Russian foreign minister to visit 4 Balkan states

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will set off on Tuesday on a Balkan tour with an extensive diplomatic and economic agenda, the Foreign Ministry said.

During the three-day tour, Lavrov will visit Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Slovenia to discuss the situation in the region, bilateral economic ties and some urgent issues on the global political agenda.

The minister will make the fist stop on the itinerary in Belgrade. Serbia is Russia’s key partner on the Balkans. The countries cooperate on a variety of major energy projects, including the construction of Serbia’s section of the South Stream gas pipeline. Russia also backs Serbia on the issue of Kosovo independence.

Lavrov’s trip to Montenegro will focus on economic agenda. According to the ministry, Russia’s direct investment in Montenegro totaled $120 million in 2010. The countries also aim to expand cultural ties.

During the visit to Macedonia, Lavrov will discuss the expansion of trade and investment cooperation and key European security issues.

The visit coincides with the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Imperial consulate – the first Russian diplomatic mission in this part of the Balkans.

Lavrov will wrap up the tour with a visit to Slovenia on April 21. He will meet with his counterpart Samuel Zbogar and Slovenian President Danilo Turk to discuss the implementation of the recent bilateral agreements aimed at further expansion of economic and cultural ties.

The general agenda of the tour also includes discussions on the current situation in North Africa and the Middle East, the ministry said.

MOSCOW, April 19 (RIA Novosti)


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