President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday in Kazakhstan that Serbia is “building a new image and a new face” not only toward the West but also the East.

Vucic stressed he was “happy and proud, primarily because of the citizens of Serbia,” to attend opening of the Astana Expo 2017, along with world leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian PM Narendra Modi, prime ministers of Luxembourg and Pakistan, and other heads of state or government.

“I will have the opportunity to be in their company at dinner. Kazakhstan is one of a few countries that can bring all these people, and all of them have been brought by President Nursultan Nazarbayev,” said Vucic.

“I think that Serbia is building a new image and a new face toward the world, not only the West, but also her in the East. I believe that our country, which has just over seven million people, which is territorially very small, especially compared with Kazakhstan – that is the 9th biggest in the world – managed to occupy a very high position due to our policy of preserving independence and sovereignty and independent decision-making in foreign policy action and address,” he underlined.

Vucic said that he was “proud of citizens and grateful that they wanted to build such a policy and have it represented in that way.”

He said he was certain that either Kazakhstan’s president or prime minister would attend his inauguration, “who will in that way show a great honor and respect toward our country.”

While in Astana, Vucic met with Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, when they discussed cooperation between the two countries, highlighting the significance of cooperation in the economy, defense industry and technology.

“In some areas we are also closer to concrete cooperation. For the first time, we also saw interest from your companies in our chemical complex, but there is still work for us to do on development of tourism, especially spa tourism,” Vucic said.

Vucic also presented a copy of Miroslav’s Gospel to the Library of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The original of the gospel in question was produced in the 12th century, in the Serb state (principality) of Raska.

Vucic is President Nazarbayev’s special guest for the opening of the Astana Expo 2017, scheduled for late Friday.