"Serbia will not join NATO while Vucic is in power"
Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin says Serbia will not join NATO, while Aleksandar Vucic and this parliamentary majority are in chargeSource: Beta
For the next year, he announced the first military exercise with China.
"We are cooperating with the NATO Alliance, but we are also cooperating with the CSTO (the Collective Security Treaty Organization made by former USSR countries) that do not ask us to give up part of the territory", Vulin said at the Serbian Parliament.
"We will have a military exercise with China next year. We have never done that, and it is useful for us to learn how the Chinese are doing it, they are not a member of any military alliance and the question is why we have not had such an exercise so far", Vulin said.
He said that military neutrality is "expensive" but that there is no pressure to give it up because he added "you are not a free country if someone else is guarding the sky", Vulin said.
In a parliamentary debate on a set of military laws, Vulin said that the powers of the President of Serbia in the laws remained the same as before, in accordance with the constitution, but that these were powers in peace, and we haven't got a solution for war circumstances, so that should result from this strategy.
Explaining the concept of "total defense", Vulin said that it was incorporated into the Law in 2009 and that's all.
"An active army withstands the first coup and then who comes? Civilians must be involved. It's a concept of small countries that cannot finance a large standing army," the minister said, adding that about 200,000 people, the army and police members respectively, were in uniform back in 1999, and that there are not so many of them today.
MP Vojislav Vujic of United Serbia Party said that the last two years have been marked by a serious investment in weapons and that Serbia is now the most dominant in the Balkans.
He added that Serbia should not forget what NATO had done to Serbia, but that this does not mean that we should cease communication with them.
MP Nemanja Radojevic from the Party of Modern Serbia noted that when the topic is so important, the whole government should sit in the Parliament, including the President, who, he said, is given greater powers.
He added that it was not clear to the ordinary citizen what "total defence" means, but that they would understand it when they are summoned for an exercise or army.
Radojevic also asked what happened to the promised fight against corruption, given that armed aggression, drug addiction was mentioned as a danger.
Radojevic also said that civilian control of the security sector has been neglected in military laws, that the security strategy does not recognize either institution of Ombudsman, the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance, the State Auditor, or the Anti-Corruption Agency.