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NEWS | 08.07.2018 22:15

Brnabic: Serbia Committed to Strengthening Strategic Partnership with China, Cooperation within 16+1

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said at a July 7 summit between China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) states in Sofia that Serbia was committed to its strategic partnership with China and cooperation with the 16+1 initiative, which brings together China and 16 CEE countries.

Speaking at the conference, Brnabic said that Serbia's "timeless friendship of steel" with China was important, the Serbian cabinet quoted her as saying in a press release.

"Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, during his premiership, recognized the importance of strengthening Serbia's relations with China, initiating friendly relationships and cooperation in all segments," she said.

Brnabic said that Serbia was committed to an active role in initiatives contributing to firmer ties and closer cooperation and not limited to infrastructure projects, but energy, economy and culture as well.

"The modernization of the railway connecting Belgrade and Budapest, carried out together by Serbia, Hungary and China as part of the first cross-border project within the cooperation mechanism, is key to infrastructure connections," the prime minister said.

She said that it was vital for Serbia to sign a commercial contract for the modernization and reconstruction of the Hungarian-Serbian railway between Novi Sad, Subotica and the Kelebija border crossing, worth EUR943 million.

The prime minister said that regional infrastructural projects were crucial for Serbia, particularly the "Highway of Peace" which will extend to the Albanian port of Durres, a highway connecting Belgrade and Sarajevo, and another one with Bulgaria.

Brnabic said that the exceptional political importance of the 16+1 mechanism was that it provided a strong link between East and West, China and Europe.

"I would like to thank the people of China, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang for the strong support they have been offering to these projects. It has facilitated the exchange of goods and mobility with a very positive impact on the stability and growth of the entire region," she said.

The Serbian delegation at the summit, headed by the prime minister, includes Serbian Minister of Construction, Transportation and Infrastructure Zorana Mihajlovic and Minister of Mining and Energy Aleksandar Antic.

Apart from a commercial contract for the Belgrade-Budapest railway, Serbia has signed a memorandum of understanding on a joint plan for Chinese-Serbian cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative, a memorandum of cooperation on joint support for the construction of a fruit and vegetables industrial park, and a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in reconstruction projects along Corridor X and a railway connecting Belgrade, Nis, Presevo and the Republic of Macedonia.


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