Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chepurin: Russia satisfied about Serbia’s not joining NATO

11/21/2013 1:04:00 PM

BELGRADE – Russia believes there is no reason whatsoever for Serbia to join NATO and it is very pleased about it, Russian Ambasador to Serbia Alexander Chepurin has said. Serbia’s leadership has told us they are not joining NATO and have no intentions to do so in the future, Chepurin said in an interview he has given Belgrade-based weekly NIN.

 If you ask me if that makes the Russians satisfied – the answer is yes, he added. He also said that the topic was discussed during a recent visit to Belgrade by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Shoygu. Asked what Russia thinks of Serbia’s not wanting to become a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which was founded by Russia, Chepurin recalled the fact that Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia wants to remain a non-aligned country. Serbia does not plan to join NATO, and it also does not plan to join the CSTO, Chepurin said. It wants to remain neutral, he added.

 When it comes to Kosovo-Metohija (KiM), Chepurin said that Russia has not and will not recognize Kosovo as an independent state and it is in favor of any compromise solutions that are in Serbia’s interests. Russia is ready to support Serbia patiently and consistently, but it is wrong to think that Russia will deal with the issue on its own by some magic, Chepurin warns. Commenting on the local elections in KiM, he said that Russia finds it important that Serbs have a clearly drawn up and coordinated strategy and reiterated that Russia will never accept the independence of Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed by the ethnic Albanians. 

 As regards the status of the southern Serbian province, Chepurin said that the question is to be dealt with by the United nations, rather than by the European Union and officials in Brussels. He pointed out that the Albanian separatists in KiM would not be so strong in the negotiations with Belgrade if they were not getting support from abroad, adding that Russia knows that from its own experience. Chepurin said that Russia supports Serbia’s efforts to form the Community of Serb municipalities in KiM based on the results of the local elections, stressing that the Serbs will be able to better defend their interests and Serbia’s integrity in KiM if they are united. Photo S. Radovanovic, Tanjug (Archive)

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