Abu Dhabi signs $1bn loan deal with Serbia

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Abu Dhabi announced on Thursday that it has signed an agreement with Serbia to provide the Balkan country a loan of $1 billion.

The agreement was signed after a visit by Aleksandar Vučić, First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, to the UAE, a statement said.

It added that the loan deal will contribute to "strengthening cooperation and relationship ties between the UAE and The Republic of Serbia, serving the interests of both countries as well as encouraging private and public sectors within the UAE to look for investment opportunities in Serbia".

Hamad Al Hurr Al Suwaidi, chairman of the Department of Finance, said: "The relations between the UAE and Serbia continue to grow in various sectors, whereby this agreement reflects the efforts of the two countries to further develop their mutual cooperation and bilateral relations."

Lazar Krstic, Serbian Finance Minister, added: "This agreement reflects the significance and growth of bilateral relations between the two countries.

"This loan will provide new opportunities for cooperation and will develop economic and trade relations. It will support the Serbian economy and will provide numerous investment opportunities for the two sides. It will also support the goals of joint projects between the two countries."

Last year, Etihad Airways, the national air carrier of the UAE, acquired 49 percent of Serbian airline JAT Airways, which was rebranded Air Serbia.

Serbia has also signed MoUs with a number of UAE- based companies, including Mubadala semiconductors, renewable energy, telecoms and aerospace manufacturingfor the purpose of potential production of semiconductors and aircraft components.

The statement said Serbia offers investment opportunities in areas such as technology, agriculture and organic farming as well as real estate construction.

In 2013, both the UAE and Serbia opened embassies in their respective capitals.

In October, Belgrade launched measures to trim a budget deficit estimated by the International Monetary Fund at above 7 percent of output and debt forecast to reach about 65 percent of GDP next year.

To finance debt in 2014 and 2015 and invest in infrastructure and industry, the country will need additional borrowing, including a new Eurobond and loans from sovereign lenders including the UAE, China and Russia.

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