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Serbia's Economic Ties With Russia Lag Behind Political Relations

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Serb March in support of Serbia's territorial integrity - Sputnik International
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Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has deplored low-key economic relations with Russia and said he hoped they would deepen after parliamentary election, in an interview with Sputnik Serbia.

BELGRADE (Sputnik) — Earlier, Ivica Dacic stated that Serbia is interested in joining the European Union, but not at the expense of its relations with Russia.

Serbia Interested in Joining EU, But Not at Expense of Relations With Russia - Sputnik International
Serbia Not Ready to Sacrifice Relationship With Russia to Join EU

"We did not entirely take advantage of our tight political relations with Russia. Our economic ties are not on par with political ones," Dacic said.

He said the Serbian parliament faced elections on April 24. The new legislature is likely to revise cooperation with Moscow and give it a boost, Dacic indicated.

"I hope the situation will change. Serbia is going to vote in a parliamentary election and, if everything goes well, we will continue developing our relations," he told Sputnik Serbia.

The foreign minister said that trade turnover between the two partners slid to some 2.2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in 2015, down 300 million euros compared to the previous year.

"It's an interesting situation. On the one hand, the United States and the European Union are criticizing us for abstaining from sanctioning Russia, but on the other hand, our trade turnover with Russia fell, while some other countries, which imposed sanctions, saw an increase [in trade turnover with Russia]."

He added that Russian-Serbian trade was dominated by hydrocarbons despite a deal that allowed Serbia to export 99 percent of goods to Russia tariff-free.

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