Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Promotion of cooperation with the USA

In continuation of the working visit to the United States, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Serbia Nebojsa Rodic met at the State Department with Brad Hartley, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the United States for Political-Military Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.

On this occasion, Minister Rodic has signed the Agreement on the promotion of cooperation and status of forces within the Partnership for Peace Programme ( so-called PfP SOFA), which was also attended by Gregory Kausner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State for Regional Security and Arms Transfers to the Bureau of Political- Military affairs. The act of signing was organized in the Treaty Room.

Prior to the signing of the Agreement, State Department officials stressed the importance of bilateral military cooperation for further enhancement of the overall relations between the two countries, underlining the leading and active role of the Republic of Serbia in the development of regional cooperation in the field of security. They reported that the United States Government highly values the contribution and commitment of the Republic of Serbia in the missions of maintaining peace and stability in the world and welcomed the announcement of further increase in such engagement.

During the meeting, Brad Hartley expressed satisfaction that the Republic of Serbia signed the Agreement which is one of the key elements for further improvement of cooperation within the Partnership for Peace programme and said that this kind of cooperation will contribute to the improvement of relations between the Republic of Serbia and the United States. He stressed that the United States Government highly values the constructive approach that the Government of the Republic of Serbia has taken in the process of stabilizing the dialogue with Pristina and said that the Government of the United States will continue to provide support in this segment, as well as in the process of accession of the Republic of Serbia into the European Union.

Minister Rodic conveyed his satisfaction with the completing of a lengthy procedure and the signing of the said Agreement and assessed that the work should have been finished much earlier having in mind the number of countries, including the Russian Federation, that signed the agreement ten years ago or earlier. In practical terms, the Agreement is important for the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces for participation in the Operational Capabilities Concept and PFP exercises. In addition, the Agreement will greatly facilitate the position and status of persons appointed to the Military Representation at the Mission of the Republic of Serbia in Brussels on Partnership Staff positions, as well as sending persons to education and the engagement of members of the Serbian Armed Forces in multinational operations.

Rodic said that the upcoming parliamentary elections will not affect the current strong, aggressive and unwavering approach to overall social reforms.

Speaking about the approach of the Ministry of Defence to the promotion of regional cooperation in the field of security, the Minister said that so far he had meetings with almost all the defence ministers in the region, during which many issues were raised and agreed areas of mutual interest. It is apparent that the entire region is burdened with the same problems that require far more active joint efforts and communication, as well as the help and support of the developed countries, in order to solve problems, primarily the economic ones. He stressed that only through further promotion of cooperation based on mutual trust and understanding, the situation in the region has good prospects to remain permanently stable.

As for the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, Rodic informed his interlocutors about the complexity and sensitivity of the political and security situation and the necessity of maintaining the current level of engagement of KFOR, as the key guarantor of stability and security for all citizens of Kosovo and Metohija.

It was particularly highlighted that the EU accession process for us primarily means the adoption of standards in the political, economic and legal areas, which will contribute to the development of our country.

At the end of the meeting, Defence Minister Nebojsa Rodic thanked the US Government for the current role and support in the process of defence reforms, primarily through the programmes of security assistance and education, and expressed expectations that the Government of the United States will continue in the coming period to support the integration processes of the Republic of Serbia.