New Serbian government approved, deputy prime minister is under US sanctions

On May 2, the Serbian National Assembly (Parliament) approved a new government headed by Prime Minister Milos Vucevic and including Aleksandar Vulin, who is under US sanctions for his cooperation with Russia, by a majority vote.

152 out of 213 deputies in the National Assembly voted for the new Serbian government; 61 were against; and there were no abstentions.

Vucevic, leader of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), in his speech called “two cornerstones” of Belgrade’s foreign policy “political independence and military neutrality.”.

He assured that full EU membership remains a strategic priority for Serbia. At the same time, Vucevic emphasized that Belgrade will not abandon its friendship with Russia, whose people Serbia considers fraternal, but added that the same applies to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

“We have clearly condemned Russia’s attack on Ukraine, but we have also expressed our disagreement with the policy of sanctions against the Russian Federation, which we do not want and will not join,” Vucevic said.

The new Serbian government has appointed Marko Djuric as its foreign minister. The previous head of the Serbian Foreign Ministry, Ivica Dačić, became deputy prime minister and interior minister. Bratislav Gašić will head the Serbian Ministry of Defense.

One of the most controversial appointments of the Vucevic government was Aleksandar Vulin, who became Deputy Prime Minister.

Previously, Vulin served as Minister of Defense and Interior. In 2020, as Minister of Defense, he officially proclaimed the concept of a “Serbian world” similar to Putin’s “Russian world”—”we will protect all Serbs wherever they live.”

The United States imposed sanctions on Vulin in July 2023, making him the first Serbian official to face sanctions since Slobodan Milosevic’s rule in the 1990s. Vulin subsequently resigned as head of the intelligence service.

Source: Bloomberg

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