PM: Priština "directly obstructing" deal

Ivica Dačić says Priština’s decision to ban him from entering Kosovo during the local elections campaign was "directly obstructing" the Brussels agreement.

Source: B92, Tanjug

Speaking on Friday in Belgrade, the Serbian prime minister stressed that he was "not blackmailing in any way the European Union" with his position on this subject.

Speaking during a joint news conference with visiting Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, Dačić said that he had received announcements that Priština would make the decision, and that he notified the EU delegation chief about this, as well as representatives of the "Quint" countries.

"Some representatives of EU countries have sent me the message that I cannot blackmail the European Union. People, come to your senses! We have been prohibited from entering Kosovo, first decide on that, and then you will deal easily with my blackmail. There is no blackmail. You should conduct the dialogue with someone who can go to Kosovo," Dačić said.

He noted that top European officials had urgently reacted to "some bans brought in Serbia recently," but that "nobody has yet reacted to this."

"If this is normal as far as the European Union is concerned, I no longer have any interest to take part in it," said Dačić.

Dačić pointed out that Serbia was committed to peace and dialogue, but that "nobody can humiliate it."

It is, however, in Serbia’s best interest for the negotiating process to continue, he noted.

“The European Commission has not yet commented on this. Enough of this approach. We in the government for the sake of the state interest risked our lives and careers and now somebody's supposed to humiliate us and make this kind of decision. In case somebody doesn't understand - thisis a direct obstruction of the Brussels agreement."

Dačić then said that he had accepted the invitation by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to come "and discuss all the problems in Brussels on Monday."

"I will not allow anyone to humiliate me. Let them look for somebody else for the negotiations, I hope this will not be my last trip to Brussels for the dialogue, but if it is - I won't really miss it," said the prime minister.

Dačić said that the purpose of his visit to Kosovo, which was to take place in the Serb enclave of Štrpce on Friday afternoon, was to call on local Serbs to participate in the elections called by Priština, that will be held according to Priština's rules, and added:

“We believe that this decision is directed against the Brussels agreement and the issue has brought Brussels’ credibility, not just mine, into question. I am worthy of sitting next to Catherine Ashton, but I cannot go to Kosovo and Metohija? That is nsulting toward Ashton as well."

He then noted that "Kosovo Minister Flora Citaku visited Belgrade," and said the issue was one of "principles."

"Either we are taking part in something honestly and openly, or it's all just empty talk," Dačić said, and stressed that "all he expects" was for what has been agreed to be implemented, that he did not wish to go to Kosovo "secretly or by force" - and that he, as prime minister, "respected procedures."


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