“Mladić’s arrest our obligation”

BELGRADE -- Obligations to The Hague need to be fulfilled, which includes arrest of Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, Tomislav Nikolić told B92.

Tomislav Nikolić
Tomislav Nikolić

The Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader says that the government still has not convinced the citizens that the EU will not make Serbia give up a part of its territory.

Commenting on his coalition with Bogoljub Karić, who is accused of embezzlement of more than EUR 60mn, the SNS leader stressed that Karić had never financed him and that he should be punished if found guilty.

“Pride is to obey the law and respect the Constitution,” he explained his position regarding fulfillment of obligations to the Hague Tribunal.

B92: And Ratko Mladić?

Nikolić: That's a state obligation.

B92: And you would do it?

Nikolić: I would do it.

B92: What does that mean, I would or I wouldn't do it?

Nikolić: Here, the present government is doing that too.

B92: What does that mean – I would, but I wouldn't or I would do it?

Nikolić: I don't know, I don't have information about his whereabouts, I don't have information whether all these operations are staged or they are arresting Ratko Mladić.

B92: Why do you keep refusing to decisively say – yes, I would arrest him because it would be my obligation as a president or prime minister?

Nikolić: Yes, I would fulfill the obligations and whether I can arrest him I don't know, because I know that Tadić would arrest Ratko Mladić as a desert after lunch, but he's not arresting him. Maybe because he's not here. It would be the biggest treat for him.

The SNS leader has assessed that mutual apologies of the Serbian and Croatian presidents for the crimes committed during the war in former Yugoslavia are a good move, but he says that Vukovar and Paulin Dvor are not the same.

“Symbol of the crimes some Serbs committed in Croatia is Vukovar. No Paulin Dvor, to which I happened to be, is at all a symbol of the crimes Croats committed against Serbs. And it cannot be made equal. Because nobody heard of the village of Paulin Dvor in Serbia, but they heard of the Blaze and the Storm,” he stressed.

“I won’t call upon Serbs to vote in Kosovo elections”

Nikolić has stated that he will not call upon his supporters in Kosovo to vote in the elections. He stressed that he would not condemn them if they did vote and that it was, after all, the most important what the government said.

“I can criticize the government whatever it says and the government and its prime minister have been sending three different messages regarding the elections to the Serbs in Kosovo lately,” the SNS leader said.

He pointed out that the government needed to know what the alternative was if it called upon Kosovo Serbs not to participate in the elections.

“We took part in some local elections in Kosovo which were organized by the state of Serbia and we won. People from municipalities elected in accordance with the Serbian laws say that help from Priština, i.e. from the EU is ten times higher than the funds received by municipalities governed by the state of Serbia,” Nikolić explained.

He has also assessed that Serbia should join the EU but with Kosovo.

“If we should be a EU candidate for 20 years in order to wait to enter the EU with Kosovo, that’s all right. Being EU candidate is a good position,” the SNS leader pointed out.

He said that nobody from the EU had told him “give up on Kosovo and you’ll become a member” and that such sentence was maybe meant for someone in the government they were discussing Serbia with.

Nikolić added that they would speak about the situation in Serbia with him “after he has won the elections”.