PM: Serbia's position has been weakened

BELGRADE -- PM Ivica Dačić has said that the Hague Tribunal decision to free former Croat generals had "weakened Serbia's position when it comes to the lawsuits".

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

He was speaking in reference to the genocide lawsuits that the two countries had filed against one another.

"Serbia must realize that there are serious consequences for our state after such a decision by the Hague Tribunal. The position of Serbia when it comes to the stances toward the lawsuits has been very weakened," he told Pink 2 TV.

According to him, "Croatia will probably no longer dare go for a settlement, that is, for a mutual dropping of lawsuits - why would they, when they now have an official ruling."

The accused Croatian officials were originally found guilty for war crimes committed against ethnic Serbs in Croatia in the 1995 "Operation Storm", and sentenced to decades in prison, but they were acquitted last week in the appeals process.

As for Ramush Haradinaj - the ethic Albanian who is awaiting his verdict - Dačić said that if the Hague Tribunal were to free him as well, "it would certainly be a message that would additionally burned Serbia's state policy that goes toward regional reconciliation".

Asked about the Kosovo dialogue, Dačić said that Serbia wishes to solve the problem of Kosovo and was ready to reach an agreement that would take into account the legitimate interests of both Serbs and ethnic Albanians.

However, he added that it would be "illusionary to expect" that the situation would be resolved after "three or ten hours of talks" with Hashim Thaci. The very fact that the talks took place is a step forward, according to him.

"This situation of constant negotiations, partial, individual, is not good, because all these issues will be solved by themselves in two minutes if we solve the status issue," the prime minister was quoted as telling the TV outlet.

As for the status of Kosovo, he noted that "at this time we have no interlocutors on the other hand because they do not wish to discuss it and think the status issue had been solved".

"I think it is clear to everyone that this problem can only be closed with a solution that is also acceptable to Serbs," Dačić said, and added that the United Nations was "the only weapon in our hands".

He also reiterated that he had good cooperation with his first deputy and defense minister, Aleksandar Vučić, and that both saw it as their interest for this government to succeed.

"We have a common interest. We can win only if we work together," Dačić concluded.