FM: Serbia can't protect its interests without Russia

Russia on Wednesday urged the US and the EU to understand their responsibility for implementing UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to Kosovo.

Source: Beta, Tanjug

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this in Moscow after his meeting with Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic, adding that the West also needs to force Pristina leaders to stop with provocations and confrontational policy aimed against Belgrade.

He stressed that Russia will not allow the Security Council to change the mandate of the United Nations in Kosovo. "It seems to us that the West is trying to force the UN Secretariat to push through some proposals that would undermine the mandate of the UN Mission in Kosovo, which would be a direct violation of (UNSC) Resolution 1244, and we will do everything in our power to prevent this provocative plan from being implemented," Lavrov stressed.

Lavrov also announced that Russia will continue efforts to develop coordination of foreign policy with Serbia. "We are continuing intensive dialogue and contacts at the highest level, the tone for which was particularly set by the visit of President Vladimir Putin to Belgrade in January," Lavrov said.

He recalled that Putin spoke with officials in Belgrade at the time about the implementation of previous agreements, and that new forms of cooperation in the field of economy, foreign policy and inter-parliamentary exchange had been agreed.

Lavrov reiterated today that Moscow insists on implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which means direct dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and respect of the territorial integrity of Serbia.

"In this context, we will contribute to finding solutions in every possible way. And what concrete solution can Russia support? I point out that, acting on Vladimir Putin's statements, at the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we have repeatedly emphasized that we will accept any solution that suits Serbia. And that's that," Lavrov said during a joint press conference with Dacic.

Dacic confirmed that Vladimir Putin and Aleksandar Vucic would meet in Beijing on April 26, ahead of a meeting in Berlin at the initiative of Germany and France on the 29th.

"Serbia is not capable of protecting its state interests without the assistance of the Russian Federation," Dacic said.

According to him, the country cannot protect its interests without the assistance of friends, including Russia, that is the greatest friend them - and a (veto-wielding) member of the UN Security Council.

Dacic pointed out that Serbia would not make any moves, when it comes to a permanent solution for Kosovo, without consulting with Russia.

"They want us to stop lobbying for the withdrawal of Kosovo recognitions - in return for returning to the negotiating table," Dacic observed.

The head of Serbian diplomacy did not specifically respond to Beta agency's question about how he sees the prospects for a solution for Kosovo, and what Serbia expects from Russia in the current circumstances.

Speaking about Belgrade's foreign policy, Lavrov said that he respected Serbia's decision to be a military-neutral state, which, in his opinion, contributes to peace and stability in Europe, and that he appreciates Serbia's cooperation with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance led by Russia.

Lavrov also said that he expects continued pressure from the US administration on Belgrade to resolve the Kosovo problem, to achieve "as much as possible" before the next election.

Dacic and Lavrov on Wednesday signed an intergovernmental program of cooperation in the field of culture, education, science, sport and youth policy covering the next two years.


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