Less than a year after taking office, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic paid a state visit to Israel earlier this week. The 61-year old statesman, who defeated incumbent Boris Tadic in May 2012, has been a key political figure and parliamentarian in the region for more than two decades.

A tall and impeccably courteous man, Nikolic spent much of his career as a senior leader of the Serbian Radical Party before resigning in 2008 and launching the Serbian Progressive Party. Since assuming power, he has unwaveringly guided Serbia toward joining the European Union and tackling the country’s moribund economy. Last month, he signed an agreement in Brussels that was brokered by the EU which aims to normalize relations with the breakaway region of Kosovo.

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