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    • Open Letter to Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac

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    • Date: 23 December 2008

      Dear Mr. Šutanovac,

      We respectfully invite you to revise the timeframe set by the Ministry of Defence for public discussion of the draft National Security Strategy and the draft Strategy for Defence of the Republic of Serbia. It is our opinion that the proposed fifteen day period (from December 15 to 30) is not sufficient for a serious and productive public and expert discussion on such specialised documents. 

      Nevertheless we would like to express our satisfaction that Ministry of Defence has taken the step of drafting the National Security Strategy and the Strategy for Defence of the Republic of Serbia. We are also pleased that both documents have been made available to the public through Ministry of Defence’s web site (www.mod.gov.rs). Furthermore, we consider it a commendable fact that public discussion of these documents was called for immediately.

      We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you that these documents should serve to explain to the citizens of Serbia which threats jeopardise their security and the security of the state in which they live. These documents should also outline the basic values and interests of the society and explain under which circumstances the citizens of Serbia will have to sacrifice something, possibly their lives, for security. Finally, the citizens of this country should be told who is going to protect them and how. These documents will define the long term security orientation of Serbia within the region, in Europe and also globally. These are, therefore, policy documents of the highest order, which should stem from Serbia’s strategy of social development and from its foreign policy strategy. Once adopted, the National Security Strategy and the Strategy for Defence should serve to bring together not only the citizens of Serbia but the country as a whole. These two documents will have far-reaching economic, political and security consequences which are difficult to define and quantify at present.

      Bearing the issues outlined above in mind, we propose that the projected deadline be extended to at least 31 January 2009. In so doing, you would enable all of the stakeholders (the media, civil society organisations, expert organisations, the academic community, political parties etc.) to contribute to the improvement of the drafts being proposed. Such a public discussion would serve to increase the prospects for achieving a wider consensus on the real security needs and interests of the citizens and of the Serbian state.

      Cordially,

      The Centre for Civil-Military Relations, Belgrade

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