“No abolition of institutions without deal on new ones”

BELGRADE -- Serbian PM Ivica Dačić says Serbia will not abolish its institutions in Kosovo without an internationally guaranteed agreement on their replacement.

Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)
Ivica Dačić (Tanjug, file)

“We are trying to define autonomy of Serbs in Kosovo. This is autonomy within autonomy to us,” he told Belgrade-based Pink TV.

“We want forming of a community of Serb municipalities with clear authorities – education, judiciary, police that will have relations with the Priština authorities and with Belgrade as well,” Dačić explained.

He reiterated that the situation was very difficult and that Serbia “loses sovereignty and basic markings of the statehood in Kosovo every day” and that the Serbian institutions were not very present in Kosovo.

When asked about Germany’s stance and Serbia’s chances of getting a date for the beginning of the EU accession negotiations, the prime minister said that there were certain “circles” in the international community that believed that it was the right moment to pressure Serbia “because it is ready to give more because of the date” and that the next favorable moment to pressure Serbia, the EU accession, was too far away.

“I think it is a completely wrong approach. In order for the dialogue to be successful, we need good news, not pressure and negative news. This would be a way to ‘kill’ the dialogue, not to contribute that the dialogue brings results because Serbia should not be pressured anymore,” he said.

Dačić noted that Serbia was looking for a sustainable solution for Kosovo that would allow Serbia not to recognize Kosovo’s independence and clearly define the position of the Serbian people and organization of their political life.

The prime minister said on Friday that the “most difficult part of the negotiations with Priština lies ahead”.

He stressed that Serbia would not abolish its institutions in Kosovo.

“This is an absolutely incorrect interpretation of anything that the government intends to do. The Serbian government and I as a person who directly talks and leads the dialogue, will adhere to the Resolution and Platform of the Serbian parliament. I do not know if the people have read the Platform, if anyone is getting the essence of Serbia’s proposal,” Dačić said.

He will continue the talks with Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci on February 18 in Brussels.

The PM pointed out that Belgrade’s proposal did not mean that Serbia should dismantle its institutions and make Serbs integrate into the Priština institutions.

He added that this was a “transitional solution” that could be acceptable to Albanians as well.

“The question is whether Priština will accept it. If Priština does not want it, Serbia certainly will not abolish its institutions. But it is absolutely unacceptable to us that Serbs should fully join Priština’s institutions without any institutions of their own,” Dačić said.

He reiterated that “there is no going back” and wondered what could be alternative to Belgrade’s current policy.

“Are we maybe going to take back sovereignty in Priština with military force? We are not going to because we cannot do it at the moment. We are not fighting Priština but NATO, even the EU, that is sometimes on Priština’s side, not Belgrade's. This is not a one-on-one conflict, Serbia cannot go against a large part of the international community on its own and our friends are far away to help us in conflicts that take place here,“ the prime minister underscored.