Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Moscow would continue to supply Serbia with natural gas on favorable terms.
Putin expressed confidence that a new contract for gas supplies to Serbia would be signed quickly to replace the current one, which expires at the end of the year.
We will find a solution that would definitely be acceptable to our Serbian friends, Putin said at the beginning of talks in his Black Sea residence in Sochi with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic with Kosovo.
We support your position on the Kosovo settlement and I hope that ultimately the situation will develop in a way that serves the interests of all people living in the region, he said.
Kosovo was a Serbian province until an uprising by Albanian rebels in 1998-1999 triggered a bloody crackdown on the Serbs. That prompted NATO to conduct a 78-day bombing campaign to drive Serbian troops out of Kosovo. The war claimed more than 10,000 deaths. Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, but Serbia did not recognize it. Relations between Kosovo and Serbia remain tense despite a European Union-sponsored dialogue over the past decade aimed at normalizing them.
Vucic praised the close relations between Serbia and Russia and particularly pointed out the high level of defense cooperation.
Although Serbia is officially seeking EU membership, it has refused to adapt its foreign policy to the 27-state bloc and has instead strengthened its alliance with Russia and China.