"No need to give Russian Center diplomatic status"
The US embassy in Belgrade sees "no need to give diplomatic status" to the personnel of the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Centre (RSHC) in Nis, southern Serbia.Source: B92, Tanjug
"We can confirm that US embassy representatives visited the Nis Center on July 12 at the invitation of the Center’s management. The press release issued by the Center following that visit was not coordinated with the US embassy, not does it reflect US views," the embassy said in a statement sent to Tanjug.
In a statement for Radio Free Europe, the embassy said that the Center's persistent requests to be granted immunity for its staff and premises "causes suspicion" regarding long-term intentions concerning this facility.
The Center's statement said that assistant military attache Hyrum Garvin was the embassy representative who visited them, and that the guest was informed "about the history of the foundation, the structure and legal bases of the work of the RSHC, the Center's contribution to the prevention and management of the consequences of natural disasters in Serbia and the region, the provision of humanitarian assistance, the effectiveness of the Serbian emergency response system, including through the training of Serbian specialists in educational institutions EMERCOM of Russia and in the training grounds of the Center, and about the expense of modern fire and rescue equipment and equipment supplied to Serbia."
The representative of the US embassy was provided with "full answers to all questions that interested him, including the issue of the Russian-Serbian intergovernmental agreement on the conditions of stay, privileges and immunities of the RSHC," the statement added.
Garvin was given the opportunity to personally inspect the material and technical resources of the Center, the RSHC announced, noting that "of particular interest was its situational center, whose electronic equipment allows one to quickly obtain profile information on the climate and technogenic situation in the region and make further forecasts."
"In this respect, there were no comments from the American guest," said the statement.
"The first visit to the RSHC in three years of its work of a representative of the US Eebassy is further evidence of the full transparency of the Center's humanitarian activities in Serbia and the region as a whole. The American guest was also informed that in the near future the RSHC Humanitarian Demining unit will start cleaning the Serbian land, and the first batch of equipment and machinery will arrive from Russia to replenish the reserves of the Center and to develop a training base," it added.
The Center also announced that representatives of Austrian, Swiss and Polish embassies would also visit shortly.
In the past, US officials repeatedly voiced their concern about the Center, and doubt about Russia's "good intentions."
In an interview for Tanjug, the Center's Russian director denied these accusations and spoke about the facility's activities.