The Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabić, stated today that the geopolitical situation is becoming more complicated every day, that the pressures towards Serbia are enormous and that Belgrade is not changing its position.
Brnabic pointed out for RTS that the position of our country is in accordance with the international legal order and national interests, and that “we are not changing our position.”
Answering the question whether Russia values Serbia’s position enough, the Prime Minister said that the answer to that question should be sought from the ambassador of the Russian Federation and people who can say what and how Moscow understands and looks at it.
– We are under pressure because we are the only country in Europe that has not imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation, we have additional pressure in the country from people who blame us for not imposing sanctions. What is created from within is completely unnecessary, stated Brnabić.
The Prime Minister said that Serbia’s position is in line with international law and the international legal order and in line with our national interests.
– Is it easy, isn’t it, do we fight every day to maintain it, yes, absolutely. I hope that (in Moscow) they understand our position and that at least our partners from the Russian Federation, but also the EU, the USA and others, hear us. We do not change our position. This is the only position in accordance with international law and it does not change in relation to a part of the world or an individual country or religious, national affiliation of people, but in accordance with international law, Brnabić pointed out.
She pointed out that this is the recognition and inviolability of the territorial integrity of internationally recognized states such as the Republic of Serbia.
– You cannot swear by the inviolability of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and at the same time say that basic principle of international law does not apply to Serbia. No. If you have broken that principle on the backs of our people and country, I do not know how to defend it in other places, the Prime Minister pointed out.
She stated that that is why the position of Serbia is specific. “Even if they have to hear us, we are the ones who paid the highest price for that violation of international law and principles,” the Prime Minister noted.
Brnabic said that a very important telephone conversation between the presidents of Serbia and Russia, Aleksandar Vucic and Vladimir Putin, was expected tomorrow, regarding the new gas arrangement.
– As President Vučić said, the three most important topics for that conversation are the quantities of gas, prices and security of supply. I can’t say if any of that is certain. Something is more certain at the moment and brings a certain kind of security, but the beginning of solving the riddle with several unknowns is a conversation with Hungarian partners and the fact that we have provided gas storage and that can be part of the solution, said the Prime Minister.
Answering the question about the speculation that a new arrangement could be signed every month, Brnabić said that much greater certainty would suit Serbia, but that the Russians are the ones who determine the conditions.
– I am sure that President Vučić will do his best to provide the best possible agreement for Serbia, just like the last time he met with Putin in November. See how significant that was. That was within six months when it was winter and the war in Ukraine started, the Prime Minister pointed out.
She also pointed out that the industry in Serbia had growth, which is why twice as much gas is consumed now as before.
– We want to provide such quantities that the industry can continue to develop. When you look at the first quarter of this year, our GDP grew by 4.3 percent, we additionally increased employment by three percent. All this means that we need even more energy to service the economy. And under one is to ensure enough that there are no restrictions on electricity and that people have heating, said the Prime Minister.
She pointed out that, no matter how complicated the situation, we do our best every day to be ready for the winter and that after tomorrow’s talks we have the whole summer to prepare for it, to provide additional money for it.
Asked whether American liquefied petroleum gas is a realistic alternative to Russian gas, Brnabic said that it was, and reminded that Serbia started working on the gas interconnection project in Greece in 2015.
According to her, the EU recognized that project as a priority and financed it with 50 percent.
– Unfortunately, due to incredible procedures, bureaucracy, that project started to be built on February 1, 2022, seven years later. It’s not that we haven’t thought about diversification, but the procedures are like that. That project is realistic, said Brnabić.
As she said, although Serbia wanted to complete the project by the end of the year, the construction, which started late anyway, was stopped again due to EU procedures.
– At the moment, we are looking at how to further diversify, and for the sake of the environment, we have switched many heating plants in local governments from coal to wood biomass, gas and we are looking at how to ensure complete security of supply, said the Prime Minister.
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