Vučić for CNN: Serbs have been shot at five times; "People determined to fight"
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić spoke on CNN about the situation in Kosovo and Metohija.
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Foto: EPA-EFE/NOEMI BTUZAK HUNGARY OUT
We remind you that on Monday, Serb protests began in three municipalities in the north of Kosovo and Metohija, in which citizens demand that special police units be withdrawn from the north and that citizens who are employed be given access to the facility. Pristina's response was to send special forces, which, with the help of KFOR, caused incidents in which more than 50 Serbs were injured.
Before the beginning of the address of the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, CNN editors reminded that Serbia has never recognized the fake state of Kosovo and that there is an agreement between the temporary institutions of Pristina and Serbia that was never implemented.
They reminded that the Serb protest was due to elections in which Serbs did not even vote and in which Albanian mayors were elected in majority Serb municipalities, as well as two conditions set by the Serbs.
President Vučić commented on Albin Kurti's statement in which he accused Belgrade and the "fascist militia" of riots.
"That says more about him than about us. Your guest talked about an agreement that was not implemented. The Serbs did, but they did not fulfill the agreement, they had two important things, Kosovo had to form the CSM, they did not deliver, they are not doing it and they don't want to do it, and the second issue is the elections," said Vučić.
"He calls 97 percent of the people in the north fascists, criminals, extreme nationalists, blackmailed or bribed people. What actually happened? Serbs are looking for safety and security for their families and themselves. And since Kurti came to power, we have recorded 353 ethnic attacks on Serbs, and that is the highest number of attacks on Serbs since 2008, when they illegally declared independence," said Vučić and added:
"Just since the beginning of this year, we have had five shootings where the victims were Serbs. Six including the one yesterday. I include the two children who were wounded."
When asked whether Serbia requested a boycott of the elections, Vučić said:
"No, it was their decision. Then we agreed, so the people voted four times. There was never a problem. And when Kurti came to power, he banned Serbs to vote in the referendum and in the elections. But more importantly, he did not form the CSM, which is the main condition for Serbs to participate in local and parliamentary elections at all".
When asked how to de-escalate the situation, Vučić said that he constantly called on the Serbs to be calm, and that he did everything to stabilize the situation.
"We also regret that the KFOR soldiers were injured, and we made that clear. Serbs are protesting peacefully. Doctors, nurses, professors are all protesting peacefully. Did someone blackmail those people? No, they just want ROSU to withdraw, and the illegal mayors to withdraw," he said.
The president says that Belgrade does not have any control over the protesters but points out that they will always respect the decision of their country.
"What we can do with our international partners is to achieve stability in the region. Serbia is 50 percent of the economy of the Western Balkans. We don't need any escalation, we need peace. That's why I launched the Open Balkans initiative," said Vučić.
When asked by the presenter whether Serbia is ready to recognize the independence of Kosovo, the president clearly pointed out that independence is not on the table, and that in Ohrid and in Brussels they talked about normalization, not recognition.
"We only acknowledge the UN Charter, and that's all we acknowledge. But we're always ready to discuss compromise solutions. And that's what we've always done. The real question is why someone wants to escalate the situation. I've heard you say in various media how "Serbia will attack someone on Putin's order. And of course, that didn't happen," said the president.
Vučić stated that he was satisfied with Blinken's statements, and added that Macron's statement was also a good assessment of the situation.
"Speaking about our obligations: we adhered 100 percent to the Kumanovo Agreement, and in accordance with Resolution 1244. We have not sent any soldiers to Kosovo, nor have we violated any agreements. We are strict on this issue, and we constantly have good conversations with KFOR soldiers. So far, I have had 1,000 consultations with Stoltenberg, and I hope that we will maintain that level of communication," said Vučić.
The president also pointed out that the fraternity of the Dečani monastery praised the Italian contingent of KFOR, which protected the great sanctuary for almost 20 years.
"People in the north are determined to fight peacefully for their rights. They just want to survive, to keep their names and surnames, to keep their faith. To live where they have always used to live. My request is that they do everything peacefully, to preserve peace and stability for all. We need to talk with the Albanians in order to reach agreements in the future. But once again I call on international organizations to take action against those who are stubborn, take dangerous actions on the ground, and bring into jeopardy peace and stability of the whole region", President Vucic concluded.