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Vucic hopes to maintain friendly relations with Russia

31.05.2017 18:02

Serbia will always maintain friendly relations with Russia despite the external pressure, the country’s new president, Aleksandar Vucic, said after taking the oath of office during a ceremony on Wednesday.

"We plan to further keep traditional friendly relations with Russia despite all the pressure on us. Over the past years, we have managed to achieve a lot in relations both with the Russian people and its leaders", Vucic said.

Belgrade is unwilling to join any military pacts and alliances as the country is determined to pursue the policy of military neutrality:

"We don’t want to join any military pacts and alliances, we want to have our own army and be strong enough to protect ourselves", Vucic reiterated. "We will pursue the policy of military neutrality while maintaining relations with our partners", he added drawing applause from the audience.

A day before entering office, Vucic said that Serbia had no plans to join NATO.

"I have attended the NATO summit and told everyone that we had no intentions (to join NATO)", Vucic said. "We seek to remain militarily neutral and refrain from joining military blocs", he added. According to the Serbian prime minister, this was the reason why the country was investing in its security. The Serbian army and police have received new uniforms, nine new helicopters have been delivered to the country, while Russian MiG aircraft are expected to arrive within 60 days, Vucic said. At the same time, he emphasized the importance of the "European way" for Serbia.

Vucic said earlier that if Serbia joined NATO, it would solve many issues but it would also create a rift in society that would last for decades, as 75% of the country’s population did not support NATO membership.