|Thursday, 25 July 2013.|
|“Serbia and NATO, are we at a turning point?”|
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In the context of military neutrality, cooperation with NATO, is membership of the Alliance a prerequisite of joining the EU, which are the real security challenges, risks and threats....?
These are the questions to which the "Novi Magazin" round table participants, including Dijana Ivancic, Head of the MFA Department of PfP and NATO, responded.
The framework defined by the decision on military neutrality provides for full substantive and functional cooperation on all issues and in all cooperation areas that do not challenge Serbia's neutral position regarding admission to Alliance membership.
The examples of other neutral states, PfP patners, including Austria Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Moldova, have demonstrated that the status of military neutrality is not an obstacle to active participation in NATO PfP activities. The examples of Austria, Sweden or Finland affirm that the status of neutrality in respect of NATO is not an impediment to EU membership. As a country participating in the PfP programme, Serbia, in cooperation with NATO, has selected specific activities in which to take part. As a result, the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Program (IPCP) was drafted.
For the purpose of becoming fully knowledgeable of NATO standards and incorporating them into their own security and defence systems, the PfP partner countries have committed themselves to the periodic Planning and Review Process (PARP) which should contribute to having their armed forces meet the highest operational standards. All participants of the PfP programme have their Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programmes (IPCPs), whereas most of them have opted for cooperation within the PARP framework. Individual Partnership Action plan (IPAP) is the most advanced form of cooperation with NATO that does not imply membership. It provides for dialogue with NATO on political-security, military-defence, administrative and public diplomacy issues, scientific cooperation and planning in emergency and contingency planning.
The draft IPAP between Serbia and NATO, submitted by Serbia in May 2013, met with very positive reactions of Alliance Members and is in the final stage of being agreed upon. Serbia wishes to promote its political dialogue with NATO and its PfP partners. It is also aware of the value of enhancing hands on cooperation in the fields including, for example, issues of public diplomacy, evolving security challenges, Integrity building initiative, PfP Trust Fund designated for assistance in clearance and stockpiling of munitions surpluses, as well as implementation of UNSB resolution 1325 (women in defence and security sectors). In order to facilitate the implementation of these objectives, Serbia will continue its good cooperation with the Slovak Embassy which assumed, in January 2013, the role of embassy point of contact for cooperation with NATO, as well as the NATO Military Liaison Office in Belgrade.