"Someone's trying to cause damage to Serbia over RSHC"
The Russiam ambassador believes the reason for not solving the issue of the RSHC is "the desire of some forces to cause additional damage to Serbia".Source: Vecernje novosti, Tanjug
"By undermining this center, these forces are trying to show that there are other bosses of this country, rather than the Serbs. However, only Belgrade should make a sovereign decision here in any case," Aleksandr Chepurin in an interview for the daily Vecernje Novosti.
Chepurin said that he sees no reason why the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center (RSHC) cannot get official status after five years, and in line with the 2012 Russian-Serbian agreement.
"We consider external pressure or influence here to be inadmissible. The solution to the issue is ripe and overripe. After all, the signing of an agreement is not somebody's wish, but an obligation, based on the intergovernmental agreement," said the diplomat.
Asked if Moscow was preparing to shut down the Center in case the agreement is not signed, Chepurin said that Serbia is interested in the Center's work. "It was opened at your request. I believe that Serbia will find a way to solve this problem," he replied.
Speaking about the significance of the agreement, Chepurin said it was necessary in order to ensure the functioning of the Center, which has been unable to develop normally in recent years. Its weakening is neither in the interest of Serbia, nor of regional countries, he remarked.
Chepurin said that the requested status for the Center's staff, under the 2012 agreement, means they would have the same status as administrative and technical staff in an embassy. "This entails certain privileges, but they are not big. It's not about granting diplomatic status to the Russian staff of the RSHC, and this was never discussed," said Chepurin.
According to him, Russia does not want to set any deadlines and proceeds from believing that this issue will be resolved positively.
Asked whether President Aleksandar Vucic and the government can maintain their policy of balancing between the East and the West in the long term, Chepurin replied that Serbia should "sit on one - on the Serbian chair."
"Why would not your country be able to cooperate with both? We never say - do not cooperate with Germany or with anyone. And Serbia has no reason to break off with Russia, completely the opposite," said Chepurin.
Chepurin also said that the Russian MiGs would arrive in Serbia "sooner than is thought" and that most procedures have been implemented. When it comes to the S-300 missile system, Chepurin said this is "a very expensive tool," adding that it should be considered "what exactly Serbia needs."