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Serbia is not going to impose sanctions on Russia — Serbian president

November 20, 2014, 19:06 UTC+3 BELGRADE
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic admitted that the EU membership Serbia is seeking implies an obligation to pursue a common foreign policy
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Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic

© AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

BELGRADE, November 20 /TASS/. Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said on Thursday that his country was not planning to impose sanctions on Russia at the moment, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic told journalists after meeting Johannes Hahn, the visiting EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Good-Neighbourly Relations, on Thursday.

Nikolic, however, admitted that the EU membership Serbia is seeking implies an obligation to pursue a common foreign policy.

“What I heard from Hahn is the same what you have heard from him: Serbia is not an EU member and it can be independent in pursuing its foreign policy; but EU membership would have implied a commitment to pursue a common foreign policy,” Nikolic told a news conference held jointly with Johannes Hahn.

“Today, in these hours and years, Serbia will definitely not impose sanctions on Russia,” Hahn emphasized.

Johannes Hahn said, in turn, that Serbia is free and that absolutely no pressure is being exerted on it to bring its policy fully in line with the EU foreign policy. He added, however, that the EU members expect Serbia to gradually bring its policy in line with the European one.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic earlier on Thursday said Serbia is not going to impose sanctions on Russia.

“The European Union is our strategic goal but we are not going to impose sanctions against Russia,” Vucic told journalists after meeting Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Good-Neighbourly Relations, in Belgrade on Thursday.

“I am going to tell you what I keep saying to everybody wherever I go: Moscow, Washington, Brussels, Belgrade or Kosovska Mitrovica. Everything I have said about Serbia’s policy, our path to the EU and our attitude to Russia I have also said to Vladimir Putin and Mr. Hahn,” Vucic stressed adding that Serbia is pursuing a policy in the interests of its citizens.

Earlier, European Commission for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said Serbia should bring its foreign polical position in line with the European stance by imposing anti-Russian economic sanctions.

Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Serbia in October. Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said at a news conference following talks with the Russian president that Serbia has never imposed and won’t ever impose sanctions against Russia. He also confirmed that Serbia was on its path towards the EU, and thanked Russia for respecting its decision and never exerting pressure.

In an interview with TASS First Deputy Director-General Mikhail Gusman ahead of Putin’s visit, the prime minister said, that nobody can order Serbia to ruin its relations with Russia.

“I am not concealing from our Russian partners that we are following the European course,” the prime minister said, noting that he has never felt pressure from the Russian leadership.

Vucic said most Serbian people have historical, cultural and religious ties with the Russian people. He said the developments in the south-east of Ukraine are a heavy experience for the Ukrainian and Russian peoples.

“Believe me that the Serbian people experience this together with all Slavic nations. We hope for peace,” he said.

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