The policy pursued by NATO destabilizes the entire Balkan region, Serbian Ambassador to Russia Slavenko Terzic told Izvestia.
“NATO is not a guarantor of stability in the region. The last 30 years have shown that it backs some very dangerous projects, like, for example, Greater Albania, which destabilizes the entire Balkan region. Another example of this sort of behavior is support for radical Islamists, primarily in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia’s southern province of Kosovo and Metohija.”
The diplomat added that Belgrade had no plans to join any military alliances.
“The aftermath of the terrible [NATO] bombing raids is still fresh in our memories. Serbia is a neutral country militarily and does not want to join any military bloc, including NATO,” the ambassador stressed, adding that peaceful co-existence of various cultures and traditions, dialogue and mutual understanding should be an alternative to militarization in Europe.
NATO’s policy in the Balkans is aimed at preventing rapprochement between Russia and regional countries, said Aleksandar Seselj, a lawmaker from the Serbian Radical Party. Besides, the West is interested in breaking historically close ties between Moscow and Belgrade, he told Izvestia. “Western countries have undertaken vigorous efforts to integrate Bosnia and Herzegovina into NATO. If you look at the map, you will see that Serbia will soon be fully surrounded by the military alliance,” he stressed.
According to Seselj, NATO’s expansion and the emergence of new dividing lines create an explosive situation in the Balkans and postpone the resolution of the Kosovo issue, the primary factor of instability in the region.
“If the Kosovo Albanians decide to deploy their armed forces to the north of the region, which has a predominantly Serbian population, Belgrade will have to send its troops to protect its fellow countrymen. That scenario could mean the start of a war,” Oleg Bondarenko, Director of the Progressive Politics Foundation and an expert on the Balkans, told the paper.
If NATO forces intervene in a potential conflict, a complete destabilization of the region cannot be ruled out, he warned. According to the expert, the demarcation of territories between Belgrade and Pristina could prevent that, but it will be rather difficult to do that due to the lack of will on the part of Kosovo.