TBILISI, DFWatch – The election of a nationalist as president in Serbia has caused Tbilisi to respond with an appeal for cooperation and to shared cultural bonds.

The Serbian parliament may consider formal recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, after the nationalist Tomislav Nikolic won the election.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nino Kalandadze said Monday that Georgia hopes the issue can be clarified through bilateral talks so misunderstandings caused by Nikolic’s recent statements to Russian media will be resolved.

Nikolic takes a different line on the breakaway Georgian republics than his predecessor.

While pro-European Boris Tadic warned against the precedent which was set when Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, Nikolic in an interview with Voice of Russia on Saturday dismissed any similarities between Kosovo’s claim for independence and that of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Nikolic says Kosovo should be under the control of Belgrade, while the two separatist states deserve independence.

His statement coincided with an announcement by Vladimir Putin that Russia will grant Serbia a loan of USD 800 million for infrastructure projects. During his visit to Moscow and a meeting with the president of Russia he also expressed that uncompromising position on Kosovo will not be changed even if it hinders EU integration.

Nikolic was vice-premier in the government of Slobodan Milosevic, and has been one of the leaders of a radical nationalist party head of the which Vojislav Šešelj, who was put on trial in Hague. Now he is a leader of his own party and supports a more moderate nationalist stance.

Kalandadze appealed to the Georgian and Serbian people’s close relations, both through their Orthodox religion, similar history and cultural relations.

«Georgia like Serbians have chosen a European way, both seeking EU membership. It’s clear to everyone that the EU clearly recognizes Georgia’s territorial integrity and Georgia’s borders within international law frames. Accordingly, it is in Serbia’s national interest to follow international standards,» Kalandadze said according to Interpressnews.