Serbia willing to train to join Russia in demining in Syria

The Serbian Army want to take part in demining operations in Syria, including in Palmyra, but currently lack the capacities for this.

Source: B92, Tanjug

Defense Minister Zoran Djordjevic said this in Moscow on Tuesday.

Djordjevic said that "at this point, Serbia does not have the capacity or the properly trained staff," but that the country was willing to involve its personnel in a training program.

"Only after that, possibly at the end of 2018, they could take part in humanitarian mine clearance across the world, including Syria," the minister said.

Russia's TASS news agency reported earlier Djordjevic had confirmed the Serbian Army's readiness to participate in the operations after a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

"Serbia supports all Russia’s initiatives. We want to take part jointly in all international activities. Specifically, we discussed the Serbian armed forces’ involvement in demining Syria, including Palmyra," the report quoted him as saying.

Queried by Tanjug, the Serbian Ministry of Defense later clarified that Djordjevic, when asked by Russian journalists whether Shoigu and he discussed mine clearing in Syria, said the Serbian Army "had the good will, but currently lacked the capacity and the experience."

Djordjevic was in Moscow to discuss Serbia's participation at the 6th Moscow Conference on International Security with Shoigu, the Serbian government announced.

According to a statement, they "analyzed the current and future perspectives of bilateral military cooperation, noting that the relations in the field of defense are improving despite a complex environment" and "reached an agreement that Serbia and Russia carefully protect their relationship defined by the Declaration on Strategic Partnership."

In this context, Shoigu congratulated Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic on the election as president of Serbia, stressing that Vucic as the supreme commander of the Serbian Army "will be a guarantee for the preservation and improvement of quality of established relationships."

Djordjevic "reiterated that Serbia is committed to military neutrality, stressing that progress in the accession negotiations for full membership in the EU does not diminish the cooperation with the Russian Federation."

Russia's help in preserving the territorial integrity and sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija is of the utmost importance for us, especially in times of threats to our national interests, stressed the Serbian minister.


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