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"Integration of the Western Balkan countries into the global network security"

28. September 2010. | 06:51

Source: Emg.rs

The International Scientific Conference "Integration of the Western Balkan countries into the global network security" was opened today at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade.

The International Scientific Conference "Integration of the Western Balkan countries into the global network security" was opened today at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade.

At the beginning of the conference Minister of Defense Dragan Sutanovac addressed Numerous journalists, guests, researchers from countries and regions, and students at the beginning of a three-day conference as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Burs Vorlik, the Dean of Faculty of Political Science Professor Ilija Vujacic, Ivan Vejvoda, the Director of the Balkan Trust for Democracy, Professor Dragan R. Simic, the director of the Center American Studies Center at the Faculty of Political Science.

Minister Sutanovac occasion said that the Western Balkan region is pushing forwards in reforms and in the process of European integration, pointing out that we are aware of the security problems from the past still burdening political developments in the region and beyond such as the issue of the status of Kosovo and Metohija, then to attempts to impose monitoring over the peace agreement which ended the conflict in former Yugoslavia, ethnic and religiously motivated extremism.

In addition, the region is facing many security problems such as organized crime, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, human trafficking, solving issues of return of refugees, displaced and internally displaced persons, corruption, and inefficiency as well as the economic instability, high unemployment rate, unsatisfactory standard of living and lack of efficiency of state institutions - said the Minister of Defence.

But all these challenges, as Sutanovac said, also are an opportunity to strengthen the cooperation between the countries in the region. He added that the encouraging fact is that there is high awareness in the region that the security is indelible, yet characterized by interdependence. It is only through regional cooperation that we can achieve the well-being of individual countries and their citizens.

- A common feature of the Western Balkan countries, despite the fact that all participate in the Partnership for Peace, and that Croatia and Albania are members of NATO, is a clearly expressed political will and commitment to attain EU membership. Slowing the European integration is not in the interest of either the Western Balkan countries or the international community. This would lead to destabilization of the region and the exposure risk to re-become a "black hole" on the European continent-Sutanovac said the Minister.

The absence of a clear European perspective of countries in the region and the obligations arising for them, could lead to the conclusion that the fomenting of frozen conflicts and rekindling old aggression are all worth while. He stressed that Serbia is encouraged by the announcements that Serbia’s request for EU membership should be submitted to the European Commission in October.

Joining EU also means integrating the region in the global security network along with active participation in the activities and efforts of the wider international community to ensure peace and security - said Sutanovac.

The armed forces of all countries in the region, he recalled, to some extent already participate in multinational operations under UN, EU and NATO and Serbian Army is developing their skills for a larger contribution of Security in this regard. Sutanovac stressed that the defense strategy of Serbia expresses the willingness to contribute to peace and stability in the region, and strengthen good neighborly relations, resolve issues, all this through the mechanisms of joint security and defense policy of the EU, as well as through the Partnership for Peace Program.

Accordingly, we are negotiating on the Framework Security Agreement with the EU while getting ready to participate next year in the EU mission said Sutanovac.

As for the defense, as he stated, the process of regional cooperation is progressing very well and added that Serbia has signed agreements on cooperation in the defense with all the countries of the region except Albania, even though the signing of this agreement was initiated by MoD of Serbia could soon happen . Serbia is active in all regional defense initiatives, and this year we became a full member SEEDM.

- It is impossible to separate regional security from the global security in general. The Ministry of Defence actively cooperates with 56 countries in the world. Some of them, by nature, have a stronger impact on the situation in the region than others. United States are engaged in the majority of global-scale processes, especially in terms of security-said Šutanovac reminded that U.S. influence in the region during the recent crisis the country seems essential participant in many aspects.

Cooperation between Serbia and the U.S. defense was the best part of the overall relations between the two countries, while in the field of defense cooperation with Russia, as the minister said, could be termed as good, but still far below the expected and necessary level. He added that the MoD makes efforts to change, expressing hope that cooperation will be much improved after the planned visit of the Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces of Serbia.

Furthermore, as Sutanovac added that cooperation with China is a rising trend, and that there is interest in developing military and economic relations.

At the end of his expose, he added that the conference was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of cross-border security cooperation in the region.

In a statement to the press after the opening the conference, Minister Sutanovac said that there is the need for open scientific debate on further security integration of the Western Balkans. He said that it is necessary to this rather emotionally charged and often irrational phase into a rational one which will be supported by scientific data that speak of the prosperity of the countries that were included in further security integration.

He stressed that Serbia has taken a big step forward when it was admitted to the Partnership for Peace, and that virtually our office in Brussels is active as of today. A larger group of officers will soon be sent who will help our defense system approaching other members of the program.

Responding to a journalist's question regarding the announced visit of U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton to Serbia, Šutanovac said that he was not apprized of it and did not expect any pressure on our state leadership regarding Kosovo and Metohija. He expressed hope that the talks would be conducted in a friendly and partner atmosphere as was the case during the visit of Vice President Biden.

On the occasion of the destruction of Serbian telecommunications network operator in Kosovo, Sutanovac expressed dissatisfaction with "denying the possibility to communicate like civilized people." He pointed out that it does not contribute to stabilization of the region, adding that it is good that many foreign ambassadors in Serbia expressed dissatisfaction with such treatment. Sutanovac demanded that the authorities in the province prevent the destruction of the telecommunications network, adding that the citizens in case of a failure of communication are disoriented and that "you never know who is deprived of communication" between them because there are those are in need of medical assistance.

Scientific Conference of the FPS in the next three days has gathered lecturers from Serbia, USA, Germany, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey. The topic of the first day is “The NATO and the network of global security, on the second day the topic will be "the NATO and the security architecture of the Western Balkans," while the third day reserved for the topic "Integration of Serbia and the region in the global security network.”


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22. November - 28. November 2010.