TIRANA, April 30 – The Chief of Cabinet of the President of Kosovo, Blerim Vela has expressed concern over the feverish arms buildup of Serbia. Vela said this in response to the display of Chinese weapons in Serbia on Saturday.
The sophisticated HQ-22 surface-to-air system was delivered last month by a dozen Chinese Air Force Y-20 transport planes in what was believed to be the largest-ever airlift delivery of Chinese arms to Europe. The exposure of this weapon has caused numerous concerns to international officials besides those in Kosovo.
“Serbia publicly unveiled the recently received Chinese FK-3 long range, high altitude anti-aircraft missile system. Serbia is the only European country to receive and operate such a Chinese weapon system,” Vela said in a post on Twitter on Saturday.
According to the chief of staff of the Kosovo presidency, Serbia is rapidly militarizing, endangering peace in the Western Balkans.
Serbia on Saturday publicly displayed a recently delivered Chinese anti-aircraft missile system, raising concerns in the West and among some of Serbia’s neighbors that an arms buildup in the Balkans could threaten fragile peace in the region.
Serbia, which was at war with its neighbors in the 1990s, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence declared in 2008. It still has frosty relations with NATO-members Croatia and Montenegro as well as Bosnia, whose separatist Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik attended the military drill on Saturday.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at the end of the arms display at a military airport near Belgrade that the Chinese missiles, as well as other recently delivered military hardware, are not a threat to anyone and only represent a “powerful deterrent” against potential attackers.
Vucic said Serbia is also negotiating a purchase of French multi-purpose Dessault Rafale jets, as well as British Eurofighter Typhoon fighters. He said that only “political hurdles” could prevent the purchase of the Western aircraft.
There are widespread concerns that Russia could push its ally Serbia into an armed conflict with its neighbors to try at least partly to shift public attention from the war in Ukraine.
Although Serbia has voted in favor of U.N. resolutions that condemn the bloody Russian attacks in Ukraine, it has refused to join international sanctions against its allies in Moscow or outright criticize the apparent atrocities committed by the Russian troops in Ukraine.
In the meantime Vucic and Albania’s PM Edi Rama promote intensively the Open Balkan initiative which, according to them, aims at strengthening peace and stability and development in the region.
Analysts say that the feverish armament of Serbia doesn’t comply with the propogandistic message conveyed by Open Balkan initiative and that might be one of the reasons why Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina have not joined that project.
Besides those three WB countries some other states, sharing borders with the region, have cast doubts on the project seeing in it Belgrade’s hegemonistic target to create Greater Serbia. Also it’s hectic the stance of the EU and the US over the initiative but the feverish armament of Serbia can’t pass unnoticed as Belgrade’s ally, Russia escalates aggressive actions in Ukraine.
However, it’s to be mentioned the latest unconcerned stance of Albanian PM Edi Rama over the latest steps undertaken by Serbia to beef up its military arsenal.
Asked by journalists on this issue in a press conference at the end of the visit to Berlin on April 12, Premier Rama said such news is not disturbing at all because only cooperation in the Balkans is valuable for him!!!