental Commission.
Nikolic and Yanukovych agreed that they will promote cooperation also during the Ukrainian presidency of the OSCE this year, and the Serbian presidency in 2015.
The two presidents exchanged medals
The two presidents delivered the medals to each others in the Palace of Serbia where the Ukrainian delegation began its two-day visit to Serbia.
Nikolic decorated Yanukovych with a medal of the Order of the Republic of Serbia for the contribution to the development and reinforcement of peaceful cooperation and friendly ties between Serbia and Ukraine and Yanukovych decorated Nikolic with a medal of the Order of the Republic of Ukraine of the First Degree for Nikolic’s personal contribution to inter-state relations.
Serbia and Ukraine signed 6 agreements
Presidents of Serbia and Ukraine, Tomislav Nikolic and Viktor Yanukovych respectively, signed a joint statement after a bilateral meeting.
Serbian Minister of Finance and Economy Mladjan Dinkic and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Kozak signed an agreement between the Serbian government and the Ukrainian ministry on cooperation in the field of tourism.
Serbian Minister of Education Zarko Obradovic and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Tabachnyk signed an agreement in cooperation in the field of education.
Serbian Minister of Agriculture Goran Knezevic and Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Ivan Bisyuk signed an agreement related to quarantine and plant protection.
Serbia’s Minister of Transport Milutin Mrkonjic and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Kozak signed an agreement in the field of rail traffic.
The two countries’ Ministers of Culture, Bratislav Petkovic and Leonid Novohatko, signed an agreement in the area of culture.
A memorandum of understanding between the Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA) and the State Agency for Investment and National projects of Ukraine was initialed by SIEPA Director Bozidar Laganin and Head of the Ukrainian agency Vladislav Kaskiv.
Ukraine interested in Smederevo steel mill
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said Thursday that his country is interested in the Smederevo steel mill, but will not make a final decision about a strategic partnership until experts have had a chance to look into the plant.
This matter is under consideration and the final decision will be made once the expert conclusions come in, Yanukovych told Tanjug when asked whether Ukraine is interested in a strategic partnership in the steelworks, in which one Ukrainian company had previously expressed interest.
He said Ukraine wants to hold a controlling interest or partner up with the Serbian government in order to bring the steel mill back to its feet.
Ukraine has all the necessary raw materials, but the 800,000 tons of steel that can be produced in Smederevo per year are not a lot, said Yanukovych, adding that his country’s annual output is 35 million tons.
He said modernization of the steel mill is necessary, but modern technology requires investments.
We know how this is done, we have enormous experience and the necessary raw materials to get the mill up and running, said Yanukovych.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said starting up production in Smederevo is very important for the country, calling the steel mill “Serbia’s lifeline.”
Nikolic said talks about the mill are moving along well, noting that their outcome will depend on economic interests.
Ukraine, as one of the world’s top ten steel producers, certainly has an interest in taking over the company through a public-private partnership, said the Serbian president.