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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Strange Bedfellows: Serbia's Outgoing President to Connect UAE With Russia

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    Serbian Progressive Party supporters hold Serbian flag during a pre-election rally in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, April 21, 2016

    Strange Bedfellows: Serbia's Outgoing President to Connect UAE With Russia

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    Serbia's outgoing President Nikolic will become the head of the newly-established National Council for Cooperation with Russia and China once his term in office expires on May 31. In his interview with Sputnik, he talked about his new job and revealed that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi has asked for his assistance in setting up ties with Russia.

    Serbia has recently established the National Council for Cooperation with Russia and China. The country's outgoing President Tomislav Nikolic will become the head of the newly-established body once his term in office expires on May 31.
    The major task of the Council will be to maintain strategic and operative ties with Moscow and Beijing — political, economic, infrastructural, energy, trade, and cultural.
    It will overview the implementation of the Agreement on Strategic Partnership between Serbia and Russia, and the Agreement on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Serbia and China.  And regulate the cooperation between Serbia and China within China's One Belt, One Road strategy in Serbia.
    Sputnik Serbia sat down with Serbia's outgoing leader to talk about his new job.
    Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his Serbian Counterpart Tomislav Nikolic
    © SPUTNIK/ ALEXEI DRUZHININ
    Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with his Serbian Counterpart Tomislav Nikolic
    "I spoke with the President of China and sent a letter to the Russian President where I informed that the Serbian government is setting up the National Council which will oversee the implementation of strategic agreements with Russia and China. I also said that we are planning to set up an administrative office which will provide the technical support to the Council," President Tomislav Nikolic told Sputnik.
    "China's President Xi Jinping said that he fully endorsed the idea and said that China will also set up a national authority which will cooperate with Serbia's National Council. Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin told me that President Putin was very satisfied with our decision," the Serbian outgoing leader added.

    Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) walks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic during a welcoming ceremony at Belgrade's airport Nikola Tesla, Serbia June 17, 2016
    © REUTERS/ SERBIAN PRESIDENCY OFFICE
    Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) walks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic during a welcoming ceremony at Belgrade's airport "Nikola Tesla", Serbia June 17, 2016
    He further elaborated on what he actually expects from his new post.
    "I personally think that we do not exploit in full all the opportunities provided by the friendship with these countries.  I often wondered what is the reason and how could I help. As it is now clear that Russian and Chinese Presidents favor the idea, I would also be very pleased to help, on a pro-bono basis," President Tomislav Nikolic said.
    He said that he is going to retire on May 31 and, as he previously promised, he won't ask for any compensation in his new post. The government is going to make a decision on his appointment and then he will offer the candidacies of five-six people for the positions of the members of the Council. There will be at least two ministers and people who used to work in government bodies, mostly cooperating with Russia and China.
    The Serbian leader also said that they will also invite ambassadors to cooperate with the Council.
    President Tomislav Nikolic also commented on the results of his presidential term, saying that he is leaving with great satisfaction from the work performed.
    He made a very unexpected revelation saying that Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates' Armed Forces, who is seen as the driving force behind the UAE's foreign policy, has recently asked for his assistance in cooperation with Russia.
    The Sheikh also noted that it was their personal acquaintance which helped to strengthen the relationship between the UAE and Serbia.
    "When I look at a person, I look into his eyes. I do not read agreements or contracts. I saw that you are a sincere person," Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan told the Serbian outgoing President.

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