President receives army chief in wake of accusations
President Tomislav Nikolic believes that "attacks on the (army) chief of staff" are an attempt to "humiliate everything good done in Serbia" recently.Source: Tanjug
Nikolic received General Ljubisa Dikovic on Friday morning in the Presidency, a day after it the Humanitarian Law Center (FHP) NGO accused the Serbian Army (VS) chief of being responsible for war crimes.
Nikolic said that the Dikovic was an honorable officer and that the attacks on him sought to discredit and destabilize the army.
The attacks are aimed at undermining everything good that has been done in Serbia in the last two and a half years, the president said.
"The Serbian Army is definitely an institution that enjoys great trust of the citizens. It has established excellent cooperation with armies worldwide, and its members, who are serving in the international missions in numerous countries, are achieving only top results," Nikolic said.
"We must not forget how the army helped to save the lives and property of people during the last year's catastrophic floods that hit Serbia," he said.
Nikolic underlined that for this reason it is clear "that this insidious campaign against the VS, which began last year after a major parade marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade in World War II, will not manage to shake the citizens' trust in their army".
The president said that obviously the fact that Serbia is becoming a modern, developed country is contrary to the interests of certain groups of people that lament for the times when corruption and autocracy were flourishing, because they had many benefits back then, while the living conditions of the citizens worsened.
"That is the reason why they want to provoke instability in Serbia at all costs and return it to the chaos from which it has begun to emerge. This is precisely the goal of the orchestrated attacks on numerous state institutions, and now on the Serbian Army as well," Nikolic underscored.
A similar position regarding the controversy was voiced yesterday by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic.
During their meeting on Friday, Nikolic and Dikovic also said the Serbian Army was "performing its regular activities in line with the highest possible standards."
First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said Friday that political stability was one of the basic conditions for Serbia’s progress and any attempt at damaging the reputation and credibility of the Serbian Armed Forces (VS) was an act against the prosperity of the country.
Dacic said that “perpetuating the never proved accusations against the chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic, causes great harm to the Armed Forces and the government.”
“These attacks are aimed at weakening the Serbian Armed Forces and the government, and even regional stability,” Dacic said, quoted in a release by the Foreign Ministry.
“I have always believed that there is no strong Serbia without a strong, reputable and respected military. The Serbian Army is one of the pillars of Serbia’s stability, but also an important factor of regional peace and stability," said Dacic.
The Humanitarian Law Center said on Thursday it had documents to prove that Chief of the VS General Staff, Gen. Ljubisa Dikovic, had responsibility in war crimes in Kosovo.
The Defense Ministry has rejected the accusations and said that they were calculated attacks, the same claims they made public in 2011, when Dikovic was appointed as chief of the General Staff.
“Such accusations were the reason why General Dikovic filed charges against the FHP and its then director, Natasa Kandic, in 2012, and this lawsuit is still ongoing,” the release said.