"Raid won't be staged to arrest Seselj" - PM

Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said late on Tuesday that "nobody will be arresting Vojislav Seselj in a surprise raid."

Source: Beta, Tanjug

After his ruling SNS party held a meeting of its Presidency in Belgrade, he told journalists not to expect such an arrest operation to happen, and stressed the government on Tuesday received information about Seselj's health and was now "waiting to see how things will further unfold."

"We'll wait to see what the (Hague) Appeals Chamber has concluded, to see first of all what they are demanding from us," Vucic said.

"Remember they packed him up and sent him to us," he said, in reference to the Hague Tribunal's Trial Chamber's decision last November to grant Seselj provisional release on medical grounds.

"Initially they asked that we spy on him, see where he eats, where he sleeps... they only caused problems for Serbia by releasing Seselj. Now we'll see what new things they demand of us."

Vucic once again stated that the Hague's decision to set Seselj free - after more than 11 years in custody without a verdict - had the goal of "bringing down the government, the SNS, and its approval rating."

"Despite that, Serbia will do all it can to preserve full political and economic stability," he said.

As for the decision of the Appeals Chamber to order the Trial Chamber to revoke its decision to release Seselj and have him back in custody, Vucic said he found it unexpected and surprising, and remarked that "only Minister Aleksandar Vulin guessed right what was happening."

"He alone realized their goal was to bring down the government and its rating, and the SNS, and nothing more."

Vucic then revealed that he "did not know how Vulin guessed that - but it turns out he either knew more than I did, or was smarter."

According to the prime minister, "Serbia represents competition to many countries in the region and in the European market, so many thought that reforms in our country would fail, therefore the various forms of pressure are not accidental."

When journalists insisted that he make a statement on whether or not Seselj will be arrested, Vucic said this issue "has not been discussed yet, because the government has not received any official information about his return to the Hague."

"We found out from the website, like you did," Vucic said, stressing that "once they send us something, we too will send them something."

Asked about the health of Seselj, who is suffering from cancer, the prime minister said, "I am not a doctor."

"Political pressure"

The Serb Progressive Party (SNS) will hold a Main Board session on April 17 to take decisions on economic reforms, as well as decisions in light of political pressures from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Hague Tribunal," Tanjug reported on Tuesday.

After the SNS Presidency, meeting, Aleksandar Vucic told reporters at the party headquarters that the body discussed the current political situation and the work of the Serbian government and other executive authorities over the past year.

"We analyzed what has been done so far and discussed ways of proceeding with our activities in light of the important and difficult economic reforms that Serbia has undertaken, but also in light of significant and growing political pressures that Serbia has come under, in particular with regard to political - not legal - pressures coming from the ICTY," Vucic said.


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