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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia and Serbia Sign Economic Pact

Russia and Serbia have signed two economic agreements to take effect once the United Nations lifts sanctions against the former Yugoslavia.

The agreements, which call for economic cooperation and for the establishing of a joint trade committee, were signed Wednesday by Russian Foreign Economic Relations Minister Oleg Davydov and his Serbian counterpart, Nikola Sainovic.

Davydov told Itar-Tass the agreements would come into force after the UN Security Council lifts or relaxes sanctions against the former Yugoslavia.

Once sanctions are fully lifted, Moscow and Belgrade will restore complete economic cooperation, he said.

Davydov said the agreements give Russia the chance to be one of the first countries with a firm economic footing in the ex-Yugoslav market.

Earlier Wednesday, Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic met with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin to discuss political and economic issues.

Chernomyrdin reaffirmed Moscow's plans to seek the lifting of the sanctions if Belgrade sticks to its promise to sever contacts with the Bosnian Serbs, Marjanovic told Interfax.

Serbia said it cut ties with the Bosnian Serbs after they rejected the latest international peace plan for Bosnia. Russia and the Serbs are traditional Orthodox Slav allies.

Chernomyrdin also accepted Marjanovic's invitation to visit Belgrade. The date of the visit was not set, officials said.

The Serbs also requested shipments of Russian natural gas as humanitarian aid.

"That question will be agreed with the UN committee for sanctions," Davydov told Interfax.

Marjanovic said that the sides agreed to set up a gas pipeline, with Belgrade setting aside $350 million for the project.

The former Yugoslavia received about 2.5 billion cubic meters of Russian gas a year before UN sanctions, according to Interfax.