Vucic "expects EU response, comprehensive solution"
Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic spoke for CNN twice last night, after his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington.Source: Tanjug
He pointed out that the dramatic events at the Horgos border crossing between Serbia and Hungary "point to the urgent need of a comprehensive solution and, in particular, an appropriate response of the EU to what happened."
Vucic said Hungarian police threw tear gas at refugees who were in the Serbian territory, and that they beat refugees and journalists from Serbia's public broadcaster, adding he "hopes that will not happen again" and reiterating that Serbia was "doing its best and expects a comprehensive solution from the EU."
"And I insisted on that in the talks with Kerry," he said.
Vucic described as "a disgraceful event" the fact Hungarian police threw teargas at refugees and beat RTS journalists on the border at Horgos.
"I am astonished by what happened," said the prime minister, and added: "We have warned our Hungarian colleagues not to repeat it again."
He explained he "saw no reason for such a reaction" and reiterated that Serbia "treated refugees in the best possible way, showed solidarity and tolerance, provided them medical assistance."
As he said, they are being registered in Serbia, where their fingerprints are also taken.
"We've done our job, everything other countries before us did not. We have accepted all the values of the European Union and we act in accordance with them and now we are faced with such a terrible situation where Serbian journalists are beaten by Hungarian police for no apparent reason," the prime minister added.
Asked "what response Serbia received from Hungary to the warning not to use teargas and water cannons," Vucic said that the Serbian interior minister was "in constant contact with his Hungarian counterpart" and that he "hopes the problems have been overcome and that such a thing would not repeat."
"I hope they will respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity. Otherwise, we will have to protect ourselves on our side," said Vucic, and added that Serbia "seeks answers from the EU to these questions."
According to him, "someone in the EU must say what this comprehensive solution for the migrant and refugee crisis is, and say what our fault is, what we or somebody else did wrongly."
Vucic said the September 22 EU meeting at the highest level will be "important" - but also noted that "a lot of time remains until this meeting" and that "urgent action is needed."
Answering questions, he said he was "very concerned" and that his job was "to take care of his country, its citizens and interests."
Vucic reiterated that the EU "should express its opinion on what happened and why teargas was thrown to our territory, why our journalists were beaten," and that "answers should be found to this."
"We are not afraid of anyone, but we want to see what happened and who was responsible. I expect a very strong reaction from the EU to all that happened (at Horgos)," repeated the prime minister.
Asked whether that event is viewed as a violation of the territory of Serbia, Vucic said that the event, "whatever we call it," was disgraceful, and then added, "We will do everything to overcome it."
"We have excellent relations with Hungary and we have invested a lot of effort to make them even better in the future, but this must not happen again," said Vucic, and added:
"Otherwise, this will cause a major catastrophe in the whole region and I am not only warning the people who caused it, but the whole of the EU, because everything that happened is not our fault, it's theirs, because they did not react in the right way and in time, and now we have to deal with something with what we do not know how to deal with," he said.
The prime minister also stated that "migrants are being talked with" and that there are "attempts to convince them to go to a reception center in Kanjiza (northern Serbia), to change their route, but they are not accepting these proposals and want to move on via Hungary."
"What we can do is talk to our Hungarian colleagues in order for them to calm the situation and to see that such things never happen again. Otherwise, I cannot predict anything, the situation is strange, we must respond in a very serious and responsible way, and I hope that we will have the answers from European officials," Vucic concluded.