MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. The West’s claims that the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in Nis poses a threat and is a ‘spy nest’ are simply ludicrous, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Serbia’s Beta news agency on Monday.
"If our colleagues from NATO still have doubts about whether this center is humanitarian and not a ‘spy nest’ as they call it, then I advise them to turn to those reports, which an aide to the US military attach· in Serbia was to write after visiting the center in Nis. He was invited there and inspected everything that was of interest for him," Lavrov said.
"I’m convinced that it is simply ludicrous to pretend to show that this center poses some thereat for anyone whoever," Russia’s top diplomat said.
Four Russian citizens are working in the center while the other employees are Serbs "who are also few: to my mind, 12-15 people."
As Russia’s top diplomat pointed out, the center in Nis "is dealing solely with the problems related to eliminating the consequences of natural disasters."
"Apart from Serbia, assistance was rendered to Macedonia, Slovenia, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina. So, the international nature of the activity of this center has been sealed not only on paper but is implemented in practice," Russia’s foreign minister said.
The Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in Nis was established pursuant to an agreement signed between the governments of Russia and Serbia on April 25, 2012. A cooperation agreement signed by the governments of both countries on October 20, 2009 in the sphere of emergency humanitarian response and the prevention of natural and man-made disasters and the elimination of their consequences served as the legal basis for the Center’s establishment.
The Centre is an inter-governmental humanitarian non-profit organization exercising the rights of a legal entity and was registered in Serbia in compliance with the effective legislation. The Center has been set up to provide humanitarian response to emergency situations in Serbia and other Balkan countries. It is responsible for measures to prevent and eliminate emergency situations and provide emergency humanitarian assistance to people who have suffered from emergency situations. The Center is also responsible for implementing joint projects and programs on the territory of Serbia and other Balkan countries, including humanitarian mine clearance.