Gasic: Kosovo still poses biggest security risk

Serbian Defence Minister Bratislav Gasic stated that Kosovo still represents the biggest security risk in Serbia.

(kosovocompromisestuff) Monday, May 12, 2014

”We see the role and responsibility of KFOR with whom we have developed good cooperation so as to protect the Serb population in the province and preserve stability, a goal on which we will continue working in the future as well,” Gasic said in an interview for the Monday edition of the Belgrade-based daily.He noted that the risks to Serbia's security come from the inside, as well as from nationalist and religious extremisms, organised crime, human trafficking across Serbia's territory and terrorism. Nevertheless, there are certain risks in southern Serbia too, where Albanian minority lives in three municipalities on the administrative line with Kosovo, as there is a chance that the danger may spread to the territory of central Serbia.Gasic also announced the continuation of modernisation in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Serbia and noted that the first task is the modernisation of weapons and equipment, an area in which investments have not been made for a rather long time.”We will continue with the launched modernisation of defence equipment and repair, and we will also have significant equipment procurement and infrastructure investments,” the Serbian defence minister said.”Aviation needs to get new Lasta training aircraft and we will continue with the development of the telecommunication system and improve conditions for safe storage of explosive devices,” Gasic said.He noted that the budget does not envisage the plans for aircraft and complex combat system procurement for now but this task will not be forgotten.”This task has to be resolved on the national level,” Gasic said.One of the priorities remains the procurement of equipment for the Armed Forces units sent to peacekeeping missions and improvement of their capacities for participation in multinational operations.When asked if there is a chance of Serbia changing its policy toward NATO membership, Gasic said that viewed from the military standpoint, Serbia maintains a well-developed cooperation with NATO within the Partnership for Peace Programme which offers sufficient room for joint activities that Serbia can use to improve its defence potentials.”In the political sense, Serbia still has fresh wounds inflicted by the NATO bombing in 1999, and neither side should go against the emotion,” he said.In terms of laws, the Serbian parliament Declaration on military neutrality is applies to all, including the Defence Ministry, for as long as it is valid, the Serbian defence minister said.