“U.S., Serbian relations excel in military sector”

Deputy Defense Minister Dušan Spasojević was in Washington recently as part of a Serbian military delegation.

Spasojević told the Voice of America afterwards that it is very important for Belgrade and Priština to lead truthful discussions regarding the future status of Kosovo, and called on the government in Washington to encourage both sides to sincerely negotiate.

“The greatest challenge for stability in the region is the unsolved status of Kosovo, and we have warned during our talks in Washington that the final solution must not be predetermined,” Spasojević said.

Speaking about the military cooperation between Serbia and the United States, Spasojević said that it is the best part of the bilateral relations between the two countries.

He said that some 40 American officers have visited Serbia and that the exchange program was well covered by the media and Serbian public.

“We wish to increase cooperation and we want to have as many of our officers as possible trained in America, because we think that this is useful for Serbia and the US,” Spasojević said.

Asked whether Serbia plans to participate in peacekeeping missions around the world, he reminded of the country’s tradition and participation in peacekeeping operations during the 1980s in Iraq and Iran.

“We want to participate as peacekeers. Serbia needs to be with its partners around the world and has looked at the possibility of participating in several peacekeeping missions under the UN jurisdiction,” Spasojević said.

Asked what Serbia stands to gain from participating in the NATO Partnership for Peace program, Spasojević said that the whole country will benefit.

“We stated in what programs we wanted to participate in, and those are the democratic control of armed forces and defense financing,” Spasojević said.

He said that Serbia has recently had problems combating fires and that cooperation in emergency situations is an important part of the Partnership for Peace program.

Also today, it was announced that the Serbian parliament’s standing delegation at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will participate at the 53rd annual session of this body in Reykjavik on October 5-9.

The delegation, headed by Marko Đurišić, will take part in the capacity of an associated member to the assembly.

The Committee for the Civilian Aspect of Security is to propose to the assembly a draft special report on Kosovo and future of security in the Balkans, Tanjug news agency reported.
Source: B92

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