"Change of government could lead to hell"

BELGRADE -- Commenting on a European parliament resolution on Vojislav Šešelj, Tomislav Nikolić said the EP allowed Croatia to "instrumentalize it for election purposes."

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The Serbian president also asked whether the goal of the Hague Tribunal (ICTY) was a change of government in Serbia, stating that it would be "unfair of the authorities to submit a resignation to citizens, as they would be replaced by someone much worse."

"That could lead Serbia to hell," he said, and added:

"As for the Hague Tribunal, the question is, what is the ultimate goal of their circus show and their mentors and clowns? What do they wish to achieve? A change of government? Well isn't it citizens who decide in elections, in democratic societies?"

The Serbian president said that "while unfair toward citizens," leaving power "would "probably be easier to most cabinet members."

"Who would replace them? Those who have been proven to be worse, I dare say worse people, but very susceptible to manipulation. Serbia would go back to hell where they would easily take away what it vowed to never give away to anyone," Nikolić said.

The president pointed out that Serbia has a policy of peace and stability aimed at ensuring that its citizens "live better from their own work."

"It is committed to the civilized legacy and finds any warmongering rhetoric unacceptable, whether it comes from Serbia, Croatia, Albania, anywhere. We do not need to be reminded by those who have not solved that problem in their own backyard," said Nikolić.

He pointed out that the EP adopted a resolution which refers to Serbia, and that Serbia was not been given an opportunity "to at least present its stance."

"Unfortunately, the European parliament is not changing the attitude towards Serbia even now, when it has admitted that the Serbian state with its reforms earned the commencement of the (EU membership) negotiation process," said Nikolić

He pointed out that the European parliament "should be aware how much effort is invested by Serbia to stabilize the very fragile relations with Croatia and solve many open issues in mutual interest."

According to him, MEPs "remained silent in the face of destruction of Cyrillic plates in Slavonia, Croatia, and of explicit hate speech against Serbs at events commemorating anniversaries of the criminal Operation Storm, which have been held for over ten years, or the holding of public concerts featuring music that is very popular in Croatia and whose lyrics openly urge extermination of Serbs."

The EP also "showed no appreciation of the fact that Serbia did not block Croatia's European path, which it could have done due to the many issues related to the rule of law and human rights and freedoms and due to the unsolved issues of the expelled Serbs' return and property rights, he added.

"Even now, a destabilization of the region is not in the interest of Serbia or the Balkan countries, but it is neither in Europe's interest," Nikolić noted.

Even though there is no doubt that the situation in Serbia is very difficult and that poverty has become widespread, the citizens of Serbia are not full of hatred for their neighbors, but preoccupied by problems, bearing the large burden of reforms aimed at creating legal certainty, economic progress and a better future overall, the president said

"The fact that I disagree with the adoption of the EP resolution does not mean that it imposes any kind of obligation on Serbia - it just shows what kind of thing we could experience in the future", Nikolić said.