"Nobody has right to lecture Serbia on Ukraine"

Nobody has the right lecture Serbia, especially not those who "brought our own territorial integrity into question," said Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić.

Source: B92, RTS

When it comes to the position of Serbia "between East and West" after the crash of a Malaysian aircraft in eastern Ukraine and the deepening of the crisis, "there have been no new request to impose sanctions against Russia and to harmonize the foreign policy of Serbia with the European Union," he told the RTS.

His comments came after some media reported earlier in the week that the country had been given "an ultimatum" to this effect.

"Serbia will direct its foreign policy towards reconciliation, taking into account its national and state interests, as do other countries, it's only that their positions are different compared to Serbia. They harmonize their differences in the decision-making process, and Serbia is not part of the decision making process and that's why there have recently been rumors about whether we have or do not have to - we do not have great disputes with the EU over that, because we are a sovereign country that looks after its national and state interests, and our position is quite clear," he was quoted as saying.

Dačić then added that Serbia joined EU's decisions "in ten cases," while when it comes to four decisions relating to Ukraine, namely sanctions against Russia, it did not.

The minister also noted that "Serbia defends the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but cannot defend it more than it defended its own territorial integrity," and that in that instance Western countries "did not come out gloriously."

Dačić further noted that those who violated Serbia's territorial integrity cannot now lecture the country on this subject, and that "we also expected that all UN member countries would react regarding our territorial integrity." His remarks concern the province of Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians in 2008 unilaterally declared independence which Serbia rejected, but many Western countries recognized.

Dačić then added that it was in the Serbia's national interest to develop good relations with Russia, China and other countries. He said that Serbia strongly condemns the shooting down of the passenger plane over Ukraine and advocates for an independent investigation that will find the culprits for the death of 298 people, but added:

"We on the other hand as a friend of Russia also cannot support any move that is reprehensible. Regardless of whether somebody now suspects Russia with evidence, or without it, since mostly pro-Russian forces are suspected, Serbia is requesting an independent investigation and must not be dragged into the conflict, but will be a factor in conflict resolution next year as the chair of the OSCE," Dačić concluded.

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