“Serbia won’t have to choose between EU, Kosovo”Source: Tanjug
BRATISLAVA -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić has stated that he wanted to believe that EU officials will not make Serbia choose between Kosovo and the EU.
He stressed that it was important for Serbia that five EU member states had not recognized Kosovo's independence.
“As a state, we have fulfilled most of the criteria that applied to other countries that started the EU accession negotiations,” the Serbian president, who visited Slovakia on Tuesday, told Bratislava-based daily Pravda.
“I want to believe the European politicians who repeat every day that Serbia should be an equal member of the family of the European people. Therefore I want to believe that those same politicians, my esteemed colleagues, will not put the choice Kosovo or the EU before Serbia,” he was quoted as saying.
Nikolić said it was very important that five EU member states, including Slovakia, had not recognized Kosovo’s independence.
“That gives us hope that ethnically motivated secessionism, on the EU level, will not be recognized as a legitimate way of solving political issues,” he stressed.
He underscored that Serbia could get a date for the beginning of the EU accession talks in the first half of 2013 “if what they expect from us in the process of solving the Kosovo and Metohija issue is not completely contrary to our state and national interests”.
“I assure you that the Republic of Serbia is very focused in its efforts to fulfill conditions for the beginning of the EU accession negotiations. I think we as a state have fulfilled most of the criteria that applied for other countries that started the accession talks. Unfortunately, Serbia is today expected to fulfill much more than that,” Nikolić said.
“When asked why he still had not visited Kosovo as the Serbian president and why he was not allowed to visit the province on Christmas, he said that this was not his shame but “the shame of those who are not capable of implementing their internationally recognized mandate”.
“The fact that I was not allowed to enter the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, which is run by the UN, EU and international forces led by NATO, not even during the most joyous Christian holidays, is not my shame. It is a shame of those who are not capable of implementing their internationally recognized mandate. Despite that, I am sure that I will have an opportunity to visit my threatened people and Serbian churches and monasteries in Kosovo and Metohija soon,” Nikolić underscored.
He noted that Belgrade had never accepted the agreement on the integrated border management with Kosovo but that it had reached an agreement on the integrated administrative crossings management with the interim institutions in Priština.
“When it comes to red lines that Serbia does not want to step over, they are clearly defined in the Resolution adopted by the Serbian parliament with joint support of all most relevant political and social factors in Serbia,” the Serbian president told the daily.