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Serbia to be guided by national interests in determining status of Russian aid mission

August 30, 2017, 7:31 UTC+3 BELGRADE

Serbia came under serious pressure from the West, which has been demanding that Serbia denied diplomatic immunity to the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in Nis

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BELGRADE, August 30. /TASS/. Serbia’s decision on whether to vest the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in Nis with the diplomatic status will be based on the country’s national interests, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a joint news conference with US senator Ron Johnson on Tuesday.

"We make our decisions in the interests of an independent and stable Serbia," the Politika newspaper quoted the Serbian leader as saying in response to the US senator’s remark that granting diplomatic immunity to Russian disaster relief workers would not be in the interests of the Serbian people.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic earlier said that his country came under serious pressure from the West, which has been demanding that Serbia denied diplomatic immunity to Russian rescuers in the country. At the same time, this status has been assigned to all Western military specialists working in Serbia.

In a televised address to the nation on June 15, Vucic said that his country would make decisions regarding the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center independently and was not interested in the US opinion on the issue.

The Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center was established under an agreement between the Russian and Serbian governments on April 25, 2012, signed in Nis by Russian Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov and then Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic. The legal basis for establishing the center was an agreement between the two countries’ governments on cooperation in humanitarian emergency response, prevention of natural disasters and man-made accidents and disaster aftermath clean-ups signed on October 20, 2009.

The center carries out humanitarian missions in the republic and other Balkan nations, including firefighting, humanitarian assistance and landmine removal.

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