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Serbia Seeking Russian Bases


Leader of Radical Party (SRS) backs construction of Russian military bases in Serbia

The leader of the Serbian nationalist Radical Party (SRS) backs the construction of Russian military bases in Serbia, according to the Sunday edition of the Novi Sad-based Dnevnik daily.

A Russian military presence would strengthen the Serbian position in the solution of the Kosovo issue and do away with NATO threats "for ever," Tomislav Nikolic told the paper.

If Kosovo became independent, Serbia would have to introduce a "total" block, he said.

The measure would affect all forms of traffic, including people, goods and capital.

However, the Serbian parliament had to decide on the presence of Russian troops, said Nikolic, who is also his country's frontrunner in the presidential elections scheduled for January 20.

The SRS is by far the strongest party in the Serbian parliament and is opposed to the country's rapprochement to the European Union and NATO.

Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic also said yesterday Serbia is not prepared to trade off Kosovo's independence for any deal with the European Union.

"There will be no trade of Kosovo for Europe, nor will Serbia ever accept it, and nobody's offering it," Djelic told journalists in Belgrade, according to state-run news agency Tanjug.

"The European Union isn't a country, isn't a member of the United Nations, and nor will it be a part of the process on Kosovo."

"That process belongs to the UN Security Council and all member countries of the United Nations, but in no way the European Union," said Djelic.

Serbia and the European Union last month initialed a so-called Stabilization and Association Agreement, considered the first stepping stone for Western Balkan nations on the path to eventual EU membership.



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