Serbia Won’t Exploit Russian Embargo, PM Says

Prime Minister Vucic said on Friday that Serbia would “respect the will of the European Union" when it comes to the Russian ban on EU food imports.

"EU membership is our main goal," he added, noting at the same time that Serbia intended to "maintain good relations with the Russian Federation".

The Friday press conference came after Vucic received a memo from Oskar Benedikt, deputy head of European Union Delegation to Serbia, asking Serbia not to make use of the embargo to expand exports to the Russian market.

Brussels has already warned EU candidate countries generally against exploiting the Russian embargo on EU food imports to their own advantage.

President Vladimir Putin announced a "full embargo" on food imports from the EU, the US and other Western countries on August 7 in response to sanctions imposed over the crisis in Ukraine.

Some voices in Serbia were quick to suggest that the country could profit from the ban on imports of food from the EU by increasing exports for Russia.

Serbia has since resisted Western pressure to impose sanctions on Russia and has adopted a neutral stance on the crisis in Ukraine.

Vucic again said that Serbia respects Ukraine’s integrity and has nothing to do with the conflict there.

But he also complained that while the EU demanded "solidarity" over the Russian embargo, no one had consulted Serbia about the sanctions imposed on Moscow.

“I didn’t understand the words 'solidarity with the EU' [in the EU memo]. Solidarity in what, when no one asked us when they imposed sanctions on Russia? Now both sides blame us,” Vucic remarked.

The Serbian leader also said that Serbia would not “stop our exports” to Russia entirely, adding that Serbia...

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