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    A man waves an anti NATO and EU flag during an anti NATO rally in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, March 27, 2016

    'Soft Adulation': What is Behind NATO's About-Face on Serbia

    © AP Photo/ Andrej Cukic
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    The NATO Parliamentary Assembly has decided to stop blaming Serbia for hampering the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Speaking to Sputnik, Serbian political analyst Dragomir Andjelkovic described the U-turn as the alliance's attempt to disrupt cooperation between Serbia and Russia.

    Dragomir Andjelkovic suggested that the West is beginning to change its attitude towards Serbia due to the obvious weakening of its positions in the Balkans, which comes amid Turkey expanding its clout.

    Dragomir Andjelkovic said that no one in the West paid attention to Serbia at a time when "it was seen as a kind of protectorate, which simply had nowhere to go."

    "Now that it has become clear that Belgrade has geopolitical alternatives, NATO referred to soft adulation in a bid to make Serbia distance itself from Russia and other forces that are outside the field of Euro-Atlantic domination," he added.

    According to Andjelkovic, the only correct option for Serbia is to continue to balance and develop friendly relations both with Russia and leading centers of power in the West."

    People pass through an underground passage with graffiti on the wall that reads: Free Kosovo, Free Balkan, Death for NATO, in Belgrade, Serbia (File)
    © AP Photo/ Darko Vojinovic
    People pass through an underground passage with graffiti on the wall that reads: "Free Kosovo, Free Balkan, Death for NATO", in Belgrade, Serbia (File)

    He was echoed by Serbian military analyst Miroslav Lazanski, who said that Belgrade will not change its official position with regard to NATO despite the alliance giving kudos to Serbia.

    "We are observing military neutrality and they are now probably luring us into developing closer cooperation with NATO. They will do their best to get us into their orbit, but Belgrade needs to be attentive and regulate its relations with the alliance, so as not to violate Serbia's policy [in this regard]," Lazanski said.

    At the same time, he warned against attaching too much importance to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

    "They are not the ones who make decisions. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is mainly needed to help people spend their travelling allowance, travel around Europe and live in good hotels," he added.

    Protesters holding a banner that reads: Serbia is not NATO during a protest against NATO in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016
    © AP Photo/ Darko Vojinovic
    Protesters holding a banner that reads: "Serbia is not NATO" during a protest against NATO in downtown Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016

    In his report at a NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in late May, British MP Richard Benyon slammed Serbia for being the main stumbling block in developing cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo. The Serbian side assessed the document as "scandalous."

    In August, Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin told Sputnik that Belgrade does not wish to become part of NATO and asks the military alliance, as well as Serbia's other partners to respect the country's neutral status.

    Serbia's Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO was launched in March 2015. In 2013, Serbia's parliamentary delegation was granted observer status by members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

    Related:

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    power, option, attitude, forces, relations, cooperation, NATO, Russia, Serbia
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