"Serbia should say attack on neighbors is not good idea"

BELGRADE -- U.S. Ambassador Michael Kirby stated on Monday that he believes Serbia will act in keeping with its own interests in the matter of the crisis in Ukraine.

(Tanjug. file)
(Tanjug. file)

The diplomat also stated he believed Serbia "would say that an attack on neighbors is not a good idea, especially from the perspective of a small country."

Asked by Radio Beograd 1 whether the outgoing Serbian government is expected to state its view on the sanctions for Russia, Kirby said that it is up to the government itself to make the decision.

Commenting on the efforts made in the public for the country to maintain a strictly neutral policy, the U.S. ambassador said that Serbia must examine its own interests and noted that neutrality is sometimes misinterpreted as not taking any stand.

"If something constitutes an injustice, neutral sides can decide whether and what to voice as their stand and this does not have to bring them into a conflict with either side, but they do need to remain consistent in their viewpoint and consider the ways to make a contribution to the matter," he said.

When asked to what extent the 1999 "events" - when 19 countries of NATO led by the U.S. attacked Serbia - pose a burden on the Belgrade-Washington ties, Kirby said that the events from the year of 1999 happened and there is no way of changing it, but the U.S. wishes to maintain good relations with Serbia.

"It is up to Serbia to realize this and decide what kind of relations it wants to maintain with the U.S., Kirby said and added that he believes the entire scope of bilateral relations should be borne in mind, not just the events which occurred 15 years ago," Kirby said that "people should look to the future instead of remaining stuck in the past."