Serbia’s renewal of Ties with the Non – Aligned Movement

In the post colonial era during the second half of the 20th Century, Yugoslavia under President Tito had played a major role in uniting the newly independent small countries into a collective organization under the umbrella of Non – Aligned Movement. As one of the founder members of the NAM, Yugoslavia was an active participant in framing the movement’s principled agenda of non alignment and peaceful co-existence. Yugoslavia under Tito enhanced its prestige among the developing Afro-Asian countries as it was the only European country which affirmed solidarity with the developing world.  However, in the 1990s, Yugoslavia was ravaged by a civil war which resulted in the disintegration of the Yugoslav state on the basis of ethnicity.  Civil War continued even after the formation of new states.  This was the case with Serbia. During successive wars in the former Yugoslavia, Serbia lost its NAM membership. All the former Yugoslav republics now left the organization and most now aspire for NATO and European Union membership.
In the past few years, Serbia has sought to regain the role which Yugoslavia once played in Non-Aligned Movement. By re-launching a particularly dynamic foreign policy, Belgrade is presenting itself as a conduit between the East and the West, while at the same time reaching out to the other post-Yugoslav republics through the shared legacy of the Non-Aligned Movement
In the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on 25 September 2009, Serbian President Boris Sadic declared that Serbia would continue to engage with NAM countries not only for the sake of honoring a legacy from the past or renewing traditional friendship.
Another significant event that sent out positive signals for Serbia’s return to the fold of NAM was the hosting of the summit to mark the 50th anniversary of the Non – Aligned Movement in 2011. Serbian President Boris Tadić addressing the aforementioned Non – Aligned Movement Ministerial Conference in Belgrade remarked that the Movement’s founders crafted a vision of a more equitable world community, predicated on the establishment of a new type of international relations – one that scrupulously respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
Serbia has strengthened its relationship with the NAM countries through its effective presence in the UN Peacekeeping Missions in such countries. Moreover, to foster academic and cultural exchange with the NAM member states, a “World in Serbia” Scholarship Fund for students for Non-Aligned nationals has been constituted that has  enabled hundreds of students from NAM countries each year to study at the University of Belgrade.
The visit of the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic, who is also foreign minister, at the NAM ministerial summit at Algiers in June 2014 has send out clear signals that Serbia wants to enter the fold of the Non Aligned Movement. Dacic pronounced that Serbia is on the right track to renew cooperation with Non Aligned Movement.  Serbia stands a great chance to benefit from cooperation with the Non Aligned Member States as there are great possibilities for significant improvements to economic cooperation and trade, as well as for increased presence of Serbian companies in developing countries. Moreover Serbia’s place in the NAM would help ensure a majority support for Serbian initiatives in the UN.
For Serbia, non-alignment represents the idea of revival and reactivation of a Yugoslav heritage. In conclusion, Serbia’s orientation towards the Non Alignment is a conscious strategy for political and economic development of the country.

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