Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković met with Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias in Athens on Thursday.
Cvetković and Christofias are taking part in a conference in Athens, Greece, organized by the Economist magazine.
Cvetković thanked Christofias for Cyprus’s support to Serbia’s EU pathway, and to the preservation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in Kosovo and Metohija.
Cvetković pointed to Cyprus’s active contribution in the process of determining the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The officials agreed that they are interested in improving economic cooperation between the two countries, increasing investments, and in developing and strengthening bilateral relations, which are based on traditional friendship and closeness of Cyprus and Serbia.
Opening the conference, Cvetković said that the Serbian government was fully committed to the development of regional cooperation and European integration of the Balkans.
Stressing that the EU is the final destination of the region and the only guarantee of its long-term stability and prosperity, he added that the Serbian government will support any action aimed at strengthening regional cooperation, as this is an investment in the region’s future.
Cvetković stated that the Balkans’ was a source of instability for decades, and that Serbia has learned much from the experience.
Serbia is convinced that the EU is its final destination and the only guarantee of long term stability and progress for the region, said Cvetković, adding that the government will support any initiative that aims to strengthen regional cooperation, because it represents an investment in the region’s future.
The prime minister said Serbia is showing the first signs of economic recovery, explaining taht the industrial output has gone up by three percent in the first two months of 2010 when compared to the same period last year, while import has increased by 30 percent. According to him, there was an increase in the employment rate at the beginning of March, for the first time since the start of the crisis. He described all of that as good signs, but said they are still not enough to raise the standard of living for the people.
Cvetković remarked that Serbia will continue implementing its Stand By Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund, which is the basis for macroeconomic stability and raising investor trust.
When it comes to infrastructure projects, Cvetković said that the focus will be on Corridor 10, but added that the construction of a Belgrade-Bar motorway and modernization of the railway that connects the same two locations is also intended.
The investment plans for those projects are at EUR 1.6 billion, said Cvetković.