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Serbia Says Politics Not Involved In Syria Aid

Serbian Labor Minister Aleksandar Vulin (file photo)

Serbia says its decision to send aid to Syria is purely a humanitarian gesture and not a sign of taking sides in the civil war.

A Russian plane carrying Serbian aid of food, medicine, and clothes departed for Syria late on October 20, amid strained relations between the West and Russia over its backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Serbian Labor Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on October 21 that the "aid is for people in Aleppo.”

"I don't know if they support Assad or not, but we know they need help," he added.

Although Serbia has opened negotiations to join the EU, it remains Moscow's closest ally in the Balkans and has refused to join sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine.

On October 19, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic complained that the EU was putting "absolutely unacceptable" diplomatic pressure on the Balkan country to impose sanctions against Moscow.

An EU foreign policy report earlier in the week said Brussels "will continue to call on Serbia to progressively align with the EU" on foreign policy.

Based on reporting by AP