Dacic: Form ZSO - or my signature's off Brussels agreement

Ivica Dacic says he is prepared to take his signature off the Brussels agreement unless Pristina forms the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) in Kosovo.

Source: B92, Tanjug
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(EPA, file)
(EPA, file)

"I signed the Brussels agreement. We would never have signed it if the key thing in it wasn't the ZSO. If five years have gone by since the signing, and it came to nothing, my question is, what's reaching agreements for," the foreign minister and first deputy PM said on TV Happy's talk show Cyrillic.

Dacic said that he heard about "a new version" - that the ZSO will be "a part of the package of a (future) legally binding agreement" that the EU wants Belgrade to sign with Pristina.

"That's the height of insolence... what does that formulation mean? There's nobody alive who knows. The interpretation that it should contain Kosovo's independence is unacceptable to us. That is not one of the conditions under which we signed the Brussels agreement at the time," he stressed.

According to him, the fact that President Aleksandar Vucic is demonstrating his desire for compromise "is not our weakness."

"He should clearly tell the EU what it is that we want, and how far we can go... whoever wants to can come here, but they won't get recognition of Kosovo from us. No Serb exists that would sign that," Dacic said, stressing that Serbia's position is clear, and that he should clearly present it to everyone.

The minister then explained what he meant when he said that Serbia was not going to commit harakiri for the sake of the EU - to which visiting European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker reacted by saying that the EU "will not ask Dacic to do."

"I was not talking about myself, but about 'a historic harikiri' of the Serb people and the Serb state, because the EU keeps persuading us," he said.

"Every statement directed toward us always says that Serbia should reach a legally binding agreement, that is, solve the problem of Kosovo before entering the EU. On the other hand, they are not telling this to Kosovo. Why don't they tell Pristina that it should reach a historic agreement with Belgrade?," Dacic asked.

He had another question: why don't EU representatives go to Madrid, "and tell them they can't use European funds until they solve the problem of Catalonia."

The minister also recalled that Slovenia and Croatia jointed the EU without solving their border dispute, that is ongoing to this day.

"That's double standards. Do they in the EU think our people are so thrilled because we got that carrot, while it remains somewhere far away...," said Dacic.

Kosovo, he pointed out, has not completed its independence and will never become a member of the UN - and described suggestions coming from Pristina that Belgrade should tell Russia to let Kosovo in the UN as "humiliating and insulting."

Serbia should be conducting a reasonable policy and keep a cool head, the minister said.

"I would be ashamed if we, after everything we have achieved, tomorrow had to tell the countries that have not recognized Kosovo - 'sorry, but we recognized it after all'," Dacic concluded.

"No unresolved issues?"

If it is impossible to join the EU with unresolved bilateral issues, how did Slovenia and Croatia do it, Dacic asked during the same talk show.

"Why, they're still counting fish in the Bay of Piran," the Serbian foreign minister said, referring to the border dispute between Croatia and Slovenia, both EU member-states.

His comments came after European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, who was visiting Belgrade, said that countries that have unresolved bilateral issues cannot join the EU.

Speaking about the problem of Kosovo, Dacic said that Pristina was "buying independence votes" - and that "everything that is bought can be sold again."

He announced that he would soon travel to another country which he will plead with to withdraw its recognition of Kosovo, but did not wish to reveal its name - to avoid "those from Kosovo immediately complaining to the Americans."

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