Serbia won't join sanctions in coming "days, years"

President Tomislav Nikolić has said Serbia "will not impose sanctions on Russia at this moment," but that EU membership will mean "a common foreign policy."

Source: Beta, Tanjug

He was addressing a joint news conference in Belgrade on Thursday with visiting EU Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

"I heard from Hahn the same you did - that Serbia is not an EU member, that it is independent in conducting its foreign policy, but that EU membership would mean an obligation to conduct a common foreign policy," Nikolić said.

As he stressed, Serbia "today, these hours, these years, will certainly not impose sanctions on Russia."

Hahn emphasized that Serbia was "free" and that "for now there is no pressure" to completely align its foreign policy with that of the EU.

"EU member-states are carefully monitoring the events, but like I said for now there is no pressure on the country to completely align itself with the European foreign policy," Hahn said, and added that "the European family expects Serbia to gradually align with its policy, including its foreign policy."

Asked to comment on media reports that Germany is the only EU country that is blocking the opening of the first chapter in Serbia's EU membership talks, and whether Germany "can be persuade to change its position," Hahn said:

"Best form of persuasion is to implement what has been agreed so we can open chapters."

Earlier today, Hahn met with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, who said he insisted on discussing Russia, while the EU official "did not insist on that subject."

Kosovo

Speaking about Kosovo, Nikolić said that Serbia "won't be able to go much further" in negotiations with Priština if it continues to negotiate "as an independent state."

According to him, "Serbia would have to find itself a different president and a different prime minister who would be ready to talk to Priština as an independent state" and thus trample on the Constitution.

Everything is at the standstill in the talks, Nikolić said, "because it is unknown who will negotiate with Belgrade on behalf of the Kosovo authorities, and nothing is being done to form the Community of Serb Municipalities."

Negotiations would go easier "if the Kosovo authorities were more sincere," he remarked.

The president, however, added that when Priština is ready to talk, "Serbia will be at the agreed place and time."

Politics

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