Tadić: Solution together with Albanians

President Boris Tadić says that Serbia has a policy of strengthening on the road of EU integrations without giving up on the defense of the country's integrity.

Source: Politika

"This increases the chances that Serbia will, after the International Court of Justice decision, which we believe will be in our favor, return to the negotiating table and redefine the question of the future status of Kosovo, in good faith and without endangering anyone," Tadić told the Belgrade daily Politika in an interview published today.

Sooner or later, he continued, "we must sit down and talk with the legitimate Kosovo Albanian representatives".

"Those international factors that are incessantly repeating that the issue of Kosovo's independence is a done deal, in fact know very well that the Albanians will sooner or later have to sit down with us and find a sustainable and compromise solution for the future status of the province," Tadić said.

"We wish to find a solution with the Albanians, because there is no one else to find it with. And for this reason, all those who are against any kind of talks with the Albanian representatives in Kosovo and Metohija must offer a logical answer: who will solve this problem if not the Serbs and Albanians who live in Kosovo."

Tadić also told the newspaper that Serbia has made no changes to the state policy that includes maintaining the country's integrity, respect of Resolution 1244 and that any civil or military mission in Kosovo must be defined by the UN Security Council.

At the same time, he added, Resolution 1244 has been confirmed once again in the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's recent report on Kosovo.

"I remind you that the criticism is being leveled by those people who four years ago accused me of withholding the names of Zoran Đinđić's killers. Those people said in a court process, after those beastly accusations, that they only did it for the benefit of their political campaign. Now the same people, the same parties, were saying that we had recognized the independence of Kosovo by signing the Stabilization and Association Agreement," Tadić, who is also the leader of the Democrats (DS), said of his political opponents.

"That was only a few months ago. If we did recognize Kosovo and Metohija's independence, why did the world negotiate with Serbia over the six points, why was Serbia, which according to the opposition has recognized Kosovo's independence, a crucial factor in these negotiations? Clearly they were saying untruths then, misleading citizens and introducing fear that someone had secretly recognized Kosovo. The same lies are repeated now."

Tadić said that the state policy of Serbia is active and does not stray from the basic principles that were defined in previous years, when it comes to the issue of preserving the country's integrity.

For this reason, according to him, no one can accuse Serbia of obstructing the international political process related to Kosovo.

"No one can accuse Serbia of being a factor of instability in the region, and no one in Serbia or abroad can say that her integrity in Kosovo and Metohija was at any point given up on. Ban Ki-moon, the EU's presidential statement do not say that, the EU Council of Ministers will not say that, and I in my message to the UN and EU am not saying that," he continued.

Tadić explained that the first phase of this active policy was to seek the ICJ's opinion on the legality of Kosovo Albanians' unilaterally declared independence, while the second was to, through the six-point plan, create conditions for EULEX to deploy in Kosovo in line with the standards and principles contained in Resolution 1244, and the mission's status neutrality that overrides the Ahtisaari plan.

Asked how the UN SC decisions will reflect on the country's EU perspective, Tadić said that one year ago "no one could have imagined that we would succeed in finding a path that leads us toward European integrations and preserves our capacity to defend Kosovo".

"When I said in the elections that our policy is both Kosovo and EU, that is precisely what I meant. But, back then, we could not come forward in public with all the measures that we intended to undertake, because in politics, you can't quite always reveal in advance what you plan to do. I am very satisfied that we are at the end of a political cycle that was started at the beginning of last year."

Tadić described this as "objectively, Serbia's great political success".

The president also addressed the issue of Kosovo's partition, and said that although the recent UN SC decision on the reconfiguration of UNMIK and deployment of EULEX provides for two regimes of administration – one in Serb and other in Albanian majority areas – "a partition of the province is not a topic for Serbia and is not on the agenda at all".

"Those who are speaking about partition, that would leave northern Kosovo in Serbia, and all the rest to the Albanians, seem to be oblivious to the fact that most Serbs live in southern and central parts of Kosovo, and that our greatest cultural and holy places are in central and southern Kosovo," he said.

"We have repeated this so many times for everyone: Serbia wishes a compromise solution that is acceptable to both sides, and will not accept a solution that would see one side, the Albanian, gain everything, while the Serb side loses all," Tadić concluded.


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