Dacic: Dirty games, Pristina wants ultimatums
Pristina does not want dialogue, but expects Serbia to agree under pressure to something that will not be negotiated, something that will be an ultimatum.Source: Tanjug
First PM and Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic said this on RTS on Thursday night, adding that Pristina's tactic is to "deteriorate" the situation in order to force some decision through, such as EU's visa liberalization (for residents of Kosovo).
"They are counting on bartering with this. These are low-manner games that are seriously threatening the whole region. As (president of Serbia, Aleksandar) Vucic, has said, we have a series of incidents that always, as a rule, happen before the dialogue is held," Dacic noted, on the day Vucic was meeting in Brussels with Hashim Thaci.
Asked if it was realistic to expected a comprehensive legally binding agreement by the end of May next year, i.e., before the mandate of the European Commission and Federica Mogherini expire - the minister assessed that a comprehensive legally binding agreement - "if it's going down this road, will not reach even the first point! - because Pristina is sabotaging the dialogue.
"First, they did not implement what they signed in the Brussels agreement, which was a prerequisite for various other mechanisms that were needed to be formed in KiM (Kosovo and Metohija), including the energy agreement. They are now tying this issue to some new packages - 'if you accept us in the UN, we will form the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO)'. That won't happen. They are counting on Serbia being weak and crumbling under ultimatums in order to have a certain perspective on the European road that is very important to us," Dacic said.
According to him, Belgrade finds it most important to, above all, reach a permanent settlement for KiM in a proper way, as this is important for the stability and peace of the entire region.
The head of the Serbian diplomacy also pointed out that any unjust agreement would not guarantee long-term peace - " and that is why Serbia is firm in its positions."
He said that Pristina is complaining that Serbia is not accepting Kosovo as a member of international organizations, and recalled that international organizations, by force of their own statutes, receive states into their membership, while self-governing territories that are not states can only enter with the consent of the states they are in.
"Kosovo did not ask for our consent. They have no statutory right to be a member of these organizations. And then there are attempts to present Kosovo as a state by force," Dacic said, adding that Kosovo wants to enter Interpol in order to say that it is recognized as a state.
He added that Serbia is facing huge pressure and lobbying, that Pristina has officially set aside money for lobbying those who would vote to let Kosovo in Interpol, while big Western and some Islamic countries have sent letters to others saying Kosovo should become a member of Interpol.
"We do not want to speak in advance about what will happen. We will fight, we will do everything not because we are against Kosovo, but because we can no longer allow unilateral moves to be the rule. Everything they are doing are unilateral acts, including this decision to introduce taxes (on imports of goods from central Serbia). They want to be a part of the international community but they do not respect CEFTA (regional free trade agreement) which they signed," the Serbian minister said.
Pristina wants visa liberalization from the EU, Dacic continued, and pointed out to the cynicism of some Western countries who want Kosovo in Interpol, but will not give it visa liberalization. He said that Kosovo already cooperates with Interpol through the UN mission, UNMIK, and added that "somebody bilaterally recognizing Kosovo - that's their bilateral issue."
"Everyone must respect this: Kosovo will be recognized as a state when it becomes a member of the United Nations - and that will never happen," Dacic said.
The minister added that "everyone must understand that without a deal with Belgrade, there is no permanent solution."
"They cannot be members of international organizations. As long as they are inviting countries to recognize Kosovo - we will be inviting countries not to recognize Kosovo, and to withdraw their recognition," Dacic said.
According to the minister, "the fate of the dialogue is not good" - unless Pristina is pressed to participate in it.
"If someone thinks that the smarter one will be backing down, it seems they should be the one who's more stupid. We can't back down any more," he said.
Dacic also noted that the ZSO is no longe being mentioned by anyone, and recalled that 230,000 Serbs were expelled from Kosovo in 1999.