After Eliot Engel, a Democrat and U.S. Representative for New York's 16th congressional district, sharply criticised NATO for its, as he said, soft and easeful attitude toward Serbia for buying Russian weapons, James Mackey, the Alliance's Director of Security Policy and Partnerships, said the country was an independent state and had own choices, N1 reported on Wednesday.
Engel warned a US Admiral James Foggo, the commander of Allied Joint Force Command Naples, that when he spoke about the successful cooperation with Serbia, he did not represent the US stands.
Serbia's purchase of Russian arms raised questions in Davos, during the Western Balkans panel. Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic said he told those asking the question that his country "bought only defensive weaponry... we want to be ready to protect our country." Due to the Chatham House rules, he could not go into the details discussed at the panel.
"Serbia must calculate all the expenses and benefits from every cooperation and every relationship, but it is an independent state and NATO cannot tell it who it should have relations with," Mackey said.
He later told N1 that NATO was satisfied with the individual partnership Serbia signed with the Alliance and that based on those agreements some joint exercises, and joint pans in emergencies.