President: Serbia can prevent UN recognition of Kosovo

BRATISLAVA -- President Tomislav Nikolić says Serbia can prevent the recognition of Kosovo in the UN Security Council.

Tomislav Nikolić (Beta, file)
Tomislav Nikolić (Beta, file)

He explained that he therefore expected the EU and Kosovo Albanians to “start negotiating seriously” soon.

“But we will solve it (the Kosovo issue) so that Serbia will not be able to rule in Priština but Priština will not be able to rule either in many towns in Kosovo and Metohija where Serbs are a majority population,” the president told Slovak TV.

Stressing that he wanted to conduct a “both East and West” policy, he explained that Serbia did not want to have only economic but also political relations with the EU, Russian Federation, Arab countries and entire Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“Serbia so far has not led such a policy, ‘both East and West’, that I was telling about in the campaign. It used to say ‘both Kosovo and the EU’, which is not a policy I am leading. Of course we will be in the EU. Of course we will never recognize the independence of Kosovo and Metohija,” Nikolić stressed.

He pointed out that it was “absolutely possible to protect Serbian national interests – to enable Albanians to exercise their rights you get by being a majority in a part of the state territory but those are not rights to a new state and nobody could give them that”.

“I will probably still have many problems regarding that,” the Serbian president noted.

He stressed that he as an EU partner would do everything to get Serbia in the EU.

“I am the EU’s partner. I want Serbia to be in the EU and I will do everything a president of Slovakia would do to have Slovakia in the EU, that a German chancellor would to have Germany in the EU. Anything other than that they will not ask from me because I will not fulfill anything other than that,” Nikolić explained.

He pointed out that he highly appreciated everything Slovakia did for Serbia, especially when it comes to Serbia’s EU pathway and recognition of Kosovo’s independence, adding that this “makes Serbia’s job easier”.

The Serbian president said he did not expect the EU to ask Serbia to recognize Kosovo as a condition for the EU accession.

“The EU has said that it is not interested in Kosovo’s independence, that it is not a condition. So, let’s see. I guess they are not going to pressure us on one side and say ‘we are not pressuring them and we do not need such a condition’ on the other,” Nikolić stressed.

When asked about Serbia’s reputation after wars in the 90s, he said that he did not accept a “stereotype about Serbs as bad people” and that the “EU could not use the stereotype when it decides on Serbia”.

“Anyone who wants to reject us will have to come up with a better way. Nobody in the world believes anymore that we were criminals, meaning they believe that if there were criminals on our side, there must have been criminals on the other side as well,” the president said and added that the wars were over and that they would not repeat.

Nikolić concluded that Serbia was preparing to be a peaceful leader in the Balkans and to be “one of the EU’s backbone-countries that does not need much but that wants to give a lot so security would be greater”.