Russian lawmaker: We won't ask Serbia to choose
A Russian lawmaker and ruling United Russia party official in charge of international cooperation says Moscow will not ask Belgrade to choose.Source: Tanjug
According to Sergei Zheleznyak, Russia understands that Serbia is "in front of the EU - and it would be normal for these relations to continue to develop," but stressed that the EU should respect Serbia's national interests.
"Events are occurring in the EU that may significantly change the political map of Europe, political forces that support national interests of European countries are increasingly stronger. European integration cannot go against the interests of the people," said Zheleznyak.
When asked "whether Moscow will ask Belgrade to choose between the East and the West," he replied:
"Moscow does not require such decisions from anyone, not only from Serbia. We believe that we should develop cooperation with everyone, and we wish that this cooperation is developing on the basis of mutual benefit, because this is the basis of long-term cooperation."
"If the cooperation develops on mutually beneficial grounds, nobody will stand it the way of that, but when regulations and rules are imposed, nobody will stand it," noted Zheleznyak.
He reiterated that he supports the will of the Serbian people, but also of other peoples in the Balkans, in favor of neutrality, stating that the neutrality of Serbia and the Balkans is "probably the best way to preserve sovereignty and development."
"All decisions must be made based on the will of the people and we greatly appreciate the fact that Serbia listens to the voice of the people," said Zheleznyak, noting that today marks exactly nine years since the Serbian Assembly adopted a decision on neutrality.
He added that relations between Serbia and Russia, but also between other countries and organizations, must be built on the basis of respect for mutual interests.
"No self-respecting country will stand the will of others being imposed upon it. Supporting sovereignty and continued cooperation is the best way to maintain peace," said Zheleznyak.