"Conflicts are in somebody's interest"

BELGRADE -- Marko Đurić says he asked UNMIK chief Farid Zarif to further encourage KFOR, EULEX and the Priština authorities to ensure the safety of Serbs in Kosovo.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

The director of the Serbian Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija spoke after his meeting with Zarif on Monday. He told reporters that incidents that occurred after a football match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade - both in Kosovo targeting Serbs and in other parts of Serbia, targeting Albanians - deserve condemnation.

"The incidents that have occurred have received condemnation from all relevant institutions in Serbia - both the incidents against Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija and the incidents that we have seen in other parts of our territory where business facilities owned by Albanians who are honest, hardworking and loyal citizens of Serbia were attacked," he said.

Đurić added that Albanians deserve that their property is safe and that the Serbian government for its part "does and will do everything so that all citizens and their property are protected."

"From the provincial institutions and the international community and all those who are responsible for security in Kosovo and Metohija we expected that they do their part... and this is something we discussed today," Đurić said.

He also stated he told Zarif that considering that KFOR, EULEX and the OSCE operate within the UN umbrella Serbian authorities "expect they will further encourage those who are responsible to provide security for Serbs."

"In order to have completely normal life in Kosovo and Metohija we must solve the problem systematically and it is important to catch the perpetrators of all attacks, but it is also important to work essentially to improve and normalize relations regardless of how much those provoking us want to prevent that," said this official.

According to Đurić, "those who provoke and who started all this trouble do not want us to normalize relations with Albanians and do not want us to normalize relations between Belgrade and Priština."

"It is in someone's interest that there is always conflict and an abnormal situation - well we don't want that, instead we want to live normally with everyone," he said.

The Kosovo Office director reiterated that "Serbs and Serbia will not be the cause of the problem," adding that "we want stability."

"Serbia wants to have friends on its borders and that's why we have an interest in talking with Albania," he remarked.

He pointed out that the relations between Belgrade and Priština are Serbia's internal matter and will continue to be that in the future.

Asked to comment on the postponement of the visit of Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to Belgrade, Đurić said that Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić answered that question.

"I can only say that it is in our interest to talk with all our neighbors, and that Serbia wants to have friends on all its borders," Đurić told reporters.

According to him, it is very important that Serbia is sending a clear message that it wants to maintain a dialogue with everyone on an appropriate level.

"Relations between Serbia and Albania are one thing, and relations between Belgrade and Priština another - for Serbia is very important to continue to improve relations with Albania, a neighboring country with which we have the potential to improve relations," he said.

According to him, it is necessary that to concentrate on solving practical issues in Kosovo, "because our people in Kosovo do not care much about high politics but are interested in how to solve the problems of water, electricity supplies."

"It is our obligation not to neglect what is everyday life and to provide what our people in Kosovo need the most," Đurić said.

According to him, improving the quality of life of people in Kosovo, including in economic and security spheres, "is the goal of this government and of this office."