News / Europe

Russia to Make $500M Loan to Serbia, Pledges Support on Kosovo

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic attend a signing ceremony outside Moscow, Apr. 10, 2013.
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (R) and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic attend a signing ceremony outside Moscow, Apr. 10, 2013.
Reuters
Russia granted Serbia a $500 million loan on Wednesday and promised to back Belgrade in its dispute with Kosovo but warned it must broker a deal with its former province on its own.
 
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic in Moscow that Russia would "always support our Serbian friends'' but said the push for a deal with majority Albanian Kosovo must come from Belgrade itself.
 
Serbia on Monday rejected the principles of an accord that emerged from six months of EU-mediated negotiations, saying they fell short of the broad autonomy it seeks for a small ethnic Serb pocket inside Kosovo.
 
But Kosovo, which seceded from Serbia in 2008, said on Tuesday it held out hope for a deal and for more talks, with Serbian hopes of starting European Union accession talks hanging in the balance.
 
The EU says it wants a deal in place before it considers this month whether to recommend the start of membership talks with Belgrade this year - a process that would help propel reform and unlock EU funds for the ailing Serbian economy.
 
Russia's $500 million credit to Serbia, a 10-year loan carrying interest of 3.5 percent, was half the amount Belgrade was seeking to help restore growth this year after a recession in 2012 caused by a spillover of the eurozone crisis.
 
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters that Russia would disburse a $300 million tranche immediately to help plug Serbia's budget deficit.
 
In 2013, Belgrade faces a budget gap of about 3.6 percent of national output and needs about 4.8 billion euros ($6.2 billion) to finance debt seen at 65 percent of gross domestic product, higher than a 45 percent limit set by domestic fiscal rules.
 
Siluanov said Serbia would receive the second tranche of $200 million once it strikes a deal with the International Monetary Fund in talks next month on a precautionary loan after the lender suspended a 1 billion euro deal last year.
 
Orthodox, Slavic Ties
 
Serbia has already borrowed $800 million from Russia - the biggest investor in its economy and its traditional Slavic and Orthodox Christian ally - to overhaul railways. It has also sought other sovereign lenders, including the United Arab Emirates and China.
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Dacic on Wednesday, greeting him warmly with a hug and saying Russian-Serbian relations were “especially close”.
 
But Medvedev's comments, punctuating a visit underscoring Moscow's warm relations with Belgrade, showed a rare lapse in patience over Belgrade's handling of talks with Pristina.
 
Moscow has the impression that Serbs “expect more from Russia than from Serbia itself”, he told Dacic at his residence outside Moscow. “This is wrong,” Medvedev said. “The process needs to be fostered by Serbia, not us.”
 
Dacic said he wants Russian support to resume talks under the auspices of the United Nations over Kosovo, a province of 1.7 million people which broke away from Serbia in a 1998-99 war and declared independence with the backing of the West in 2008.
 
“Serbia can continue to aspire to join the European Union but never forget that Russia and the Russian people are our greatest friends,” Dacic said. “We are ready to continue talks [on Kosovo]. Now Serbia asks Russia to help bring these negotiations with the U.N. framework.”

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More