Russia is preparing to provide Serbia with a 172.5 million Euros ($195.4 million) credit, to be used for developing the latter's infrastructure projects, Russian media reported on Monday (July 1).
"In accordance with the agreements reached during Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belgrade on January 17, a new intergovernmental agreement is being prepared on granting Serbia a new export credit " RIA Novosti quoted the newly appointed Russian Ambassador to Serbia, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko as saying.
The diplomat added that a part of the amount of 172.5 million Euros will be directed to the development of the Balkan country's infrastructure, as well as the construction of a modern railway dispatch center.
On January 17, Russia and Serbia signed two railway deals. The first deal worth 230 million Euros was signed by Sergey Pavlov, the chairman of RZD International-a subsidiary of Russian Railways- and Miroljub Jevtić, the CEO of Serbia's state-owned railway infrastructure company Infrastruktura Zeleznice Srbije. It concerns construction of the two-track line between Stara Pazova and Novi Sad allowing a speed of 200 kilometres per hour.
The second deal is a memorandum for maintenance of the Serbian railway infrastructure by the Russian company. The document was signed by Oleg Belozyorov, CEO of Russian Railways and prof. Zorana Mihajlovic, Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure.
Last month, Mihajlovic visited works on the modernisation of Belgrade-Budapest railroad near Indjija, where RZD International is working, where the first 17 kilometers of the new railway line was set up for speeds of up to 200 km / h.
According to a statement on the Ministry's website, she expressed great satisfaction with the works of the Russian Railways on this section from Stara Pazova to Novi Sad, and stressed that it is important for Serbia to have modern roads and railways and that the best companies work on them.
RZD International has been participating in Serbian railway projects since March 2014. The Russian company has been carrying out the modernisation and reconstruction of a total of more than 200 kilometres of rail infrastructure in different regions, including Trans-European Transport Corridor X and the Belgrade-Bar line, which connects Serbia and Montenegro.
"Russian Railways has a rich experience in Serbia and in the Balkans, so, the projects are likely to be implemented rather dynamically," Botsan-Kharchenko also said.
Russian media reported last month that Moscow planned to extend a credit line to Belgrade next year in order to finance railway projects worth a total of 230 million euro.
The export credit from Russia will cover 70 percent of the cost of the projects, while the remainder 30 percent will be contributed by the Serbian government, Aleksandr Misharin, vice-president of RZD International, was quoted saying on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) held on 6-8 June.