Vucic has ‘friendly’ meeting with Putin in China

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić had a brief conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing, although there was no formal bilateral meeting between them, the Serbian leader said on Tuesday.

Instead of attending the Berlin Process Summit in Tirana, Vučić travelled to China to sign a series of trade deals, leaving Prime Minister Ana Brnabic to represent Serbia at the Berlin Process Summit. Instead, he went to China to sign several trade deals.

When a Channel One journalist asked how the meeting went, Vucic said, “As usual. We have friendly relations.”

Putin is wanted internationally by the International Criminal Court for the abduction of children from Ukraine and other war crimes related to the invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, Vucic has refused to align Serbia’s foreign policy with the EU or the West and has deepened ties with Russia since the war started.

Details of their discussion in the Chinese capital were not disclosed.

Both Vučić and Putin were in Beijing to participate in the international forum for the Chinese “Belt and Road” initiative. This marked the first time they met in the same location since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in March 2022.

Vučić emphasised that the Beijing visit also served as an opportunity to build international relations in Africa and Asia.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić addressed the EU’s concerns about the agreement with China.

The EU had indicated that Serbia, as a candidate for EU membership, should withdraw from all bilateral free trade agreements upon accession to the bloc.

In response, Dačić stated that the EU should first outline the terms for Serbia’s accession. He highlighted the historical significance of the Free Trade Agreement between Serbia and China, stating that it would substantially benefit Serbia in the coming decades.

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