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Amid criticism, the Serbian minister defends the agreement with Russia
Serbia's foreign minister on Sunday sought to defend the deal with Russia after the Balkan state seeking membership in the European Union faced criticism for signing it.
Nikola Selakovic signed the deal on Friday alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, where most Western delegations shunned Russia's top diplomat over the country's invasion of Ukraine.
Selakovic said at a press conference on Sunday that the agreement is "technical" and concerns bilateral ties, but not security issues, the Associated Press reports . Serbia has signed similar documents with Russia since 1996, Selakovic insisted.
"The government could have rejected such a plan, but there is nothing controversial about it," he added. "It's being criticized by those who haven't seen it."
The consultation plan covered by the agreement is expected to last for two years, Serbia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Serbia is officially a candidate for membership in the European Union, but the government maintains good relations with Russia.