Serbs in Kosovo urged not to sell their property

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has called on Serbs in Kosovo not to sell their property and told them the state "will be with them and help them."

Source: Beta
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Vucic today visited Pasjane where he opened a maternity ward. This is the first visit of a Serbian prime minister to the Kosovo-Pomoravlje District since 1999.

"The government of Serbia has not forgotten and will not forget you. We intend that to open our offices here and in Gracanica and Kosovska Mitrovica," he told the several thousand people who greeted him with applause and Serbian flags.

Vucic said that "greater presence of Serbian institutions in Kosovo was needed, as well as investments."

Vucic added that the Serbian government was committed to peace and stability, and that Serbs should have good relations with the "Albanian neighbors."

"Serbia has always thrived in peace," the prime minister said.

He added that while "harsh words were maybe expected" from him, he would not say them, "because things are not resolved with a hot heart, but a cool head."

Vucic was accompanied by Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic, Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic, Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, Minister of Health Zlatibor Loncar and the Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Affairs, Veterans Aleksandar Vulin, as well as Government Office for Kosovo Director Marko Djuric.

According to the prime minister, the fact that six ministers traveled to Pasjane was "a message that the state is with the Serbs in Kosovo."

Vucic later arrived in Strpce where he once again appealed on Serbs not to sell their houses and farms, to stay in Kosovo and Metohija, while the government and the state "will do everything they can to ensure the conditions for a normal life and a better future."

"The government of Serbia will neither forget, nor abandon Strpce or other Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija," said he told the citizens gathered in front of the municipal building.

"I know that Albanians will offer big money for your homes and property and please do not sell your homes. This is the only way to keep them. You are the ones who guard and defend your country, who are defending our future by preserving your homes in Kosovo and Metohija," said Vucic.

According to him, the government has ahead of it "difficult conversations and negotiations with the Pristina authorities in Brussels" that will concern "many issues, including property."

"We need to make sure you can sleep calmly, and think about how you can work. I am quite sure that if you consider it with a cool head, you know it's best for you and the children and the country. Please continue to guard and to love your country, but above all, your homes," said Vucic.

He added that Serbs in Kosovo would this year receive more assistance from the state.

He expressed satisfaction over seeing "a large number of children welcoming him in Strpce," which shows, as he said, that there is a future and that it is worth investing in Strpce, Kosovo and Metohija, and Serbia.

To the Serbs participating in the Kosovo government Vucic said they "did not enter it to get rich but to make the Serb people in Kosovo somewhat richer."

"We do not want to go to war with Albanians, but to live together", underlined Vucic, saying that he "knew that different words would resonate better" - but that it was "his job to secure the life, work and survival of Serbs in their homes" while "nobody saw any good from inflammatory rhetoric and heavy words."

Vucic was welcomed in Strpce with Serbian flags and applause, and was also accompanied by Serb members of the government in Pristina Branimir Stojanovic, Aleksadar Jablanovic, and Ljubomir Maric.

At the entrance to Strpce, "a group of young people" gathered and protested against his visit, the Beta agency reported, and added that Albanian flags were displayed in some parts of of the road leading to the enclave.

Vucic's visits to the two towns passed without incident amid tight security. He was also scheduled to travel to Gracanica later during the day.

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