Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin says he received confirmation from Israeli officials that their country would not recognize Kosovo.

Vulin, who is visiting Israel, added that he also received assurances the country would not vote in favor of Pristina’s bid to join UNESCO.

Beta is reporting that he commented on his visit to Tel Aviv, where he signed an agreement on cooperation between the two defense ministries with Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, to tell RTS that Belgrade wants to “expand its influence and create friends” in the Middle East.

“Israel has a population almost as large as that of Serbia and a much higher GDP. We have something to learn from them also when it comes to political neutrality, but also how to take care of a country through software security,” said Vulin, who also visited the company Cyberbit.

Vulin said that during his visit to Israel he spoke with Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos, who told him that Kosovo and Metohija is the Serbian Jerusalem, and “a territory that cannot be taken away from from Serbia.”

Earlier, the Serbian MoD quoted the minister as saying that the agreement inked by Vulin and Lieberman would “open the door wide to cooperation between our defense industries and ministries.”

“We are always on the same side in the fight for democracy and against terrorism. Serbia respects Israel, and Israel is showing that it respects Serbia. I thanked Israel for its support in the fight against the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo and Metohija,” he said.

“Lieberman expressed his thanks particularly for the way in which Serbia treats the memory of Jewish victims, the Holocaust, for the respect it shows to the Jewish victims and for the fact that the Serbian people were never anti-Semitic or on the side of Nazism,” Beta reported Vulin as saying, citing an MoD statement.

According to Vulin, Lieberman “respects the position of the Serbian government, which has also secured economic compensation for all Jewish victims.”

“The Serbian government has made certain that the Jewish community, regardless of how large or small it was, remains large in the historic memory of the Serbian people, protected and economically preserved,” the minister concluded.