MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Belgrade does not wish to become part of NATO and asks the military alliance, as well as Serbia’s other partners to respect the state’s neutral status, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin told Sputnik on Saturday.
“We, of course, have our communication with NATO through the Partnership for Peace — that is optimal level of cooperation for us and we are very satisfied with that. We always say to our NATO partners that we are militarily neutral and we do not have desire to become part of the NATO alliance, that’s our strong political resolution. As long as President of our state and Commander-in-Chief is Aleksandar Vucic and I am Minister in charge of military – we will not be part of NATO alliance or any other alliances,” Vulin said during his official visit to Moscow.
The minister added that Serbia would ensure meeting its army’s needs in the future, but its partners should respect the country’s neutrality as well.
“We have very close cooperation with the Russian Federation. You must understand – we are militarily neutral. That means we will make whatever is good and necessary for our army. We have cooperation through the Partnership for Peace with NATO, we have cooperation with ODKB [the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)] and, of course, we have a bilateral agreement about cooperation with army of the Russian Federation, with the army of the United States and other states that we are interested in. We will continue with that kind of politics and we will always closely monitor that our interests will be [met]. We expect of our partners — the Russian Federation, the United States, NATO, ODKB — that everyone respects our decision that we stay neutral,” Vulin stressed.
In June, Vucic said that the country’s military neutrality, declared in December 2007, would not hinder Belgrade from further developing cooperation with NATO within the framework of the Partnership for Peace.
Serbia’s Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO was launched in March 2015. In 2013, Serbia’s parliamentary delegation was granted observer status by CSTO.
© Sputnik/ Maksim Bogovid
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