15:10 GMT18 January 2021
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    Serbia will never introduce anti-Russia sanctions, despite Belgrade's willingness to become a full member of the European Union, the country's Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said Thursday.

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) — Apart from this, the diplomat expressed Belgrade's willingness to establish better economic and political cooperation with the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), adding that Serbia could not be a part to the alliance due to its location outside the region.

    "It is well known that Russia and Serbia are the traditional friends and allies. We will further move in this direction. Serbia will never introduce sanctions against Russia," Dacic said at the opening of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum (SPIEF).

    The foreign minister further added that Serbia would not change its policy of military neutrality.

    "We want to become members of the European Union but not renounce of Russia and not carry out anti-Russian rhetoric. We will never do this. It is not a political issue, it is a moral issue," Dacic continued.

    A number of Western countries, including the EU member states, have imposed political and economic restrictions on Moscow after Crimea rejoined Russian as a result of a referendum in 2014. In response to the restrictive measures, Russia introduced a food embargo against imports from the states which had targeted it with sanctions.

    Serbia formally applied for accession to the EU membership in 2009 and was granted an EU candidate status in March 2012.

    SPIEF, held in Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg between Thursday and Saturday, is a major global platform for communication between business representatives and discussions of crucial economic issues. Sputnik News Agency is the official media partner of the forum.

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    sanctions, Ivica Dacic, Russia, Serbia
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