"EU deal signature will be annulled"

BELGRADE -- Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica, DSS, says the first move for the new parliament and government will be to annul "the Tadić-Đelić SAA signature".

Vojislav Koštunica seen with supporters in Jagodina (Tanjug)
Vojislav Koštunica seen with supporters in Jagodina (Tanjug)

Koštunica said today in Belgrade, in an interview with Tanjug news agency, that no responsible European country and no responsible statesman would ever do what the President Boris Tadić and Deputy Premier Božidar Đelić have done when they signed the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union on Tuesday.

"This agreement has only one goal, to be interpreted as Serbia's signature to Kosovo's independence," Koštunica said.

"Nothing will come out of this trick, because after the elections, the new government and parliament will annul the Tadić-Đelić signature," the leader of the DSS-NS coalition, running in the May 11 ballot, continued.

He repeated that since 18 of the 27 EU states have recognized the false state of Kosovo and in this way "violated the SAA in the crudest manner", a discussion with Brussels should have preceded the signing, in order to protect Serbia's national and state interests.

"Imagine if Serbia, for instance, recognized Scotland's independence, while Great Britain swiftly proceeded to sign a deal with Serbia that pertains to Great Britain's territorial integrity. No European state would have done what Tadić and Đelić have done," Koštunica said.

The outgoing prime minister also explained why he consistently refers to the SAA as "Solana's agreement", and said that the EU foreign policy chief is the document's main creator.

"Since this is not a true Stabilization and Association Agreement, because the true agreement was violated by the 18 states the moment they recognized Kosovo as the first NATO state, then it is only right that this agreement, such as it is, should be named after its main creator," the DSS leader said.

Solana is, according to Koštunica, the only politician that is still active, out of the group that took part in the 1999 NATO attack on Serbia.

"And I suppose he remained in order to finish the job of Serbia's breakup. When we say, 'Solana's agreement', we mean the trick aimed at getting Serbia's signature for all that has been done, from the bombing and the construction of Bondsteel, to the Ahtisaari plan and recognition of the first NATO state," he continued.

"I am convinced that any three passers-by in Luxembourg that day would have fought for Serbia's interest better than those two," Koštunica said of Tadić and Đelić.

He also dismissed as nonsensical warnings that Serbia could face political and economic isolation in case Belgrade opted to annul the SAA.

"Croatia negotiated about fishing, well, I suppose we can negotiate about much more impotent subjects, without receiving threats."

He also believes claims that Serbia can count on economic assistance from Brussels after the signing of the agreement are baseless.

"As for the economic part of the agreement, it was suspended the very moment [it was signed]. This fact does not bother the Čanak, DS, G17 Plus coalition, who are announcing that the delivery of billions of euros will start any moment now. A more shameless underestimation of our public has not happened in a long time," Koštunica said.

He also described EU enlargement chief Olli Rehn's statement that the SAA is "status-neutral" when it comes to Kosovo as "ordinary deception".

"If Rehn is telling the truth, then that means the 18 countries that have recognized the unilateral independence will, once they ratify this agreement in their parliaments, revoke their decision to recognize Kosovo."

"Let them ask Rehn, or, for example, Dimtrij Rupel, whether the Slovenian parliament, as it ratifies the agreement, intends to revoke its recognition and return the status of Kosovo to neutral. I can tell you right away that Rehn's statement is a part of the same propaganda and that it is, of course, untrue," the premier said.

Asked why the main condition that the EU has set for Serbia to have the signed deal ratified is the cooperation with the Hague, when 80 percent of the agreement itself is related to economic issues, Koštunica repeated that the SAA creators were interested neither in the Hague nor economic issues, but rather only in obtaining a signature for Kosovo's independence.

"Dutch [Foreign] Minister [Maxime] Verhagen bragged that Tadić had sent him a special envoy who convinced him I was the one blocking the cooperation with the Hague. And, this envoy of Tadić's, this signature on Solana's agreement, all of this put together speaks about the true nature of this undertaking by Tadić and Solana," the DSS president said.

Koštunica repeated that Tadić "shamed only himself, not Serbia", when he signed the deal Tuesday, and that the document will be annulled after the elections.

"That's the first step, and we'll see what will follow," he warned.

Asked whether the rift that developed over the signing of the EU agreement meant that the door was definitely shut for any future cooperation with Tadić's Democrats, Koštunica said:

"We have clearly defined our political position on the signature put on Solana's agreement, and every citizen must know we will be consistent in our policy. I am convinced that Serbians will not make a mistake when they have their say on May 11, on whether to support Serbia, or Solana, who recommends himself as the great benefactor of the Serb nation."

The prime minister also expressed his doubt as to the authenticity of a Strategic Marketing poll released after the SAA signing, which said more than 60 percent of Serbians supported the move.

"This is a survey by 'famous' Strategic Marketing, that predicted [Miroljub] Labus would be two percent behind me in the presidential elections, [after which] I won almost a million votes more. That's how it is with Strategic Marketing's credibility," Koštunica concluded.