Vucic comments on Blair's trip to Belgrade

BELGRADE -- Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic says former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's trip to Belgrade earlier in the week "did not cost Serbia a penny."

Vucic is seen in front of the Gerontological Center in Belgrade on Friday (Tanjug)
Vucic is seen in front of the Gerontological Center in Belgrade on Friday (Tanjug)

Referring to his deputy's statement made on Thursday, reporters asked the prime minister whether he "chatted and drank coffee" with Blair.

Vucic replied that he "never chats when it comes to such things" and added, "these were serious discussions." He also remarked that he "doesn't even drink coffee."

The prime minister revealed that he met with Blair "five or six times so far."

Vucic also said he was "always ready to learn something, from Blair as well, just as I learned a lot from my friend Gerhard Schroeder."

Vucic rejected the criticism coming from the opposition "because of the encounter with Blair, whose country took part in the NATO bombing" and said that "countries led by Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder also participated in that and were in 2001 wholeheartedly welcomed and praised by those who are now criticizing."

"My stance toward the bombing has not changed," said Vucic and added that he "kneels in front of nobody and begs noone for anything, and always works to preserve the dignity and pride of the citizens of Serbia."

"Serbia will be the world - open to all," said he.

The prime minister added that "Blair was not here to advise but to train."

Speaking about an Interpol arrest warrant for Momir Stojanovic, an MP from his SNS party, Vucic said that "authorities will investigate the war crimes indictment against Stojanović," raised in Kosovo.

He also said he believed Stojanovic was not guilty.

"I believe that there's nothing serious in the indictment, but authorities will investigate that. I believe that Stojanovic has done nothing wrong," Vucic told reporters after visiting a retirement home in Belgrade on Friday.

Vucic said that the former Kosovo Minister of Returns and Communities Aleksandar Jablanovic was sacked because he pointed out to the stoning of Serbs in Djakovica, and "called a spade a spade."

According to the prime minister, Serbia is in "an unenviable geostrategic position - but will preserve peace and stability."

Commenting on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remark that Serbia is the "line of fire in a propaganda war lead by Russia," Vucic said that "Serbia is conducting its policy in the interests of its citizens."

"It is on the road to EU, has good and traditional cooperation with Russia, which it does not change depending on what the newspapers are writing," Vucic said.