Belarus "offered S-300 to Serbia, Milošević turned it down"
Serbia "practically already lives in the EU, as it is surrounded by it, but it can build good relations with Russia and Belarus as well."Source: Politika, Tanjug
This is what Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who is due to arrive here on Wednesday for an official visit, told the Belgrade daily Politika.
"Serbia should find a path that will not disappoint neither East or West," he was quoted as saying.
Lukashenko added he hoped the EU realized that Serbia and Belarus have a long tradition of good relations and wish to work together, which includes economic cooperation, noting that trade between the two countries has quadrupled in the past four years and reached USD 200 million.
He added that for that reason, "there should be no problems there, if the EU is acting in good will."
The president added he "understands Serbia's fears and its desire to become a member of the EU," but added that the country should "move toward East more boldly." About Serbia's EU membership, he said, "it may even happen - but it will happen tomorrow, and people want to live better today."
Commenting on articles about him appearing in western media, he stated that he was "not offended" but rather "sad that such methods were being used to wage a veritable war against countries like Belarus."
The president also said he was not angry about a ban on entering the EU.
According to him, the world is dominated by large countries or alliances, such as the EU, Russia, the U.S., or China, who ensure their own interests at the detriment of "small, medium-sized, and weak" countries.
Such countries, Lukashenko continued, include Serbia, Belarus, or Ukraine, and are in "the sphere of influence" of the large ones.
"I usually tell them: are not those interests ours, in the first place?," he told the newspaper.
Lukashenko advised against "creating unnecessary problems," and said his country managed to maintain its stability "because the people are such that they did not allow hot heads to clash."
He confirmed that he had offered an S-300 anti-aircraft system and a number of aircraft to then Serbian and Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milošević in the 1990s, and that the delivery routes had also been worked out.
"We found some heroic pilots who were willing to attempt to fly to Serbia undetected, which was a very risky task," he noted.
According to Lukashenko, it did not happen because Milošević "did not believe NATO could carry out such an aggression - and later on it was too late, as the S-300 could not be transported because of the blockade."