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Jun 4 2021

Serbia and NATO - Partnership for the Future

BELGRADE, June 4 - Council for Strategic Policy organized the Conference dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the partnership between Serbia and NATO entitled "Serbia and NATO - Partnership for the Future", under the auspices of Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria, which serves as a NATO Contact Point Embassy in Serbia and NATO Military Liaison Office Belgrade.

Conference opening statements were given by the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Baiba Braže, and Serbian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Nemanja Starović.

For this occasion, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Baiba Braže, addressed the audience underlining the importance of Serbia for the stability of the region and  NATO's commitment to building a strong partnership with Serbia. She stated that Serbia is a valued, respected, and important partner for the Alliance.
Serbia is key to the stability of the Western Balkans, a region of unique importance to NATO
"In just a few months we will celebrate 15 years since Serbia joined the NATO Partnership for Peace program. These 15 years have been marked by many achievements. They have also demonstrated that partnership with NATO can bring real benefits to Serbia and its citizens, and the wider region. NATO is committed to building a strong partnership with Serbia. Serbia is a valued, respected, and important partner for the Alliance. Serbia is important to NATO, and NATO is important to Serbia" concluded Braze.
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Partnership has yielded many significant results, in many different domains. From civil emergency and preparedness to training Serbian forces for peacekeeping operations. To security sector reform, to scientific cooperation.

Partnership has been the most important tool in setting a new, positive, long-term relationship between NATO and Serbia: It has been a facilitator to the establishment of a trusted political dialogue.

Serbian State Secretary Starović expressed his confidence that this Conference and similar events in the future will provide opportunities for open and constructive discussion on many issues of interest to Serbia, the region and the wider environment as well as opportunity to shed additional light on the essence and scope of Serbia's partnership with NATO and potential for further improvement. 

After the opening remarks, the conference started, with Acting Assistant Foreign Minister for Security Policy Dijana Ivančić, Chief MLO Belgrade Brigadier General Tommaso Vitale and Bulgarian MFA's Director of the Security Policy Directorate Assya Davidova as panel participants.

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Chief NATO MLO Belgrade, Brigadier General Tommaso Vitale
Today, NATO and Serbia are close partners, fully respecting Serbia's military neutrality policy - said Chief NATO MLO Belgrade, Tommaso Vitale

"For the past 15 years, we developed our partnership steadily through hard work and dedication, working side by side and day by day on many projects, improving our relations even more, through a mutually beneficial cooperation. Today, I can say that NATO and Serbia are close partners, fully respecting Serbia's military neutrality policy. I personally think that we can do even more to increase public awareness about the excellent level of cooperation we have developed so far" - said Chief MLO Vitale.

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Mrs. Assya Davidova, Director of the Security Policy Directorate of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry, Tommaso VItale Chief MLO Belgrade, Mrs. Dijana Ivančić Acting Assistant Minister for Security Policy and moderator Antonela Riha at the Conference
Second panel was opened by KFOR Commander Major General Franco Federici and Atanas Zaprjanov, former Deputy Defense Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria. 

The panel focused on potential perspective of future relations between Serbia and NATO, in a discussion between members of Serbian parliament Zoran Dragišić, university professor Dragan Djukanović, as well as CfSP's President Dragan Šutanovac.

KFOR Commander, Major General Franco Federici, talked about the role of KFOR in providing a safe and secure environment in Kosovo as well as their interactions with the respective Serbian military and civilian authorities.

KFOR's cooperation and mutual activities with the Serbian Armed Forces are excellent at all the levels of responsibility, from my level down to the Units on the ground
Soon we will celebrate the 500th meeting between the Serbian Armed Forces and the KFOR Joint Implementation Commission and a symbolic ceremony will be held in mid-June in NIS in order to mark the event - said KFOR Commander underlining that NATO remains committed to the security and stability of Kosovo and in the Western Balkans.
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Serbian Chief of General Staff Mojsilovic with KFOR Commander Federici in Belgrade during COM KFOR's recent visit.

Story by NATO MLO Belgrade

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