2 December 2020 Participants of the Meeting

2 December 2020 Participants of the Meeting

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

NATO-Serbia Cooperation Important for Both Sides, as well as EU and Region - Conclusion of Meeting between Foreign Affairs Committee and Ambassador of the Netherlands

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Prof. Dr Zarko Obradovic, Deputy Chairperson Vesna Markovic and Committee members Dragan Sormaz and Dusica Stojkovic, met with the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Serbia Gilles Beschoor Plug and the Defence Attaché of the Norwegian Embassy Egil Daltveit.

The topic of the meeting was the relationship between NATO and Serbia. The officials agreed that the cooperation has so far been successful, but there is room for its improvement. Committee Chairman Prof. Dr Zarko Obradovic pointed out that Serbia and NATO have a history that cannot and must not be ignored or forgotten, which conditioned the negative attitude towards NATO in the country, but there should be cooperation between Serbia and NATO.

As an example of good cooperation, Obradovic cited the results of the NATO mission in Kosovo-Metohija: “In Pristina, Serbia does not have partners who adhere to agreements, Resolution 1244 is not respected and if we did not have cooperation with NATO, the situation for non-Albanians on the territory of Kosovo-Metohija would be much more difficult," Obradovic believes.

The Ambassador of the Netherlands to Serbia Gilles Beschoor Plug emphasized that Serbia is among the leading partners in the number of projects, both military and civilian. He pointed out that NATO respects the country’s military neutrality and it is commendable that this does not mean isolation, but balanced cooperation with all international partners. In that light, Plug emphasized the importance of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre hoping that NATO and Serbia would develop cooperation in that segment as well.

Committee member Vesna Markovic said out that EU accession remains Serbia's strategic and cooperation with NATO is extremely important that in that sense. She stressed that the European Union cannot be stable and secure, if our region is not stable and secure. That is why she emphasized the importance of continuing the cooperation between NATO and the National Assembly through training programmes for new MPs.

Committee member Dusica Stojkovic also believes that it is important to continue with the training programmes for new, especially "young" MPs. She emphasized that each MP is an important mediator who conveys messages, especially in their local communities, which can also contribute to changing the public’s negative attitude towards NATO. She stressed that cooperation with NATO is of exceptional importance for the stability of the region.

Committee member Dragan Sormaz believes that cooperation with NATO and its members is not visible enough in the public, emphasizing the illogical the fact that Serbia has four or five times more activities with the United States than with Russia, China, the CSTO and all other countries combined. He believes that the reason for that lies in the fact that it is more acceptable for the citizens to support cooperation with the United States than with NATO.

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