Serbia "oriented towards EU despite ties with Russia"

Serbia is striving towards the EU and the country's "traditional friendly" relations with Russia have absolutely nothing to do with its strategic orientation.

Source: Beta

This is what Ivic Dacic, the Serbian minister of foreign affairs, told this to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during their meeting in Washington on Thursday.

"I pointed out to him the fact that we are going to the EU, but also that our traditional friendly relations with Russia have absolutely no connection with the strategic direction of our country, and that is that we want to be a member of the EU, and that this has not been put into question, nor is there any pressure on that from Russia," Dacic was quoted as saying in a statement of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Kerry said that he was aware that "the position of Serbia is very different from the positions of other countries" and that the U.S. will continue to cooperate with Serbia. He voiced his support for the policy of the government in Belgrade, its reforms, "and thus pointed out that the U.S. wants good relations with Serbia," said the statement.

It added that Dacic "made a firm guarantee that Serbia will be an objective and honest broker in the deescalation of the crises that exist in the OSCE area."

He expressed satisfaction over the fact that he "received assurances that the United States will provide full support to the Serbian presidency of the OSCE."

"Of course we all stress the great problems we are currently facing in the OSCE, especially when it comes to the crisis in Ukraine. Consequently, there are very big expectations of Serbia, but it is an opportunity for Serbia to highlight and underline its position in terms of its changed international position, as well as prove to be a serious partner in the political arena," Dacic said after the meeting.

"I pointed out and informed Kerry about all the activities of the government of Serbia, the European integration, economic reforms, and that Serbia is a very important factor for peace and stability in the region, and that we want partner relations with the United States," he Dacic quoted as saying by his ministry.

He also said he hoped that Kerry would visit Serbia during a session of the OSCE Ministerial Council to be held in Belgrade in December.

While in the United States, Dacic also attended a UN Security Council meetin in his role as OSCE chairperson, and held separate meetings with foreign ministers of China, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries, with whom he discussed bilateral relations.


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