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Serbia under West’s pressure regarding cultural center in Nis - minister

September 30, 10:17 UTC+3 BELGRADE

According to Dacic, the issue of granting a humanitarian status to RSHC is still due

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BELGRADE, September 30. /TASS/. Serbia is under huge pressure from the West regarding the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center (RSHC) in the City of Nis; the U.S. calls the idea of granting an official status to the center an "anti-American act," Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic told reporters late on Friday after a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

The minister’s view

"We experience huge pressure from the West regarding these two issues (the center’s existence in Serbia and granting the official status to it - TASS), thus we have to face this question very seriously. American announces openly it would be translated as an anti-American act. However, my position is this issue must be settled either way, we should either work on this or close the center," the Tanjug agency quoted the foreign minister as saying.

"We can see clearly the anti-Russian hysteria in the Western countries, and the existence of the Russian center is considered to be a proof Russia has a big influence on our region." "They call this influence harmful. I tell them, l we have a different impression that harmful has been the influence from others, from the other side, not from the East, at least, when we are speaking about the Serbian people," the minister said.

"I think, everyone in the world has heard about the humanitarian center, which consists of five

Serbs, four Russians and one dog. If it is a spy center, of which the West is so much afraid, then, I think, we have fallen so low. They ask, why a humanitarian center would need an official status, look at the Red Cross having the full diplomatic status unlike RSHC, which is about to be granted a status at the level of drivers or receptionists at the U.S. embassy," the Serbian foreign minister said.

According to him, the issue of granting a humanitarian status to RSHC is still due. Serbia will make the final decision based on its interests.

Official status

In an interview with TASS, the Center’s Co-Director Vyacheslav Vlasenko said without an official status the Center in Nis experiences certain inconveniences.

"What is a status? For the Center, it means certain privileges in the practical exploitation of the equipment, receiving it and so forth. For example, Russia supplied the MAN trucks to Serbia, having bought them at a certain price, and then re-sold them to the Serbian side with payment of required duties and taxes. If we had not paid those duties and taxes, we could have spent more on humanitarian purposes, could buy for the Serbian brothers not 18 but 20 trucks," he said.

Humanitarian Center’s mission

The Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center was established on the basis of the Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Serbia on April 25th 2012 in the City of Nis. This document was signed by Russian Minister of Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov and Serbian Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic. At the same time, the Agreement on approval of the Charter of the Center was also signed.

The legal basis for the formation of the Center was the Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Serbia on cooperation in the field of emergency humanitarian response, the prevention of natural disasters and technological accidents and the elimination of its consequences from October 20th 2009.

The Center is an intergovernmental humanitarian non-profit organization, which has a status of legal entity. It is registered in the Republic of Serbia in accordance with its legislation.

The Humanitarian Center implements joint projects and programs in the Republic of Serbia and other Balkan states, including projects and programs for humanitarian demining.

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