NATO officials meet Serbian parliamentarians
“My message to all the political leaders, of all the countries in this region, is clear. You are responsible for breaking with the past, and focusing on the future. For taking your countries forward. And into Europe and the Euro-Atlantic community of nations”, said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen during a recent visit to the Western Balkans.
Serbia is one of the countries in the region which is currently developing its Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO. In this context, members of the Serbian Parliament met with senior NATO officials when they visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 7 July.
NATO representatives briefed the group on a variety of topics including NATO’s New Strategic Concept, NATO-Russia relations and NATO and Libya. The Parliamentarians also attended a presentation on Serbia’s relations with NATO and met the Serbian national representative to NATO, Ambassador Branko Milinkovic.
The visitors also met Ambassador Martin Povejsil, the Czech Permanent Representative to NATO. Currently in its second year as the NATO Contact Point Embassy in Serbia, the Czech Republic is a valuable partner in promoting NATO and increasing public awareness about the Organization in Serbia.
The parliamentarians, representing a wide political spectrum of the Serbian parliament, also met with the newly appointed Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Ambassador Kolinda Grabar Kitarović. They exchanged views on current discussions amongst the Serbian public and their relatively low support for Euro-Atlantic integration. The ASG PDD has offered NATO’s assistance in public diplomacy efforts through a sustained dialogue amongst the political leadership as well as NATO PDD’s continuous engagement with the larger public.
“NATO remains prepared to help those nations wishing to be a part of the Euro-Atlantic community,” said Ambassador Grabar Kitarović.
The parliamentarians were also briefed by Dr. Stefanie Babst, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, James Appathurai, Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy (PASP), Mr. Michel Duray, Head of the Partnership Section of the Public Diplomacy Division and Mr. Rolf Schwarz, from Mediterranean Dialogue and Istanbul Cooperation Initiative Countries Section of PASP.