PM at UNSC: Serbs in Kosovo live in ghettos

Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said that the basic premises for normal life have not been established in Kosovo to this day,

Source: Tanjug

He stressed Serbia's commitment to reconciliation between the different peoples living in Kosovo and to providing a better everyday life for all.

Belgrade is adamant in its decision not to recognize the forcible and illegal in terms of international law secession of Kosovo and its unilateral declaration of independence, but that is now no obstacle to talks and the increasingly intensive communication with Pristina, he told the UN Security Council on Thursday.

This is mostly because the Serbian government wants peace and stability, solutions through dialogue and free movement of people, commodities and positive ideas throughout the region, he stressed.

Serbia wants for the Serbs in Kosovo the same thing it wants for the Albanians, a normal life, work, safety, communication and unimpeded movement, he stated.

That is why the Serbian government thinks everything Serbia has done in the past two years to spread and promote these views deserves attention, recognition and support, mostly because Serbia's desire, which is peace and cooperation in the Balkans, is the only way for the region to become an equal part of Europe, by not being different in any way, he remarked.

He called on the international community to take very seriously the conclusions of head of the EULEX Special Investigative Task Force Clint Williamson, which said that enough evidence had been gathered to raise indictments against Kosovo Liberation Army leaders responsible for persecution against the Serbs, Roma and other non-Albanians, as well as the Kosovo Albanians themselves.

The Serbian government's objections to the situation in the Kosovo judiciary gain particular strength after the appearance of serious suspicions of corruption among high-ranking EULEX officials, which include accepting bribery in order to drop dozens of criminal cases against Kosovo Albanians and fabricating evidence in the increasingly nonsensical case against Serb leader in northern Kosovo Oliver Ivanovic, he underscored.

Commenting on UNMIK Chief Farid Zarif's report on the situation in Kosovo, he said that Kosovo still lacked the basic premises for normal life, and that now, more than 15 years since the arrival of the international forces there, it was necessary for the Security Council to discuss how to secure the basic conditions needed for normal life, mostly for the Serbs and other non-Albanians.

That is why Serbia believes it is still necessary to strengthen UNMIK's role in the areas where the mission still holds jurisdiction.

He emphasized also that the life of the Serbs in all parts of Kosovo demanded attention as well.

Serbs in enclaves throughout Kosovo live quietly and modestly and they struggle in modern world ghettos, to the shame of Europe and the world, he added.

Vucic pointed out a number of problems, including the difficulties faced by former members of the Serbian police when joining the Kosovo police.

He also pointed to Kosovo Albanians' attempts to usurp land and build homes without construction permits in order to change the ethnic structure in Kosovo.

Vucic listed also problems related to security and freedom of movement for the Serbs, adding that they were often not able to celebrate their religious holidays properly and visit the graves of their loved ones, but he also noted an issue within the Ground Safety Zone, along the administrative border between Kosovo and central Serbia.

According to Vucic, Pristina has not taken any steps yet to fulfill its obligations in key areas, mostly related to the laws on amnesty, budget and local government.

The Serbian government is deeply concerned over the incidents caused continuously by Kosovo Albanians, which are meant to prevent the Serbs' and other non-Albanians' from returning to their homes.

The situation with the protection of cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo is especially worrying, he noted, listing graffiti by the Islamic State that were sprayed inside the compound of the Visoki Decani monastery as an example.

Vucic commented also on the incident at the October football match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade, stressing that Serbia had not caused the incident, but Albanian fans.

He stated that one could only imagine what would have happened had such a thing occurred in another country, adding that Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama visited Belgrade after the match.

Vucic concluded his address to the Security Council by saying that Serbia could be counted on as a pillar of stability and, very soon, as a modern and successful country.

"Committed to dialogue"

Belgrade is firmly committed to continuing its active and constructive involvement in the discussions with Pristina on all levels, as well as to the implementation of agreements reached so far, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said.

Addressing the UN Security Council in New York late Thursday, Vucic said that Serbia is ready for a continuation of the process because dialogue is the only way to make come true the fundamental wish - peace in the Balkans as the basis for its development.

Even after an entire century of conflicts, wars, victims.., with regards to ethnic Albanians, this government has made a step forward that can most certainly be called historic - this government has chosen dialogue rather than conflict, solutions rather than problems and, most importantly, life rather than death, Vucic said.

We want a normal, decent and orderly Serbia, and we are aware that it is only possible in an environment that is exactly the same. It is clear to us that dialogue is the only way to that goal and we will do everything to ensure that it is continued in the very way that Serbia has promoted - by adopting solutions that make life for people in Kosovo and Metohija better, the prime minister said.

This, he said, will not keep Serbia from continuing to insist on its position that Kosovo's self-proclaimed independence is illegal but, probably for the first time in many years, the Serbian government's position on this issue is no obstacle to life in Kosovo and Metohija.

On the contrary, we are committed to that life, and we put it before all other interests, Vucic said.

The fact that Serbia is willing to talk does not mean that it is weak; the fact that we are constructive does not mean that Serbia is pliable; the fact that we believe does not mean that we are naive, Vucic said.

Vucic, however, noted that, for further discussions, Serbia needs a partner on the other side of the table and that, half a year after the elections, the bodies of executive authorities of the interim self-government institutions in Pristina have still not been formed.

We expect a government to be formed in the coming days, Vucic noted.

Despite the fact that there is still no government in Pristina, Belgrade has so far implemented a series of measures pursuant to the Brussels Agreement, Vucic said.

We have passed amendments to the law on higher education and a new decree on the cadaster to ensure full implementation of agreements reached in the corresponding areas, Vucic said.

Vucic expressed regret over the lack of progress in the implementation of the key part of the Brussels Agreement, which is related to the establishment of a community of Serb municipalities.

Politics

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