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Serbia unlikely to support anti-Russian sanctions — president

June 16, 2017, 2:05 UTC+3 BELGRADE

In his speech, intended to outline the domestic and foreign policy priorities of his tenure, the president named relations with Russia among priorities

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BELGRADE, June 16. /TASS/. Serbia values its independent position and is not planning to support Western sanctions against Russia, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in a televised address to the nation on Thursday night.

"No doubt that we will preserve our position of an independent state, this is pivotal for us. We are not going to join NATO or any other such organization," he said in a speech that followed his nomination of the country’s future prime minister. "I’m sure that the government of Serbia will not impose sanctions against Russia. This was the position of the government that I used to head, and this is the policy that I would stick to as a president."

In his speech, intended to outline the domestic and foreign policy priorities of his tenure, the president tasked Brnabic and her government with strengthening Serbia’s position "on the international arena, both in the West and East," naming relations with Russia among his priorities.

On Thursday, the Serbian leader officially designated Ana Brnabic, the country’s former minister of state administration and local self-government, to head the Balkan state’s new cabinet of ministers. Her government still requires a formal approval from the parliament, which is expected to take place during the legislature’s next session.

The deadline for forming the government is June 22, because all ministers will need to be present at Vucic’s formal inauguration ceremony due next day.

Brnabic was born in 1975 in Belgrade. She holds an MBA in marketing from the University of Hull in England and is known for her staunch pro-Western views. For more than a decade, Brnabic worked with international organizations, foreign investors, and consulting companies.

She is the country’s first female and first openly gay minister. If her nomination is approved, she will become the world’s fifth ever openly gay head of government and the second openly gay woman to be a head of government in the world.

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