Serbia has no secret diplomacy, president says

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić has stated that once it is formed, the National Security Council will determine a Kosovo strategy.

Source: Danas, Tanjug

According to him, the Council will offer it to the government for adoption and then to the Serbian parliament.

Nikolić told daily Danas that he would appoint Defense Minister Aleksandar Vučić as secretary of the National Security Council when this becomes possible and in line with the law. The secretary will have an office in the Serbian Presidency building.

“There is no secret in Serbia or a secret diplomacy, most of all there is nothing secret about what Vučić and I are doing. Everything is done before the eyes of the public,” Nikolić was quoted as saying.

He said that the (security) services would not be controlled by the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), but rather the National Security Council which is chaired by the president of the republic.

According to him, what is different now is that the head of the president's office is no longer the secretary of the National Security Council, and that it is the president and not him that now runs the state.

When asked what kind of Kosovo consensus he advocates, Nikolić said that this depended on the point of view.

“Vučić is right, the government should reach a consensus on the issue. I am right in saying that this should go to the parliament afterward. If there are solutions which would entail changes to the Constitution, the citizens need to reach a consensus on that. There is order in everything, and things should start from the presidents of political parties,” the president said.

He added that he wanted to discuss the issue "with all those that have their representatives in the parliament," and that he waited for the government to be formed and the laws on ministries and security services to come into force so that the National Security Council could be set up.

"Consensus should be reached on crucial issues of national interest, because such issues are above individual, party and all other interests," Nikolić explained.

“The government has to carry out the agreements that have been reached with Priština and all the provisions of the agreements that are in line with the Serbian Constitution and which are good for Serbia,” he said.

When asked what he as the Serbian president offered to Kosovo Albanians, who were Serbian citizens according to Serbia’s Constitution, Nikolić said that the “offer is UN Security Council Resolution 1244 – the essential autonomy”.

“I will propose once we reach an agreement that they live like Germans in Italy or Germans in Belgium. There is no decision of the Belgian parliament without the Germans’ decision. Is that not enough? Why would they be a state, that is so pointless. Some people told me in London that China, Chinese Taipei and Chinese Hong Kong participated in the Olympics and I said that if the Priština authorities applied as Serbian Kosovo, they could compete in the Olympic Games,” he pointed out.

As far as the relations with the EU, Nikolić said that he was very realistic when it comes to that matter and that he knows "how much we need it (the EU) and how much we can do to join it."

"I believe that Europe is ready to admit Serbia and I do not expect any additional conditions for the gaining of the date for the start of accession talks," the president underscored.

He also underlined that he was not "very optimistic" about the start of the talks.

"I know how many obligations there are before us and I do not think that the government should try to get the date for the start of accession talks at any cost, as was the case with the previous one, and give a part of Serbia's sovereignty and jurisdictions to the temporary institutions in Priština," Nikolić said.

When asked if he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Serbia by the end of the year, Nikolić replied: "Of course, but maybe I will go to Russia before that."

"My goal is to visit many friendly countries, in the east, south, north and west, all in the interest of Serbia and its citizens," the Serbian president concluded.

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