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Vučić: There is no running away from the Kosovo and Metohija issue

September 13, 2017. Source: Tanjug

The President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, stated that the new phase of the internal dialogue on Kosovo and Metohija will begin in October, pointing out that it is time to start talking about Kosovo and Metohija because that is the essence of our political present, and our future.

Aleksandar Vučić

“Depending on our relationship with Kosovo and Metohija, not only will we have a safer or less safe present, but the future also”, Vučić stated while addressing the public at the Presidency.

He said the dialogue will be institutionalized from October and that it will take place in concentric circles, thus that he expects it to be tolerant, with respect for different opinions and the participation of all relevant actors.

He pointed out that a report has been made up on everything that has been done in the past four years in the dialogue, and all the important dates have been highlighted since 1998 and Christopher Hill, going onwards.

He asked the Government of Serbia for help in organizing certain meetings.

He also asked the civil sector to join in, because all policies related to Kosovo and Metohija are important.

“This is a historical issue for us, a crucial one for Serbia’s future, not because some think there is an answer prepared in advance. I believe that the issue of politics is not an issue of slander, or insult, taking over someone’s position, but an issue of results and a responsible attitude towards all key issues”, Vučić said.

He pointed out that no one was killed in interethnic conflicts during the last four years, that the people are living somewhat easier and there aren’t less Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija compared to three-four years ago:

“Most Serbian children are being born in Kosovo and Metohija, due to the circumstances, in a wish to remain in their homes”, Vučić stated.

There are between 110.000 and 120.000 Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, the President of Serbia added.

He pointed out that, today, we have a different position while negotiating, because Serbia’s voice is being heard.

He reminded everyone that Priština was given legitimacy when we asked the International Court of Justice whether they had the right to break away or not.

“That was initiated by Vuk Jeremić, and the dialogue left the UN and we had to start everything from the beginning”, Vučić said.

He said he doesn’t like to sit with Thaci, Mogerini… but it is better for us to go and have difficult conversations, he was elected for that, and given support.

The President of Serbia pointed out that through the report on the dialogue, the citizens will be able to see how complicated our history is and how many wrong moves we made, acted irresponsibly and were resentful to people, and that, as he said, we couldn’t do anything.

Vučić said he asked the Serbian Government to help with organizing meetings, that he already talked about that with the Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, and was assured that the Government will do all it can.

“Help is needed when organizing a meeting with the University, and who would be better for that, to send out invitations, organize the meeting, bring refreshments, without imposing an opinion, then the Ministry of Education”, Vučić said adding that after these meetings the sublimation of everything would begin.

When it comes to the non-government sector, Vučić said it would be good if they discussed sub-themes, because what is also important to us is asylum and migration policies, as well as the return of internally displaced persons, so this sector should organize debates within its framework.

“And I, as President, am always ready to go and talk with everyone and hear each opinion, because I consider this to be a historical issue, one of key issues for Serbia’s future”, Vučić said.

This issue is important, he emphasized, and not because there is an answer prepared in advance, as some would like to think, adding that he wasn’t addressing those using curses when commenting on his call for dialogue, but despite that, he is satisfied, because they didn’t keep silent.

“I believe that the issue of politics is not a matter of slander, or insults or taking over someone’s position, but a matter of results and responsibility”, the President of Serbia underlined.

Vučić especially pointed out that in the past four years, despite of ethnically motivated attacks on Serbs, which are less frequent than before, no one was killed.

“Did I feel uncomfortable and humiliated in Brussels? Yes, I did, countless times, but I have not humiliated Serbia and we made life for Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija somewhat easier and nobody was killed in ethnically motivated attacks”, Vučić pointed out, adding there are ten times less attacks on Serbs.

According to him, that is what’s most important, and not “how can we be heroic, how many harsh words we can say, but what we can do for our people”.

He also emphasized that the number of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is not smaller now then three-four years ago and that this is the first time we don’t have a dramatic drop in the number of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.

“Most Serbian children are being born in Kosovo and Metohija, due to the circumstances, and understanding their needs is extremely important, their fear for the future and the desire to remain in their homes”, Vučić said.

He added that approximately 120.000 Serbs live today in Kosovo and Metohija and that the ratio of Serbs to Albanians is 1:40.

