BELGRADE, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Slovenia and Serbia on Wednesday signed an
agreement for continued cooperation on defense, according to reports from the
Slovenian capital Ljubljana.
"Slovenia and Serbia have previously cooperated in defense, and the
agreement signed today is a legal foundation for cooperation in the future,"
Slovenian Defense Minister Ljubica Jelusic was quoted as saying by the Slovenian
news agency STA.
A cooperation program for 2009, which includes an exchange of experience in
defense planning, has already been drafted, the minister said.
The program also envisages contacts between IT and communications
professionals and experts in rescue and civil protection of the two countries.
In addition, Slovenia will share its experiences in participating in
international operations and missions, Jelusic said. He said that Serbia is
planning to take part in the UN-led mission to Chad.
Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac, who signed the agreement on
behalf of his country, said the measure provides a basis for further cooperation
not only in defense but in other areas as well.
Sutanovac said Serbia has allowed the Slovenian Armed Forces to use a
Serbian military academy for its training, and Slovenia will also help Serbia
with knowledge about defense reforms that it obtained in the framework of NATO.
Slovenia in 2004 became the first former Yugoslav republic to join NATO.
Serbia, which participated in NATO's Partnership for Peace program in
December 2006, is not planning to join the alliance as yet.
"In December 2007, the Serbian parliament passed a decision on military
neutrality, and we are acting in line with this decision," Sutanovac said.
He said that despite the decision, Serbia has been striving to achieve NATO
Sutanovac, who began a two-day official visit to Slovenia on Tuesday, was
also scheduled to meet with Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor and members of
the parliamentary defense committee.