"We would hurt ourselves by imposing sanctions on Russia"

(Beta, file)

"We would hurt ourselves by imposing sanctions on Russia"

BELGRADE -- If Serbia decided to join sanctions against Russia, it would end up harming its own interests, presidential foreign policy adviser Ivan Mrkić has said.

The issue of the country's stance toward the EU and Moscow "must not be be formulated as 'either-or'," the former foreign minister argued in an interview for the Belgrade-based Večernje Novosti, and added that there was "no insistence on us joining the western measures."

"I am decisively against sanctions on Russia. Not only for historical and numerous moral reasons, but also because of a rational economic calculation. What would be the effect of our sanctions against a country like Russia? It goes without saying that in economic terms, this could not harm Russia. It seems to me that with such sanctions we would effectively impose sanctions on ourselves," Mrkić noted.

Asked "which option has a bigger minus attached to it, comparing the consequences that would result from joining the sanctions and the negative effects of resistance to the demands of the EU, whose part we want to become," Mrkić said:

"I do not want to deal with the consequences of hypothetical 'fateful' "decisions. The issue of the stance toward the EU and Russia should not be formulated as 'either-or.' Therefore, we continue to cooperate with Russia and enhance the speed of negotiations with the EU on the membership to which we aspire, which we have chosen as a priority of our own free will. Our country was for a long time under unjust sanctions. The people suffered, not the political elite. Would it now be right for us to impose sanctions on others?"

The newspaper's reporter concluded that "Moscow has estimated...

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