A senior Serbian Defense Ministry official confirmed to Belgrade daily Blic that the drafts of two strategic defense and security documents which parliament is due to adopt soon clearly define national and defense interests for the first time.
“This is the first time that national and defense interests have been formulated clearly,” assistant Defense Minister Milan Rankovic told the daily, commenting the Strategies on National Security and on Defense which the government adopted at an August 8 cabinet meeting.
According to Blic, the Strategies of National Security and of Defense state that Serbia will remain militarily neutral, that it will strengthen cooperation with Organization for Collective Security which includes Russia and several former Soviet republics and add that improving cooperation with NATO is in the interest of both sides. The newspaper said that the four top priorities set out in the strategies are efficient defense, keeping Kosovo as part of Serbia, strengthening the country’s international position and preventing separatist activities.
“There is a need to introduce new things, amend and upgrade the existing strategies and in that context the national and defense interests have been formulated clearly for the first time as the lasting need of Serbia and its citizens. Their implementation protects national values which are also defined in those documents and are based on the constitution, universal values and historic heritage,” Rankovic said.
Rankovic said the strategies are based on key state interests. “A number of things affected the drafting of the strategies, especially the efforts of the state leadership to strengthen the position of the state in resolving the complex situation in Kosovo, efforts aimed at economic development efforts and overall prosperity, as well as efforts invested in the negotiations on accession to the European Union,” he said.
Blic said the two documents have been sent to parliament and could be adopted in October. The government adopted them with the explanation that they keep up with changes in the region and adapt the country’s security policy to protect national interests in the best possible way. The existing strategies were adopted in 2009.