"We're not close to Russia only - NATO ties are excellent"
We have excellent cooperation with NATO and we welcome that they understand our military neutrality, says Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.Source: Tanjug
Brnabic told the Belgrade Security Forum that she spoke with US Vice President Mike Pence in Podgorica and told him that "we understand that countries in the region want to join NATO, just as we expect those countries and NATO to understand our intention to stay neutral."
Nevertheless, she added, "we have excellent cooperation with NATO through IPAP and PfP programs, where we have many joint activities."
As she said, "we should talk about the facts, and that is that Serbia shows it is really neutral through activities, where, for example, in 2016, it participated in 16 multinational exercises, nine of them bilaterally with the US, two with Russia, two with regional countries."
This year, she added, there have been 13 military activities with NATO or its members, seven with the US, and two with Russia.
"These figures show that we are dedicated to all sides and that we are not close only to Russia, and that this is only a matter of perception, and not of the facts," Brnabic said at a panel dedicated to the contribution of the NATO-Serbia security partnerships to the Western Balkans, where her interlocutor was Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gottemoeller.
Serbia, the prime minister added, leads the region and is seventh in Europe in terms of participation in UN and EU peacekeeping missions, with 3,044 members of our military having participated - of which fact Brnabic said she was proud.