DSS: EU deal signature, seal of Judas

BELGRADE -- The caretaker government is deeply divided in its reactions to the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA).

The former coalition partners: Koštunica, Tadić (Beta, archive)
The former coalition partners: Koštunica, Tadić (Beta, archive)

While the ministers from the Democratic Party (DS), along with party leader and Serbian President Boris Tadić were preparing to sign the document, Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica's Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) used strong words to condemn the move.

While Tadić insists the deal will not jeopardize Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, and is in essence a trade agreement, Koštunica says the signing will be tantamount to Belgrade's recognition of Kosovo's secession.

He today reacted to the news by saying that "Tadić, with his signature to Solana's agreement, will not bring shame on Serbia, but only on himself", and added that the new cabinet and parliament will swiftly annul the deal signed today in Luxembourg.

According to Koštunica, the signature is "an anti-constitutional and anti-state act, and therefore illegal and utterly illegitimate".

"We are saying to NATO and all the EU state that have recognized Kosovo: this illegal signature by Tadić should not be interpreted as Serbia's signature for Kosovo's independence," the prime minister said in a statement for Tanjug.

Earlier, DSS spokesman Andreja Mladenović said in a statement sent to Tanjug that regardless of Tadić's plans to sign what he referred to as the Solana Agreement, Serbia will never accept this signature, and that the new parliament and government set to be elected in under two weeks' time, will annul it.

"We are sending a message to Boris Tadić that his signature is not the signature of Serbia. He is in fact putting a seal of Judas of his party coalition to the Solana Agreement," Mladenović said.

Yesterday, he told B92 that should the Democrats decide to sign the SAA with the EU, Tadić will face procedure to determine whether he violated the Serbian constitution.

Kosovo has no price, while the EU, by sending its mission there, is indirectly trying to create a new state on Serbian territory, he said.

"Did the EU ask Serbia to recognize Kosovo's independence? No, it did not. But if the Slovenian foreign minister, who presides over the Council of Ministers, and the future chairman Mr. Kouchner says so in a letter, if Mr. Rehn, who is in charge of enlargement, says Serbia will have to develop good neighborly relations with Kosovo, what does that mean?"

"We must react now, two years down the line will be too late – it will be a state, they will create a state down there," Mladenović said.

His party colleague and education minister, Zoran Lončar, also reacted today by saying that Tadić "could be brought to answer" for the anti-constitutional signing of the deal.

"Tadić can sign whatever he likes with Solana, but that signature will bind only Tadić, Čanak and G17. We reject with contempt this seal of Judas Tadić has placed on Solana's paper. Solana will not rule Serbia, nor will NATO and their boys Tadić, Čanak and Dinkić," Lončar said.

Strongly worded criticism was also heard from the largest opposition party, the Serb Radicals (SRS).

Deputy president Dragan Todorović said today that Tadić will be called to face charges of violating Serbia's constitution if he signs the SAA with the EU.

"The new parliament, once it convenes after May 11, will initiate proceedings for Tadić's recall, because he violated the constitution and betrayed Serbia,” Todorović said in an interview with Tanjug.

He compared the signing of the SAA with that of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia's failed Axis Pact, signed ahead of the Second World War:

“This will not be the first time that such an agreement is made. A similar agreement was signed on March 27, 1941, and the people had their say afterwards,” Todorović said.

But Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić, DS, sees things differently. He said today the signing of the SAA represents a historical act and a diplomatic victory, pointing out at the same time that the document's implementation is closely linked to the forthcoming Serbian elections.

"The EU has reached a decision on signing, and the people of Serbia will decide in the May 11 elections whether they want the SAA to be fully implemented," he was quoted as saying in Luxembourg.

"After a long night and negotiations, we have made a diplomatic breakthrough," Jeremić said, and added, "I am very pleased with the fact that the SAA will be signed."

"From today on, the path towards Serbia's full EU integration is irreversible," the minister added.

When asked whether he found the agreement void since it would not be possible to implement it until full cooperation with the Hague Tribunal has been achieved, Jeremić answered that he did not.

"The implementation of the SAA is closely linked to the May 11 elections," he said.

In case that Serbia gets a pro-European government, we will very soon be in a position to fully realize our cooperation with the Hague Tribunal," Jeremić concluded.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Čedomir Jovanović said that the offer for signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union is "great news".

“I am glad that the readiness of Europe to help has been confirmed and the understanding it has for our people, even if they do not have such understanding for politicians in Serbia,” he said during a trip to Sarajevo.

“We will do everything we can to help the president and protect him from pressures which he will face for protecting the interests and the future of our society. We have all done so much in order for something like this to happen that I think no one has the right to take responsibility,” Jovanović was quoted as saying.

"We have said this before, let Đelić sign this agreement every day, and we will be happy."

“This makes Serbia a normal country, and our future better than our past. Every step closer to Europe is a step further from the problems which are destroying the lives of millions of people. The policies of Koštunica and the Radicals are policies of parties that are destroying their country, and they are policies which we cannot have an understanding for, and which we cannot compromise with,” Jovanović said.