Former Minister: Mandatory term to avert focus from Kosovo
Former Serbia’s Defence Minister told N1 on Wednesday that the reintroduction of compulsory military service was just a media initiative aimed at diverting public attention from Kosovo as the most crucial issue.
Dragan Sutanovac said he doubted it would be realised, and added that the current Defence Ministry was “lost and incapable of finishing the process of professionalisation” of the army.
Sutanovac, >> Pročitaj celu vest na sajtu N1 televizija << ex-leader of the opposition Democratic Party, said that instead of the restoration of the mandatory draft, Serbia needed to professionalise its army further, increase the living standard of the soldiers and form an active military reserve.
“They launched a media initiative which I doubt will become a reality. Such a serious decision is taken once in two hundred years. I believe that some issues are open in Serbia to divert public’s attention from the more important subject like Kosovo is now,” Sutanovac said.
His comments follow an announcement by both Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin that the government was considering the reintroduction of the compulsory military term from three to six months.
The idea split the public to those pros and against, prompted discussion about the cost of such move and generally about the reason for that.
Sutanovac said that when during his mandate the mandatory service was abolished in 2010, the parliament was given the right to introduce it again in case of an immediate threat to the national security. He added he couldn't see who was threatening Serbia now.
“Serbia is an island within NATO, and I don’t see the reason to empower the army in this way,” Sutanovac said.
He added that the decision would not improve the quality of the army, but would force thousands of young people to leave Serbia, fleeing the draft.
“In 2010, (after the compulsory term was abolished) we pardoned several thousands of young men who fled abroad to avoid serving the military,” Sutanovac said.
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