"US official's statements - worst pressure on Serbia yet"

Statements made by a deputy assistant US secretary of state are by far "the most difficult public and very undiplomatic pressure on our country to date."

Source: Beta, Tanjug
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

This was the reaction of Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin to remarks Hoyt Brian Yee made in Belgrade on Monday, where he participated in the 17th Serbian Economic Summit.

According to Vulin, Yee's statements represent "pressure on our right to decide independently."

"I do not know what the position and the response of President of Serbia (Aleksandar) Vucic will be, but I am sure that he will be able to deal with pressures as he has always done," Vulin said in a statement sent to Tanjug.

"But on my own behalf," the minister continued, "I can say that those are not statements coming from a friend and a man who respects Serbia, who respects our policy, who respects our right to decide."

"Serbia will make its decisions on its own, no matter how big those who think they can decide for us are," concluded Vulin.

"Pick a side"

Senior US State Department official Hoyt Brian Yee said earlier that his country "does not understand" why Russian humanitarian personnel in the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in Nis should receive diplomatic immunity.

He pointed out that this was "not a norm in the international community."

Further, in reference to recent announcements that several generals with war experience from Kosovo would be teaching at the Military Academy in Belgrade, Yee said that "for someone convicted of war crimes to be a lecturer at a military academy, it is not a good sign of a government's determination to punish war crimes."

"Whether they served the sentence or not, they are considered responsible," said he.

The US official also stated that countries that want EU membership "must clearly show this."

He said that these countries "cannot balance between two sides," and added that the US is "a partner to Serbia on its way to the Union."

"Countries that want to enter the EU have to show this decision clearly. You cannot sit on two chairs, especially if they are so far apart," Yee said.

According to him, these countries should choose one side, "no matter how hard it may be."


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