Serbia's Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Friday that Kyrgyzstan was interested in cooperating with the Serbian-Russian humanitarian Centre, an NGO which in 2016, the US administration claimed served as "a special centre for espionage or other nefarious activities."
The Interior Ministry statement said Vulin met Minister of Emergency Situations Boobek Ajikeev on Kyrgyzstan’s initiative due to its interest in the Centre.
It added Ajikeev thanked Vulin for the chance to get familiar with Centre’s work since „we have heard it is the best in assisting in emergencies and rescue services not only in Serbia but the entire region.“
The Centre has already triggered controversy over the possibility of receiving the diplomatic status in Serbia what the West saw as the legalisation of Moscow’s spying activities in Serbia and the Balkans, as suspected by the US in 2016.
Belgrade reiterates its commitment to the European Union full membership. Still, its links to Russia, China and other countries which do not enjoy Western support or trust makes it difficult for Serbia to adjust its foreign policy with the EU, which is a key condition if it wants to join the bloc.
In 2019, President Aleksandar Vucic said that if the Centre allowed the diplomatic status, the EU would criticise him, while if he didn’t grant it, the pro-Russians would react.
However, he said he was taking care of Serbia’s interests and that the public would be notified when the Centre’s status was decided on.
„The state has its serious policy and doesn’t follow what someone likes or not, but only its interests,“ Vucic said in 2019.
There was no new information on the Centre’s status.
According to its website, „the Serbian-Russian Humanitarian Centre (Centre) is an „intergovernmental humanitarian non-profit organisation registered according to the Serbian laws. It is responsible for the entire Balkan Peninsula. It performs the following tasks: the prevention and elimination of emergencies, including firefighting and humanitarian assistance to people affected by emergencies—implementation of joint projects related to humanitarian demining, training in the field of prevention, and the elimination of emergencies and testing and demonstration of firefighting and rescue technologies.“
Vulin on Friday said his Ministry was open to improve bilateral cooperation with Kyrgyzstan to secure efficient management of the emergencies and reduce the risks of catastrophes.
He also thanked Ajikeev for his country’s refusal to recognise Kosovo’s independence.
Kyrgyzstan is a member of several organisations, including the Eurasian Economic Union and the United Nations. It is the second poorest country in Central