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International Information Centre for Balkan Studies



Russian daily: New govt. will show if Serbia changes foreign policy

September  11, 2020

Who will head ministries in Serbia's new government will show whether the country has changed its foreign policy, the Moscow Kommersant daily said on Friday, adding the main sign will be who will get the Energy Ministry.

The particular ministry is seen to be linked with a part of the Washington agreement which includes diversification of gas supplyand was seen as Serbia freeing itself from the dependence of the Russian energy only.

The daily recalls Serbia has cancelled the joint military exercise with Russia and Belarus,which has begun on Thursday. It says that happens amid a campaign led by local media and experts about Serbia turning to the West, mostly to the US, and that sources in Belgrade say the composition of a new cabinet will show if it's true.

Kommersant said the cancellation of the 'Slavic Brotherhood' military training was unexpected particularly since Serbia took part in it and organised it in 2016 and 2019 on its territory.

At the same time, the daily quoted the Belarus Defence Ministry as saying it had not received any official word from Belgrade.

The US respects Serbia’s military neutrality and its decision to suspend all activities in the military cooperation. Washington is looking forward to continuing activities with partners in Serbia when the situation allows, the Beta news agency was told at the US Belgarde embassy. On Thursday, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for Serbia Vladimir Bilcik MEP welcomed the government’s decision to suspend participation in joint military exercises with other countries.

 Alluding the cancellation was exclusively Belgrade's decision, the daily added that NATO said it did not plan any exercise in the next six months and that the European Union denied having anything to do with military training.

"However," Kommersant said, "President Aleksandar Vucic signed an agreement on the economic normalisation with Pristina in Washington at the end of last week. Formally, Belgrade and Pristina agreed to normalise economic relations, but that can have serious political consequences."

"The relations between Serbia and Russia are not as they were two or three years ago, and the Western partners remind Serbia's President that the time has come to fulfil his promises, above all the one about Kosovo," Kommersant said.

 In its second similar article in several days, the daily cited sources in the Russian state institutions as saying that Moscow had warned Vucic in June about "a stumbling block" in that agreement.

 Belgrade, however, said, its security services pass that information to the leadership.

"Belgrade did not inform Moscow about a number of points that were agreed."

"Moreover," Kommersant said, "in the last few days, a series of Serbia's pro-regime media outlets spread the campaign in favour of the country's turn toward the West, mainly the US."

It added that the immediate reason for the campaign was the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova's Facebook postabout the meeting between Vucic and the US President Donald Trump. She later apologised.

However, the daily added, although Moscow said the post was misunderstood, an anti-Russian campaign in Serbia increased.

"The relations between Serbia and Russia are not as they were two or three years ago, and the Western partners remind Serbia's President that the time has come to fulfil his promises, above all the one about Kosovo," Kommersant said.  

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a638771/Russian-daily-Composition-of-new-govt.-will-show-is-there-turn-in-Serbia-s-foreign-policy.html

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