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Serbia doesn’t need foreign bases — Vucic

According to the Serbian leader, Serbia wants to avoid escalation of the conflict at all costs
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic
© AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

BRUSSELS, August 17. /TASS/. Serbia doesn’t see the need to host foreign military bases and will stick to this policy, Serbian President Alexandar Vucic said a news conference on Wednesday following talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"Serbia doesn’t need any foreign military bases. Serbia is a militarily neutral state that wishes to preserve peace, to ensure the security of its sky and its land, as well as of its people and population, on its own. That will be the case in the future," the president said.

Vucic also said that his country wants to further strengthen cooperation and relations with both the International Security Force in Kosovo (KFOR) and with NATO as a whole, as well as "avoid escalation of the conflict at all costs."

Some media outlets earlier reported that Serbia was allegedly considering hosting a Russian military base. The Russian ambassador to Serbia said it’s a sovereign affair of Serbia whether to host a foreign military base.

The president of Serbia and the prime minister of Kosovo, whose independence hasn’t been recognized, arrived at Brussels at the invitation of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. They are expected to meet with the EU Special Representative for the Western Balkans, Miroslav Lajcak, on August 18.

The situation in Kosovo and Metohija deteriorated dramatically on the evening of July 31 after Kosovo’s police had closed the checkpoint at the border with Serbia, intending to impose a ban on Serbian documents as of August 1. In response, Serbs in the north of Kosovo took to the streets and blocked key highways. Police and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), a NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, were pulled to the bridge across the Ibar River, which links Kosovska Mitrovica’s northern and southern parts. International efforts resulted in Pristina's decision to postpone the ban on the Serbian documents until September 1.