President to ask academicians for advice

BELGRADE -- President Tomislav Nikolić on Monday announced that he would turn to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) for advice on Kosovo.

Tomislav Nikolić (Tanjug, file)
Tomislav Nikolić (Tanjug, file)

Nikolić said that he would ask SANU members for their advice on "how the state and the nation" should face the issue of Kosovo.

"Be ready. You are responsible Serbian patriots who can perceive the consequences," Nikolić said in his address to the SANU Day gathering.

He also described the academy as the pillar and foundation of the Serbian society, and urged its members to exercise unity.

Commenting on the president's statement, SANU President Nikola Hajdin told B92 that academicians were ready to discuss the topic of Kosovo, but that a final decision can only be made by politicians.

SANU does not reach conclusions or give recommendations, and instead of a unanimous stance on Kosovo, it can offer a series of expert analysis, he explained:

"The Academy will not take into account the so-called daily political topics, while it is the president of the republic and those in power who are responsible for solving the problem. We can only help, but we cannot impose our policy, above all because there is no one policy at the Academy. The Academy does not get itself involved in political problems, while each of its members can engage in politics as they wish."

Academician Matija Bećković noted that the institution's criticized Memorandum was in fact never adopted as its official document, but that it was "declared" to be that.

According to him, SANU should have been asked for their opinion in the beginning, rather than at the end of the process of solving the problem of Kosovo and Metohija.

"Now it would seem that SANU should share the responsibility for something it is not guilty of," Bećković told reporters.