Minister Vulin: By suspending military exercises with partners in both the East and the West, Serbia has preserved its neutrality
Asked to comment on what will happen after the six-month period in which all military exercises with partners in both the East and the West will be suspended by the decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Minister of Defence Aleksandar Vulin said in the Morning Programme of Prva TV that he believes that Serbia managed to preserve its neutrality with this decision, and that the European Union showed itself in the worst possible light, and that it considers the policy of blackmail and pressure completely legitimate.
- We have preserved our neutrality this way, because we did not allow the Serbian Armed Forces to become a factor of blackmail. If we had withdrawn only from the exercise with Belarus, and carried on with, for example, the exercises with the United States and the Russian Federation, it would mean that Belarusians are "bad guys", that Belarus is something bad. Of course we would have violated our neutrality - Minister Vulin points out.
We have made a difficult decision, says Minister Vulin, and explains that such a decision is not difficult to defend, but the way it was made was very difficult, because it had to be made in order to defend our neutrality.
Asked what will happen once the six-month period is over, Minister Vulin said that his proposal would be to carry on with the exercises with foreign partners, because he believes that a military that does not exercise with other militaries lags behind and is at a great loss because it does not see how the world develops.
Minister Vulin said that the proposal he made a few days ago to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was for Serbian soldiers to withdraw from peacekeeping missions.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must give its opinion, and then it is passed on to the Government. I have proposed two options. One is to suspend all peacekeeping missions, and the other is to suspend only missions with the European Union. This remains to be assessed. At the moment, 276 of our members are in peacekeeping missions outside the borders of our country. The largest peacekeeping missions are in Lebanon and the Central African Republic, they are under the command of the United Nations, and we have others that are under the command of the European Union. I think that at least peacekeeping missions with the European Union should be suspended, because if they want to use our military as a means of blackmail towards our friendly countries, then there is no need for us to participate in their missions - said Minister Vulin.
- We will see what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will have to say, it is their sovereign right to decide and say how they see it, how it reflects on the position of our country. We will, of course, accept every decision of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and every order of the Supreme Commander of the Serbian Armed Forces, Aleksandar Vučić, that is our task, but my position is that peacekeeping missions with the European Union should be suspended. If they want to use our armed forces against Belarus or use us as a means of punishing someone, there is no need for us to be with them even in peacekeeping missions. They should find someone else - concluded Minister Vulin.