But Kosovo, which seceded from Serbia in 2008, said on Tuesday it held out hope for a deal and for more talks, with Serbian hopes of starting European Union accession talks hanging in the balance.
The EU says it wants a deal in place before it considers this month whether to recommend the start of membership talks with Belgrade this year – a process that would help propel reform and unlock EU funds for the ailing Serbian economy.
Russia’s $500 million credit to Serbia, a 10-year loan carrying interest of 3.5 percent, was half the amount Belgrade was seeking to help restore growth this year after a recession in 2012 caused by a spillover of the eurozone crisis.
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters that Russia would disburse a $300 million tranche immediately to help plug Serbia’s budget deficit. In 2013, Belgrade faces a budget gap of about 3.6 percent of national output and needs about 4.8 billion euros ($6.2 billion) to finance debt seen at 65 percent of gross domestic product, higher than a 45 percent limit set by domestic fiscal rules.
Siluanov said Serbia would receive the second tranche of $200 million once it strikes a deal with the International Monetary Fund in talks next month on a precautionary loan after the lender suspended a 1 billion euro deal last year.
Orthodox, Slavic Ties
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Dacic on Wednesday, greeting him warmly with a hug and saying Russian-Serbian relations were “especially close”.
Moscow has the impression that Serbs “expect more from Russia than from Serbia itself”, he told Dacic at his residence outside Moscow. “This is wrong,” Medvedev said. “The process needs to be fostered by Serbia, not us.” Dacic said he wants Russian support to resume talks under the auspices of the United Nations over Kosovo, a province of 1.7 million people which broke away from Serbia in a 1998-99 war and declared independence with the backing of the West in 2008.
“Serbia can continue to aspire to join the European Union but never forget that Russia and the Russian people are our greatest friends,” Dacic said. “We are ready to continue talks [on Kosovo]. Now Serbia asks Russia to help bring these negotiations with the U.N. framework.”