“People should be aware of this before they start lecturing others about what type of heroic steps ought to be taken, the ones who, from pubs and coffee shops in Belgrade and Novi Sad, preach to people in Kosovo and Metohija how to act”, Vučić said.

The President added that Serbia has a different position in negotiations today than she had before.

“Let me remind you of all the things we had to face – we ourselves and as a state, we were the ones who gave legitimacy to the independence of Kosovo and Metohija when we asked the International Court of Justice whether they had the right to self-determination. Vuk Jeremić, and the Government he was in, they were the ones who submitted this document. This act resulted in a catastrophic and devastating decision”, Vučić declared.

We had to fight all over again for Serbs and their wellbeing after the transfer of the dialogue from the United Nations to the European Union and deployment of EULEX, which we did rather successfully albeit having difficult negotiations.

“Do any of you think that I enjoyed sitting with Thaci, Mogerini, Ashton, Collaku… I cannot remember a single pleasant moment, but my job is not to feel pleasant and comfortable. And don’t listen to the ones telling you that everything is going to be pleasant and easy, because those people have the worst solutions”, the President said.

I am proud of the policy whose aim is to protect Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. We will give our best to lower the rate of the attacks, to provide a better life for them – he underscored and added that he gave an oath before the Constitution of Serbia and that he will respect this document.

Vučić underlined that we can help our people only when Serbia becomes economically stable.

“There is no running away from this, I will not try to avoid responsibility and stand aside. We have to think about what are our positions and relations towards Kosovo and Metohija, not to run away from this and live in the past”, stated Vučić.

Vučić on the issue of supporting the entry of the Serbian List into the Government

The President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, declared tonight that he, as the President, supported the decision of the Serbian List to enter the Provincial Government.

Vučić, in his address to the public, underlined that Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija had only three options after the elections, where 99% of Albanians voted for an independent Kosovo and mostly against Serbian interests.

According to him, their first option was to support a new Government, which would be comprised of fresh forces of Albin Kurti or “Self-determination”.

Vučić pointed out that the political program of the “Self-determination” Movement requests Constitution amendments with an aim of rejecting the Ahtisaari plan and cutting out all foreign representatives, which begs the question – who would protect the Serbs if KFOR, UNMIK and EULEX leave?

Also, as he added, “Self-determination” openly lobbies for the creation of armed forces.

“Should the Serbian List support the creation of Great Albania? No matter what choice they would have made, they would have been criticized by the ones who criticize them now”, Vučić said.

The second option that the Serbian List had was to support no one, he noted.

“And what kind of a choice would that be? A poor one, because we would immediately have new elections where the Serbian List would win fewer votes, as opposed to Kurti’s and Haradinaj’s parties. Don’t tell me that you believe that 6-8% of the population can form a majority in the Parliament”, Vučić stressed.

He noted that they also had the third option – to support the Government of Ramus Haradinaj, an indicted war criminal in Serbia’s eyes.

“We think nothing good of him. There are more leaders like that, but no one asks us when it’s time to vote”, he reiterated.

By choosing this option, Serbs did not lose the possibility to preserve peace and their children, Vučić deemed.

“Imagine if they decided to announce new elections. What would they do if someone attacks them in parts located south of the Ibar River, or if ROSU units come to the northern part of Kosovo and Metohija”, Vučić said, whilst reminding them that he already had an argument with one western ambassador due to the presence of ROSU units in the north of Kosovo and Metohija, which resulted in the withdrawal of said units.

“What would you do if they start to attack Serbs? To set mosques on fire, like we did in 2008 due to irresponsible politics of our state authorities. I doubt that our heroes who sit in pubs and coffee shops all day would sacrifice their lives”, admonished Vučić, adding that the easiest thing to do is to be irresponsible.

For the first time since 1991, Albanian parties, as he stressed out, do not have the majority in the Parliament and no one wants to acknowledge this.

“For the first time we have something in our hands since the declaration of autonomy”, the President of Serbia stated.

Vučić declared that approximately 6-8% of Serbs live today in Kosovo and Metohija. According to our data it is 8%, whereas Albanians claim it is 6%.

“Surely, it does not go above 8%. Unfortunately, after our defeat in the conflict with NATO, after the gruesome NATO aggression, the majority of Serbs have left Kosovo and Metohija and the ones who remained are living in enclaves and in the north”, he assessed.

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