Selaković: Serbia is standing firm on the position of respecting international law

16. May 2022.
Today at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, attended by foreign ministers from the Western Balkans, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selaković said that Serbia was consistently advocating the use of peaceful diplomatic means in resolving disputes and conflicts.

“We stand on this position, just as we stand firm on the position to respect one of the key principles of public international law and international relations, which is territorial integrity and political independence of internationally recognised UN member states, which Ukraine is”, Minister Selaković said after the meeting. He added that Serbia’s message and position had been very clear from the first days of the Russia―Ukraine conflict, and that any kind of armed solution to certain problems was not supported. “We have established and consolidated our position by voting in relevant international organisations, primarily at the UN General Assembly, and our credibility to act and speak from those positions is undisputed,” he argued.

Minister Selaković also drew attention to the energy situation in Serbia and its gas and oil supply, and pointed out that Serbia’s position was much different compared to all other countries represented at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.

Minister Selaković said that foreign ministers of the Western Balkans had the opportunity to present their positions on the Russia―Ukraine conflict at the meeting, and that some EU member states, such as Poland and the Baltic republics, had made it clear that Serbia was expected to harmonise with the common foreign and security policy of the EU, and impose sanctions on the Russian Federation. “The topic of that meeting was less about the Western Balkans, and more about the attitude towards the crisis in Eastern Europe and the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Each of us from the Western Balkans had the opportunity to state our positions, and to hear the attitude of EU members towards our views,” he said.

Minister Selaković emphasised that Serbia had received clear and unequivocal support from Hungary at the meeting, and conveyed that Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Péter Szijjártó had said that Serbia should not be expected to make such a difficult decision until the EU offered Serbia something that would be “at least equal to the damage that Serbia would suffer by resorting to such a decision”. 

“What should be offered to Serbia immediately is full EU membership”, said Minister Selaković. He added that Serbia’s EU membership was long overdue, referring to the views expressed by his Hungarian colleague.

Minister Selaković specified that Minister Szijjártó was a proven and good friend, and that he had sent a very clear and unambiguous message in which he drew a parallel between Serbia and Hungary, with the difference being that Hungary was a member of the EU. On behalf of the Government of Serbia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Selaković thanked Minister Szijjártó and the Government of Viktor Orbán for the constant, principled, clear, and very strong support to Serbia on its EU path.