It is becoming increasingly difficult for Serbia not to take sides between East and West, writes the Stuttgarter Nachrichten daily, adding that the Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, who proclaimed to be close to both Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel before the elections, is now caught between two fires.
“The all-powerful Serbian head of state would probably prefer to keep quiet about the bloodshed in Ukraine until the end of the war,” wrote the Stuttgarter about the belated stance of official Belgrade, which supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, yet refuses to impose sanctions on Russia.
“Maneuvering between East and West, has been a tradition in Belgrade since Tito broke ties with Stalin,” recalls Belgrade correspondent Thomas Rozer for Deutsche Welle, adding that in 2009, the then Serbian President, Boris Tadić, proclaimed that the EU, the United States, Russia and China were “the four pillars of foreign policy”.
“Vučić has perfected that dance on the wire between two worlds and has used it for years as his ‘weapon’ in election campaigns. Before every election, Vučić made sure that he visited Putin in Moscow and Angela Merkel in Berlin,” the newspaper writes.
“The man who is in a constant campaign mode is waiting for the next presidential and parliamentary elections in early April. However, his German protector from the Christian Democrats is no longer in power, and meeting with Putin is is hardly conceivable now,“ Stuttgarter Nachrichten reports.
“This is the end of the Serbian road to EU accession. We are moving further and further away from the EU,” says Srecko Djukic, former Serbian Ambassador to Belarus.
“Belgrade is really sitting between two fires,” Rozer points out in his article, because the EU expects Serbia, as a candidate country, to harmonize its foreign policy with that of the EU, while Moscow expects loyalty in exchange for support on the Kosovo issue.
“For now, it seems that the chameleon-like Vučić has decided to continue playing a double game,” the German newspaper concludes.
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