No countermeasures to Pristina's move, Belgrade decides

Aleksandar Vucic says it has beeen decided Serbia will take any countermeasures to Pristina's increase non-tariff barriers on goods from central Serbia.


The president spoke late on Wednesday, and said the decision was made at a session of the Council for National Security.

Vucic said Belgrade "wants to remain a reliable partner to everyone in the world, Europe and the region," the Serbian government announced on its website.

After the session of the Council, Vucic said that Serbia will act in a responsible way, thus showing the difference between serious and responsible moves and the moves made by Pristina.

"We will not stop their trucks and passenger cars, nor the traffic of goods to Kosovo and Metohija," he said.

"Pristina's decision is neither rational or reasonable. That is why we are worried, but also a bit afraid because we are concerned about peace. We will have to take a variety of measures to make the world aware of what Pristina is doing, but also to see how to help our people," Vucic said.

He announced that the Serbian government will address all the governments of the members of the United Nations Security Council and the European Union and present the facts regarding Pristina's violations of the CEFTA agreement and the Stabilization and Association Agreement.

"This will be a job for the government and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic. Different institutions, such as the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, will do their job together with companies that export goods to Kosovo and Metohija to see how to overcome the crisis," Vucic said, adding that among these companies there are foreign companies like Henkel and Coca Cola.

The president pointed out that an agreement was also reached that all competent authorities should be fully prepared in the event of any irrational behavior of Pristina authorities, and all of them have been given specific tasks and will take appropriate measures.

"We will protect the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, he said and added that he will hold a meeting with representatives of the Serbs from Kosovo tomorrow.

The session was attended by Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dacic, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Nebojsa Stefanovic, Police Director Vladimir Rebic, Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic.

The session also featured Minister of Justice Nela Kuburovic, Director of the Office for Kosovo-Metohija Marko Djuric, Director of the Security Intelligence Agency Bratislav Gasic, Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces Milan Mojsilovic, Secretary-General of the President Nikola Selakovic, as well as chiefs of the security services.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic said earlier on Wednesday that Pristina's decision to increase non-tariff barriers on products from central Serbia by 100 per cent will have huge negative consequences.

In his statement to Tanjug, Ljajic explained that this "par excellence" political decision means preventing and stopping any kind of trade between Kosovo and central Serbia.

There are two reasons for this decision - yesterday's vote in Interpol and the fact that the international community did not respond timely and sharply to the existing non-tariff barriers introduced by Pristina, the Deputy Prime Minister said.

According to him, no Serbian producer can be competitive with such high quotas, taxes and duties introduced.

Ljajic recalled that last year goods worth €440 million were imported from central Serbia to Kosovo, and that Serbia purchased goods worth EUR a21 million, while this year a 9 percent growth has been recorded, which means that the consequences will also be huge.


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