PM vows to fight crime "even more mercilessly"

BELGRADE -- Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dačić said on Monday in Belgrade that there was "no reason to challenge the current government".

Ivica Dačić (Beta, file)
Ivica Dačić (Beta, file)

He stressed once again that he "never met with any individual who had been pointed out to him as being involved in crime" and that his fight against crime "would be even more merciless than before".

"They said before as well that I would protect this or that businessmen or criminal and where are they now? They are all in jail, and all those who I know, but turn out to be guilty will end up in jail too. And the fact that I know them is not protection for them, but a handicap, because I will be even more merciless towards them, since they betrayed my trust," Dačić told a new conference after a meeting with President of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Council of Ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda.

The prime minister would not take any questions, making instead his statement for the press.

He stressed he had received no information from any government agencies that some of the individuals he was in contact with were known criminals, adding that his communication with them had never violated the national interest.

"Neither protection nor information was given," he underscored.

"I have said honestly everything I had to say about the attacks I have been exposed to recently, which were many, from the most primitive to the most underhanded and dirty. One thing is for certain, I have never met with people identified as criminals. My communications have never been in opposition to the national and security interest," he emphasized.

The prime minister's statements come as opposition parties are asking for him to resign, and some media reports allege that evidence exists that he was aware that Rodoljub Radulović was a member of the Šarić crime gang.

According to Dačić, the current government has taken up very difficult tasks in difficult circumstances and reached significant results in the past six months.

Dačić quoted "a foreign prime minister" in saying that he "expected more from the current government than from God".

"It is the same with us, striving towards the EU while protecting our national interest, trying to get the start date for the accession talks, having negotiations with our greatest opponent, (Hashim) Thaci, stopping the economic plunge, making sure the country can pay its debts in time and is open for investments. I can say the government has achieved significant results in all segments," he stated.

There is no reason connected to interior or foreign policy to challenge this government, he said.

"Even those who call themselves pro-European have nothing to object for, because Serbia's relations with the EU and other countries of the world are better than before. Serbia is on the verge of getting the start date for the accession talks with the EU. On the other hand, we have not abandoned the national interest in terms of Kosovo. With all that in mind, any interruption to the process would go against Serbia's interest. We carry on with our work," he concluded.