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Serbia mulls talks with China on revamp of railways south of Belgrade

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Serbia’s infrastructure minister Zorana Mihajlovic said on Monday the government intends to start talks with China on the overhaul of railway lines south of Belgrade as part of China’s plans to modernise a connection to Greece’s Piraeus port.

Serbia plans to launch negotiations with China on the modernisation of a railway linking the Hungarian capital Budapest to Piraeus via Belgrade at a meeting between representatives of China and 16 central and eastern European countries in Budapest in November, Mihajlovic said in a statement issued by the ministry.

The government plans to start in November the overhaul of the railway section from Belgrade to the border with Hungary in the north, but for Serbia it is important to have information about China’s plans for the entire track, including railways south of Belgrade, Mihajlovic said after a meeting with China’s ambassador to Serbia, Li Manchang, according to the statement.

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The Serbian government is already in talks with China on the signing of a contract for the overhaul of the Novi Sad-Subotica railway line, and is also negotiating the construction of the Preljina-Pozega and Pozega-Boljare stretches of a motorway which will connect Belgrade to the border with Montenegro, Mihajlovic noted.

In May, Mihajlovic said the works on a project for the overhaul of the Belgrade-Budapest railway line would start in November with the modernisation of the Stara Pazova-Belgrade section.

Serbia’s infrastructure ministry said on Tuesday it had signed a loan agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China worth $297.6 million (264.5 million euro) for the overhaul of the Stara Pazova-Belgrade section of the railway connecting Serbia’s capital to Budapest.

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