Disinformation campaign is one of the challenges the Alliance is facing in Serbia, said Cesare Marinelli, Head of the NATO Office in Belgrade, reports N1.
He said that there are misleading or inaccurate information about NATO, which limits the debate and aggravates the objective examination of security cooperation in a wider context.
Commenting on the latest research that shows that 89% of citizens of Serbia oppose membership in the Alliance, Marinelli said that the past should not be forgotten, but it should be learned from it. He added that partnership between Serbia and NATO today is beneficial to both sides, but also for the entire region.
“Today in Serbia there is a lot of misinformation about what NATO is and what it is not, and that leads towards misinterpretation of the Alliance,” said Marinelli.
He reminded that NATO is not only a military but also a political alliance, in which 29 countries, and soon 30, when North Macedonia becomes a member, share common values, have common interests and make joint decisions by the consensus, N1 reports.
Marinelli also referred to the neutrality of Serbia, saying that NATO is fully respecting it and added that Serbia decides independently on its security arrangements.
He believes that part of the negative attitude towards NATO and its relations with Serbia would change if there were more information based on facts that focus on concrete aspects of international cooperation.
Marinelli praised the members of the Serbian Army, saying they are real professionals and that “every commander would like to have them under his command.”
Asked about the media coverage of NATO activities in Serbia, Marinelli said that, despite the “disinformation campaign”, there are numerous professional reports on mutually beneficial joint activities, because “NATO is transparent and enables media access to all of the common activities,” N1 reports.
He pointed out that for the Alliance the goal is not on gaining popularity, but to present facts about cooperation between Serbia and NATO.
“We understand that the Serbian public is not aware of many of the things that NATO stands for and on which it cooperates with Serbia,” said Marinelli.
He notes that the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) prescribes that both parties are responsible for providing objective information.
“That is why we all need together to do more, to inform citizens about the facts and look to the future,” Marinelli concluded.
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