"Number of states recognizing Kosovo will fall under 100"
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has told Politika that he can guarantee the number of countries that recognize Kosovo will fall under 100.Source: Tanjug
Dacic told the Belgrade-based newspaper over the weekend that this was his priority - and that it would help President Aleksandar Vucic, because his discussions about Kosovo would no longer proceed from "everything being a done deal".
Instead, the minister continued, Vucic will be able to say, "wait - in the last three months five countries revoked their recognition."
"Perhaps in half a year, for example, it will be under 100. And what happens when it falls under 96 countries?," Dacic said.
Asked whether there was a realistic chance of this happening, he replied: "I guarantee it."
Asked about the time frame for this, he replied: "If only I had the time. I can't manage to deal with all those things, I can't manage to visit everyone."
Dacic said that attention should be paid to representatives of the countries that might revoke their recognition of Kosovo, and that other ministries in the Serbian government should be doing it, too, in order to avoid "somebody refusing to receive a minister I'm talking to - but they would receive a minister from a large European country."
In that sense, he added, Serbia's diplomatic network should also be discussed.
Dacic told the daily that he had been the first to start working on revocations of Kosovo recognitions, and that this was the reason he was traveling to Africa and Asia often - and the reason Pristina officials are complaining about him.
"Since they (Pristina) find it terribly irritating, I formed a team here to deal exclusively with that issue. To me, this is the priority of our political activity," the head of Serbia's diplomacy stressed.
Commenting on demands coming from the West to quickly solve the issue of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, Dacic stressed this was "no race against time," because the negotiations in Brussels are technical - while a permanent solution has never been discussed by anyone.
"There is only the indication of a legally binding agreement, whose author is (former EU commissioner) Stefan Fule, who at the time attempted to satisfied both those countries who had recognized so-called Kosovo, and those who had not. At the time he could not say what that (binding agreement) was, nor did anyone ask him," Dacic said, adding, "Nobody knows what that is."
Asked whether Serbs in Kosovo would form the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) on their own on April 20, he replied, "Everything depends on our assessment."
"In any case, it's very important for us to maintain firm relations with Russia and China. Firm relations need to be kept with those countries that have not recognized so-called Kosovo, there should be dedication to that, and an effort should be made with Germany, France, and the US to reach a certain level of mutual understanding on how the problem can be solved permanently," Dacic said.
According to the foreign minister, nobody in the EU is justifying the fact Pristina does not want to form the ZSO - its obligation from the 2013 EU-brokered Brussels agreement.
Asked whether the EU would press Pristina, Dacic replied: "Absolutely. They have all promised that they will exert maximum pressure."
Asked whether Kosovo would get a chair at the UN, he said it would mean Serbia telling Russia and China not to object to it.
"Can you imagine me doing that? Telling (Sergei) Lavrov and the Chinese colleague that I was joking before?," Dacic asked.
The minister also remarked that the situation is constantly being presented as Serbia having nowhere to go - but that this is not true.
"Where can they (Pristina) go? That's why we must go for a compromise," Dacic said.
Asked if the result of a compromise could be giving Kosovo a UN chair, he replied: "It could, if we accept it and if that's part of the deal. No other way."