Open letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia - Scandalous behavior of the Russian Ambassador

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Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia expresses a deep concern due to frequent inappropriate public statements of the Ambassador of the Russian Federation Alexander Chepurin. We are referring to the statements that represent a direct interference into Serbia’s internal relations. It is indicative that the Ambassador intensified his public actions shortly before the first intergovernmental conference of Serbia and EU has been announced. The opening of the EU integration process puts Serbia in a geopolitical surrounding to which it belongs.

Ambassador Chepurin’s statements about Kosovo belittle the implementation of the Brussels Agreement and the normalization process of the relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

The most evident example of interference into Serbia’s sovereign decisions is his statement that for Russia the “red line” that Serbia should not cross is joining NATO. It is particularly inacceptable that the Ambassador Chepurin sends offensive messages to the countries in the region and to their statesmen. We do not only refer to Turkey in this context, but primarily to Montenegro.

In relation to the above mentioned, Ambassador Chepurin did not only use phrases which are undiplomatic, but also completely haughty and inacceptable. Such statements can lead to a serious disturbance of the public in Serbia.

We are well aware that Russia is an important partner of Serbia, especially in relation to the energy sector, but that does not mean that it can put a pressure on Serbia, particularly when it comes to strategic decisions.

Therefore, Helsinki Committee asks from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider whether the behavior of the Russian Ambassador Chepurin is in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Article 41.

Sincerely,
Sonja Biserko,
President,
Belgrade, 28 November 2013