"Brussels or Burundi? Burundi's nicer, they like us there"
Preserving and protecting territorial integrity, EU integration, and better cooperation with countries around the world are Serbia's main foreign policy goals.Source: Tanjug
First Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said this on Wednesday in Belgrade, and pointed out that Serbia has strengthened its position on the international scene.
At the session of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Serbian National Assembly, Dacic resented a report on the work of his ministry for the period from May last year to February 1, said that it was is making great efforts to reduce the number of countries that recognize Kosovo, announcing new withdrawals of recognition.
Speaking about the recent session of the UN Security Council, which discussed the report of the UN chief on Kosoco and Metohija, Dacic said that there was a great fight to hold that session at all, and that there was a danger that this would not happen, and recalled that it was agreed to this year hold three sessions of this type, and next year two.
"With this we closed the issue, the question will no longer be whether these meetings will be held or not. Kosovo was surprised that the session was held at all," said Dacic, adding that the meeting in New York was very positive for Serbian interests.
Dacic also said that Serbia should maintain and establish contacts with smaller and less influential countries in the world, among other things, to ensure that they vote in favor of Serbia in international forums.
"Many officials would rather go to Brussels than to Burundi, but, trust me, it's nicer in Burundi, because they like us there. These are our friendly countries where none of us went for twenty years," Dacic said.
This year there will again be voting at UNESCO and Interpol (on Pristina's membership bid), Dacic said, and added that Kosovo no longer has a majority to be able to easily join important international organizations.
"It is therefore important that we keep in touch with all these countries in order to have a stable situation regarding those who would vote for our proposals," Dacic said.
Dacic said that Kosovo can not be a member of the OSCE, while it is possible they might apply for membership in the Council of Europe, which would be most difficult to prevent since most member states recognize Kosovo.
"We are monitoring the situation in the Council of Europe," Dacic said.
Dacic also announced new withdrawals of recognition of Kosovo, but did not want to specify which countries this concerned, adding "it happens that ahead of his talks with some countries on their withdrawal of recognition, those countries come under pressure from the United States not to do so."
The minister said that out of 193 UN member-states, 91 countries certainly did not recognize Kosovo, and that of the 102 remaining ones, there are several countries that for a long time, although they recognized Kosovo, have not voted in international forums in favor of Kosovo, such as Egypt, and Oman.
"To have the majority, we need six more countries, I think they already have less than half, but I'm not satisfied by somebody telling me, 'we did not recognize (Kosovo), we need papers," Dacic said.
The minister said that Serbia pays special attention to countries in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, as well as in Africa and Asia.
"Those 13 countries that have revoked their recognition have a total of 55 to 60 million people and together about a million square kilometers of land, which is also 13 votes in the United Nations," said Dacic.
Speaking about the security situation, Dacic said that Serbia is working to harmonize the text of a new individual partnership plan with NATO and reiterated that Serbia wants to have better relations with the alliance, and is currently at the highest level that one country can be on, without wanting to become a member.
When it comes to visa abolition, Dacic said that the visa-free regime of Serbia with the EU is not under threat, although the EU is warning Serbia not to abolish visas to some countries, i.e., to be aligned with EU visa policy.
"It creates problems for us, because our friends are not at the same time their friends," Dacic said.
The minister said that there were problems with Iran, which whom Serbia first abolished and then reintroduced visas after EU intervention, because a number of Iranian citizens who came to Serbia had not returned home but rather have tried to go further into the EU.
"But it wasn't 100,000 people that entered our country, it was 45,000, and 22,000, 23,000 left - well it's not like ten thousand people will flood the entire continent," Dacic noted, adding that this was also an attempt to exert political pressure.