Some in EU expect us to commit ritual suicide - Serbian FM

Ivica Dacic has told daily Vecernje Novosti that a "carrot" does not exist that would make Serbia willingly give up on Kosovo and Metohija.

Source: Vecernje novosti, Tanjug
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(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

It is hypocritical for some circles in Brussels to expect this historic harakiri from us, while they don't have a united position on the Kosovo issue inside the EU itself, Dacic stressed.

He also commented on Monday's continuation of the technical Belgrade-Pristina dialogue in Brussels, that will deal with the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO), stressing that that Serbia will not agree to any changes and rewrites of the previously signed agreement on the ZSO - something Kosovo Albanians are now insisting on.

If Brussels were to agree to such a thing, then the dialogue would not continue, Dacic added.

"They seem to suffer from amnesia over in Pristina, and are unaware that the Brussels agreement was signed by Hashim Thaci, Catherine Ashton, and myself, and that obligations of both sides are clearly spelled out in it," the minister said.

Recalling that the agreement in question was signed five years ago, Dacic said that Pristina strives to represents Serbs from northern Kosovo as a destabilizing factor, especially in the case of the murder of Oliver Ivanovic.

Asked whether we have already fallen into the trap of "a legally binding agreement" (with Pristina), Dacic said this was in fact a phrase that former EU Commissioner Stefan Fule came up with, the meaning of which is unknown to the EU itself - and offered as proof the fact Brussels has not specified any date for this "legally biding agreement" to be signed.

Dacic also observed that there was no consensus inside the EU when it comes to the status of Kosovo, and that for this reason, Brussels is not in a position to impose something on Belgrade, that the EU cannot agree on internally.

Asked whether we can finally start the story about Kosovo's final status, Dacic replied: "It is noticeable that in Pristina, they don't want dialogue about a lasting solution, because they think they have realized their state and that Belgrade only needs to agree with that."

Any changes to ZSO deal would spell end of Brussels agreement

In comments for Radio Belgrade made earlier, Ivica Dacic said that Belgrade will not allow changes to be made to the ZSO agreement that Pristina intends to propose.

Dacic emphasized that any amending of the agreement on the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) in Kosovo and Metohija was out of the question.

"Pristina is forgetting that the Brussels agreement was signed by then Prime Minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci, then High Representative of the European Union Catherine Ashton, and myself. It clearly defines what needs to be done and what the powers are. Pristina needs to clearly say whether it wants that or not. Any corrections are out of the question. If it is changed, the entire Brussels agreement will collapse," Dacic pointed out.

He assessed that Pristina was "playing with fire" because it does not realize that the Serbian factor at this time is a stabilizing factor in Kosovo and Metohija.

"Despite all the problems that exist, we (Serbs) are participating in the Kosovo government," Dacic reminded, adding that the real question was whether Pristina wants stability or not.

He noted that the formulation of "a legally binding agreement" (between Belgrade and Pristina) was invented by then EU official Stefan Fule at the time the Brussels agreement was adopted.

"He had the task of preparing some kind of document. He did not succeed in finding something that would be universally acceptable, as regards Kosovo and Metohija. Then he invented this 'legally binding agreement' and everyone consented, because no one knew what it was. And everyone is satisfied because everyone can interpret it in their own way," said the minister.

He added that, however, that "time is passing and something concrete should be done."

"But the new EU Enlargement Strategy also does not specify what that should be, even the year when it should be agreed on and signed, and it is only stated, 'urgently'. Why? Because there is a big disagreement within the EU as this is not a formulation of Belgrade, instead the European Union brought it in its documents," Dacic said, adding that this will remain a question that will continue to be discussed.

The minister also said that Pristina does not want to conduct a dialogue to find a a long-lasting solution because they think they have declared their state "and Belgrade only needs to recognize it."

Dacic thinks it is easier to talk about Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) with the current US administration than with their predecessors, because the people who are now at the helm of the United States were not active participants in the events in the region.

"They want a 'win-win' strategy, which means everyone should benefit. Americans do not want new problems to occur, and they very carefully listened to our initiatives for a permanent solution to the problem of Kosovo and Metohija," Dacic said.

As for those countries that have recognized the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo, he said their number was shrinking.

"Pristina authorities' information that Kosovo has been recognized by 116 states is a lie, because Nigeria, Uganda and Mali are on that list, but have not done so. The list also includes non-UN countries such as Cook Islands and Niue," the foreign minister said, and recalled that Surinam, Burundi and Guinea-Bissau all withdrew their recognitions.

"As long as there are countries that are revoking their recognitions, it is an indicator that the problem is still current, that it has not been resolved, and that we want a solution - but that it can only come as a compromise, not by imposing the need for Serbia to recognize KiM," Dacic concluded.

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