US Threatens to Freeze Intelligence Cooperation with Serbia

Unhappy with Belgrade’s choice of spy chief, Washington reportedly intends to suspend intelligence cooperation with the country until Serbia rethinks its personnel solutions, N1 claimed on Friday, citing unnamed diplomatic sources.

According to the local CNN affiliate, former Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin, an open supporter of Russian politics, was named head of the Security and Intelligence Agency (BIA) in early December after he swapped places as part of a cabinet reshuffle with former BIA chief Bratislav Gasic.

N1 claims that Washington considers Vulin pro-Russian, pointing out his multiple meetings with the secretary of Russia’s national security council, Nikolay Patrushev, while he was in charge of the police, to strengthen the cooperation in the joint fight against popular uprisings, known as “colored revolutions”.

The outlet also mentioned accusations made by Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian opposition activist, that Vulin had him wiretapped on Moscow’s behalf. The former Interior Minister has denied those accusations and announced lawsuits against Kara-Murza as well as the media that will broadcast his allegations.

New Serbian spy chief Aleksandar Vulin
Aleksandar Vulin/ Photo credit: AP

Noting that Vulin presented a “major problem” for Washington, the US has signaled to Belgrade repeatedly that it disapproved of the appointment, most recently at last week’s meeting between US Ambassador Christopher Hill and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.

Quoting “reliable sources”, N1 claims that Hill threatened Dacic with a “deep freeze” in intelligence cooperation between the BIA and the US community, stressing that Washington would prefer to instead collaborate with some other departments of the Government of Serbia, including with the Interior Ministry.

Ambassador Hill allegedly told Dacic that, for that purpose, he would soon personally organize a visit to Washington by Serbian Interior Minister Gasic.

In a statement following Ambassador Hill’s meeting with Dacic, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic made a cryptic remark about Belgrade crawling with spies.

In reference to the famous WWII Hollywood movie, Vucic has called the Serbian capital “the new Casablanca,” pointing out that foreign intelligence agents- without naming their countries of origin or objectives – were obviously preparing various things, stressing the city hadn’t seen that much intelligence activity since the WWII.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.