Ron Johnson said that Belgrade must show that really leans in the direction of Western-type democracy
Senator Ron Johnson expressed hope that Serbia will not grant diplomatic status to the Russian employees of the organization, which, according to some, is an espionage base, although Moscow insists that it is about the center for assistance in case of natural disasters.
A Republican from Wisconsin who heads the Senate Committee on homeland security and governmental Affairs, said that such a move Serbia would not be in the interests of this Balkan country and would send a “very bad signal”.
Johnson made this statement in the Serbian capital Belgrade after talks with President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday.
Serbia seeks to join the EU after years of crisis caused by war in the Balkans in the 1990s, but also maintains close ties with Russia.
“I hope that Vucic and President of Serbia will resist any initiatives to grant immunity [to the employees of the Russian-Serbian humanitarian centre], said Johnson. – I think it will be a very bad signal. And certainly, this will not be in the best interests of the Serbian people from the point of view of the flows of Western capital to help build your economy”.
Moscow denies suggestions that the Russian-Serbian humanitarian center opened in Niš in 2011, the reality is a station to monitor Western interests in the Balkans, a region which Russia considers as a zone of its interests.
Partner is a center of EMERCOM of Russia.
Johnson said that in order for Serbia to benefit from economic integration with the West, “it is necessary to minimize the level of corruption and show that the country really leaning toward Western democracies and free-market capitalism, and oppose the aggression, which, unfortunately, is now showing Vladimir Putin”.
Us Senator said that instead of being “friendly rival” of the West after the Soviet collapse, Russia has become a “hostile enemy”.
“I think America is ready to ensure that Russia would become a friendly rival, but this decision depends on Vladimir Putin and Russia, – said Johnson. – I think that America, the West needs to respond with strength and determination to Vladimir Putin understood that we will speak out against it intimidation against his aggression, which is in nobody’s interests.”
The President of Serbia Vucic did not give specific promises about the granting of diplomatic status to the Russian employees of the Russian-Serbian center.
“We make decisions in sootvetstvii with our interests, he said. We are not subject to any aggression.”