President says Serbia is torn between East and West

Serbia has "the East in its heart," President Tomislav Nikolic said on Monday, adding that the country at the same time "wants to live like the West."

Source: Beta
(Beta, file)
(Beta, file)

That is why it "cannot choose," Nikolic stated during his meeting with Pakistan's ambassador in Belgrade, Arif Mahmood, describing Serbia as being "on the crossroads of the East and the West."

"We have the East in our heart, but we want to live like the West. We cannot do that, and the reason is our past and what makes us who we are. We simply cannot choose and therefore we are friends with both," Nikolic said.

As for relations between Serbia and Pakistan, the president said he was pleased with the progress made in the cooperation, "notably in the defense industry area."

“Serbia cultivates a sincere friendship toward Pakistan, despite the fact that we do not have the same position on certain issues. Pakistan recognized the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo and Metohija, and we know how this recognition come about,” Nikolic remarked, adding that despite the country's efforts to cut spending, Serbia should "reconsider opening its embassy in Islamabad."

A statement from the president's office quoted Mahmood as thanking Nikolic for the support and the friendly stance toward Pakistan and toward him personally.

"I traveled to the most remote villages in Serbia and had the opportunity to learn about the hospitality and the goodness of the Serb people. The refugee crisis has shown Serbia to be the most hospitable country on the migrant route" the diplomat said.

He added that Pakistan "supports Serbia's EU integration, as well as the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue."

"I see much more optimism in Serbia, both in the political and in the economic sense," Mahmood remarked.

Politics

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