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Medvedev travels to Serbia to secure key pipeline deal

Medvedev travels to Serbia to secure key pipeline deal

Russia signed a gas pipeline deal with Serbia on Monday that underscores Moscow's increasingly closer ties with Belgrade.
The plan clears the way for the construction of the South Stream pipeline through Serbia en route to Western Europe.
Details on the deal _ expected to be worth as much as US$1.5 billion (euro1.01 billion) _ will be released later Monday.
The deal is the centerpiece of a visit by Dmitry Medvedev, the man widely expected to be Russia's next president. Medvedev said the agreement and other related deals "form the foundation of energy stability for all of Europe in the future."
The deal was signed by Alexei Miller, Gazprom's chief executive officer, and Sasa Ilic, the acting head of Serbia Gas.
Though Medvedev's visit has focused on economic issues, his talks with President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica also dealt with the tensions caused by Kosovo's decision to declare independence from Serbia.
Moscow has emerged as Belgrade's primary ally in the Kosovo crisis.
The United States and some European Union nations quickly recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence last week but Moscow declared the move illegal and warned that it will block efforts to get the new nation to join the United Nations or other international organizations.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Kosovo's declaration represented "a terrifying precedent," and warned the West that the decision would "come back to knock them on the head."
Medvedev is being accompanied by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Diplomatic officials in Belgrade said Medvedev's statements will be watched closely for indications of Russia's foreign policy after Putin steps down in May.
Meanwhile, the pro-Western Liberal Democratic Party planned to protest in front of the Russian Embassy over recent comments on Moscow state television criticizing Serbia's slain reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.
Liberal Party leaders said they would try to deliver a letter to Medvedev demanding that he denounce the anti-Djindjic comments.
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Associated Press Writer Jim Heintz contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-05-11 03:10 GMT+08:00