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    Serbian nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj (2nd R) holds a burning US flag flanked by supporters during an anti-government rally in Belgrade on March 24, 2015

    Serbia to Stay Out of NATO Despite Broader Cooperation

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    Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that Serbia is not going to join NATO, but Serbia wants partner relations with the alliance member states that surround the country.

    BELGRADE (Sputnik) — Serbia has no plans to join NATO despite signing an Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with the North Atlantic Alliance earlier this year, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Sputnik Serbia.

    "We are not going to join NATO, but because we are surrounded by the Alliance member states, we want partner relations [with them]. And it is important that these relations should be sincere," Dacic said.

    The foreign minister added that NATO was an "important factor of stability" in the Balkans but Serbian citizens were opposed to joining the Alliance in light of the heavy NATO bombing of now-defunct Yugoslavia in 1999.

    I.Dacic
    © Sputnik / Ekaterina Shtukina
    Serbia, which pursues a policy of military neutrality, finalized their IPAP agreement with NATO in January.

    Serbia and other former Yugoslavia republics are part of the NATO Partnership for Peace program to create trust between NATO and other European states, as well as with those of the former Soviet Union.

    Serbia is also an observer state in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization and an associate member in the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

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    NATO, Ivica Dacic, Serbia
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