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Russia’s foreign ministry: Serbia accession to NATO should not be linked to breach of its relations with Russia

Moscow calls on its partners in Brussels to behave adequately, and to avoid linking progress in the EU accession negotiations to breaking Serbia’s natural bonds with Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an article published by the Serbian journal «Horizons». The translation is available at the Russian foreign ministry website.  

Lavrov qualified the relations of Russia and Serbia as "a positive example of building productive, future-oriented relations”. “President Putin’s October 16th, 2014 visit to Belgrade was the occasion to reach new agreements,” he went on. “Once again, total coincidence or similarity the two countries’ approaches to the agenda under discussion was manifest. The profound and durable nature of the historical ties between the peoples of our two countries was reaffirmed by the official visit of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to Serbia, which took place a month later, on November 14th to 16th, 2014.”

“I would like to comment on increasing attempts to impose on Belgrade the false choice of opting for either the EU or Russia,” – the minister said. “We proceed from the fact that Serbia is a sovereign state pursuing an independent foreign policy, including in respect to the European integration.It is clear that there are numerous obstacles along the way to potential membership, from unresolved issues stemming from the Yugoslav conflict (which are being felt across Serbian society), to major and painful reforms being undertaken in various fields. Hence, these and other questions come to mind: to what extent can the European Union – growing weary of its own enlargement – take all these aspects into account, and to what extent can it show patience and tact? The Kosovo problem remains a serious challenge, since Priština’s patrons view Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo statehood as the “price of admission” to the EU. Belgrade should make independent decisions on all these aspects.”

The minister said that Russia has said candidly to its partners – in both Serbia and the EU – that Belgrade’s advancement towards European integration is not rejected on the premise that this must not undermine Russian-Serbian relations and our joint projects – all the more so since they constitute no threat to Brussels.

In this light, Lavrov called on the partners in Brussels “to behave adequately, and to avoid linking progress in the EU accession negotiations to breaking Serbia’s natural bonds with Russia.”

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