19 Feb 2018 16:12

Immunities Russia is seeking for its employees in Nis are no more than NATO military's privileges - Lavrov

MOSCOW. Feb 19 (Interfax) - The controversy surrounding issuing diplomatic status to employees of the Russian-Serbian humanitarian center in Nis was created artificially, and this center does not pose a threat to anyone, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"I am confident that it is simply absurd to pretend that this center poses a threat to anyone," Lavrov said in an interview with the Serbian news agency Beta.

Four Russian citizens are working in the center and the issue of immunities and privileges was addressed in the 2012 agreement on its creation, he said. "The privileges and immunities that we are seeking for the four Russian employees are no more than the privileges possessed by members of the U.S. military base Bondsteel and NATO countries' servicemen when they conduct a large number of drills, you mentioned that correctly, on the territory of Serbia," Lavrov said.

"The Russian-Serbian humanitarian center in question works solely on issues associated with dealing with the aftermath of natural calamities," he said.

"The issue of the humanitarian center in the city of Nis has become so odious that the concrete aspect of the situation (four Russian citizens) does not correspond to the hysteria that has started in the West. It seems to me that any reasonable person who has evaluated the situation will understand that it was created artificially and is not worth a bean," Lavrov said.