PM wants "people who think differently" in cabinet

The current government has a historic opportunity to "create a modern country out of Serbia," Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has said.

Source: RTS, Tanjug
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He told the state broadcaster RTS late on Monday that was satisfied with his associates, but "expected the team to be extended with people who think differently."

As an example, he mentioned Sonja Liht and Ivan Vejvoda, saying that these were the persons "who can contribute to an improved image of Serbia."

"I talk to them in a decent manner, it's not hard for me to say I am guilty and I did something wrong, but I'm trying to, through work and diligence and sincere dedication, achieve results," said he, and described "responsibility, serious approach and work" as his"personal satisfaction."

Vucic then revealed that "he personally has no interest in holidays," and that, in fact, "almost nothing else except the results at the end" interests him.

The prime minister quoted Roosevelt as saying there were "those who criticize and find fault with everything, who claim they would always do better, and nobody is doing anything," and also Picasso, who, according to Vucic, once said that "anyone who wants to learn something and do it will always find a way." Vucic added that he "does not want excuses."

However, he admitted that the government "has no plan on the number of civil servants" and added that this was his cabinet's "only weak point."

Vucic described the Smederevo steel plant Zelezara as "the backbone of industrial Serbia."

"This is a bigger event in Serbia than any other. We never organize any kind of celebration, I don't even celebrate after victory in local elections, but if (the sale of) Zelezara is successfully finished, it will be very important for Serbia," said Vucic.

He also told the state television said that he would like "Germany, France, and Italy to be for Serbia what Germany was for Croatia" when it comes to joining the European Union - and added that another country he would "try" to add to this list was Britain.

"Serbia's position was strengthened precisely because these countries strongly defended the interests of Serbia even when demarches on various issues were delivered to us, one of these countries has always sided with Serbia," Vucic said.

"I am very grateful to them for that," he said.

Serbia, he added, is on the European path, but wants to retain best traditional relations with Russia, and that he "hoped the Serbian government will succeed in that."

He revealed he was "angry" at those who wish to see "the Ukrainian scenario in Serbia" because that would destroy the country.

"We will protect the interests of Serbia and that is my answer to all of them," the prime minister said.

Vucic said he did not speak with the leader of the Serb Radical Party (SRS) Vojislav Seselj since his release from the Hague Tribunal, "but would have no problem to do so," and added that he does not expect the court to demand Seselj's arrest.

Vucic said that as the prime minister he "tried to protect Serbian citizens in The Hague" and that the government "gave all that was asked of it."

Both Vucic and Tomislav Nikolic were high ranking officials of the SRS before they in 2008 left to form the Progressives (SNS) amid political acrimony with Seselj. In a recent interview Seselj spoke negatively about Nikolic, but praised Vucic for his work ethics. When asked to comment on this, Vucic said he "had not heard the criticism of Nikolic."

"I never heard that Toma Nikolic is lazy. It's like if I said Seselj's education was on the level of (opposition MPs) Sutanovac and Zivkovic. Forgive me, but is not. I think very badly about his politics today, it is the policy of the past, but I cannot be a liar and not say that he is at least ten times more educated than those lecturing and insulting us every day," said Vucic.

Asked whether Serbia's decision not to join western sanctions against Russia was "the reason why Seselj was released," Vucic said he "does not want to deal with this issue" and added that an answer should be provided by those who let him go - " and also to the question why they had not let him go sooner."

"If there was a reason for the release, he should have been released sooner," concluded Vucic.

He also strongly condemned an attack on DS councilors in Mionica during early local elections on Sunday and said something of the kind "must never be repeated."

"There should have been a stronger reaction to it yesterday," he added.

Asked why elections are accompanied by tensions even in small towns Vucic said this was true "only where there is the Democratic Party (DS)."

"The DS did not collected signatures and did not participate in the elections," he said, adding that "there was no problem, for example, in Lucani, where the SNS fared worse than in Mionica."

He also criticized "some media" because "when something needs to be said against President Tomislav Nikolic all is permitted, but not against those who ruled for 15 years, that is, leader of the Democratic Party Bojan Pajtic who has been in power for 11 years."

"There is talk of a cabinet reshuffle without me carrying out one," he remarked.

Apparently in reference to the reshuffle earlier this year of the provincial government of Vojvodina, headed by Pajtic, the prime minister said it was "a merry-go-round that was so idiotic and good for nothing, that you don't even know the names of the people."

The prime minister also said he was on good terms with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic adding, "as long as Ivica Dacic is in the government, that means he has my trust."

Vucic said that his relations with Nikolic were good, that they speak about all problems while they "may not always think the same," but are friends. Vucic said he was upset by the campaigns conducted against Nikolic and his family.

Asked if he could "protect Nikolic from these attacks", Vucic wondered how he would do this, "when his own brother was beaten by the police."

"Let them hit us, we are here to receive the blows, it is our job care about Serbia," said Vucic.

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