Serbian Representatives 'Told Not to Vote' Against Russia
Serbian government and Parliament officials have been instructed not to back international moves against Russia, a recent report suggests.
The country's diplomats should "strictly follow the state policy towards the developments in Ukraine, explaining the specific position of Serbia and refraining from voting for documents and resolutions that would jeopardize... relations with Brussels and Moscow," Serbian daily Vecernje Novosti claims as cited by B92 radio.
It also argues that, despite EU pressure on Serbia to approve measures against Russia, a move which could be linked to progress in accession talks, the leadership in Belgrade is "determined not to deviate from the set course of neutrality".
Jadranka Joskimovic, a minister without portfolio responsible for EU integration activities, is quoted as saying she hopes member states "will be sensitive to the specific position of Serbia" and that the county's stance will therefore not affect its prospects for integration.
Serbia, which has close economic ties to Russia and has often positions favouring Moscow, has often underlined the importance of relations between the two countries and has not adopted a pro-European tone on the Ukraine crisis.
EU politicians, however, have not set out support for Kiev in the standoff with Moscow as a condition for Serbia's membership.
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