Ex-president, FM row over who damaged state interests

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic on Friday denied that his actions have caused damage to the state.

Source: Tanjug
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Tomislav Nikolic and Ivica Dacic (EPA-EFE, file)
Tomislav Nikolic and Ivica Dacic (EPA-EFE, file)

This accusation was made after Dacic made public the details of the correspondence between former president of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic and the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis.

"I did not cause damage to the state by publishing the truth about the pope's visit instead the damage was caused by Tomislav Nikolic who first invited him, and then canceled the visit," Dacic told Vecernje Novosti, responding to Nikolic's criticism.

Nikolic previously told the same newspaper that Dacic "made a detrimental to the state, undiplomatic move by making public a portion of the correspondence between the president of Serbia and the head of the Roman Catholic Church."

In his response, Dacic remarked, "If he (Nikolic) had to ask the (Serbian) Church (for permission to invite the pope) - why didn't he do it before making the invitation?"

"This way we ended up not looking serious. The pope is not only a religious leader, but also the head of a state that has not recognized Kosovo and that is very important to us in the fight for our southern province. And we will allow the pope to go to Pristina, but he cannot come to Serbia. Let's not complain afterwards if the Vatican recognizes Kosovo," Dacic said.

He also pointed out that Pope Francis has visited most countries in Serbia's neighborhood, and that these are "no less Orthodox (Christian) than Serbia."

"He was invited to some by heads of state, and to others by the patriarchs. I have no right to invite the pope, but if our country does and he accepts, it's irresponsible to consult the Church after the fact and cancel the visit. Anyway, if the Church is already leading the state, what do we need that kind of president for," Dacic said.

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