Can Serbia become an “isolated island”?

Belgrade

« Neutrality requires a higher budget, a number of troops, more weapons and modern military equipment. Switzerland, which is always being used as an example of a neutral country, has a respectable amount of the most modern weapons, and there is still a mandatory military service, » said Serbian Defense Minister, Dragan Sutanovac, a few days ago. Conserving neutrality or joining NATO? The question divides the Serbian politic class. Since 2004, the government has launched a wide-ranging professionalization of its army. This year is the last of this program, the last to prove the revival of the Serbian military power. For most of us, the last picture we keep of fond memories is the air strikes on the Defense ministry building in 1999.

The Serbian army has at its disposal an ageing arsenal of weapons which has begun to be replaced for five years. Its main force lies in the capacity to produce its own weapons. Indeed, the firm Zastava was the heart of the Serbian military-industrial complex. The Defense ministry also wants to increase the number of its troops: “In the coming months, we will employ about 4,500 professional soldiers, which will end one of the largest societal reforms in the country,” promised Dragan Sutanovac. But the minister seems to take his time. The Nato membership is “not on the agenda”, according to him. First of all, priority is given to the European integration. (photo : M.E, Dr)

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