Vucic: I assure Europe - Serbia is completely stable
The president of Serbia has told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that Serbia was absolutely stable.Source: Tanjug
Aleksandar Vucic was responding when asked "whether stability was threatened in the aftermath of the weekend conflict (during oppposition protests)."
He added that violent perpetrators do not represent Serbia.
"I assure Europe: Serbia is absolutely stable. Unfortunately, peaceful demonstrations that did not involve many people became violent. The police guaranteed peace and order in a moderate manner. You will no longer see unpunished violence in the streets of Serbia. We are more stable than ever, the opposition parties are losing their support in the polls," Vucic said in his interview to the Roman media outlet, that he gave during his visit to Germany.
"Our country wants stability, development, integration into Europe. Meanwhile, opposition leaders are looking up to the 'Yellow Vests'. One of their leaders, the fascist Obradovic, was wearing a yellow vest in parliament. They brought violence first to parliament and then to the streets. And so they became the losers in society," Vucic said.
When asked if he "feared conflict, since opposition leaders are urging 'going all the way'," - the Serbian president recalled that "once they launched violence, he immediately called a press conference, assuming that a protest would be held in front of the Presidency.
"They asked for my resignation, I said publicly that I was a legitimately elected president and that I would not resign. I said, 'I respect your protesters, although you are few, but not your leaders, among whom are fascists and thieves'. I do not care about my own destiny, I am in power because I have been elected and I am trying to implement difficult, courageous reforms. I am not afraid of their violence," Vucic said.
Asked "why he would not call early elections" - Vucic said that "a vast majority of citizens are on his side" and that he "is thinking about that."
"But I'm reluctant because I hope that I can restart the dialogue with Pristina. It's impossible to negotiate during an election campaign, that's the point," Vucic said.
When the interviewer remarked that the opposition accused him of limiting media freedoms, and comparing him to "Milosevic, Orban, and Kachinsky" - the president replied that he "always said that the situation with the Serbian media is not the best.
"But the current media climate has been created by opposition leaders to destabilize the country, Dragan Djilas and his wealthy associate Dragan Solak own the highest-ratings cable network and various television channels. They influence all of the weeklies, and at least two daily newspapers. In the public broadcaster (RTS) - that they attacked - it wasn't me who appointed the directors and editors, they were there before. When the current opposition leaders were in power, they shut down 3,000 companies, I opened 200 and since I have been in power economic growth has been at 4.4 percent - under them it was less at than 3, 1 percent," Vucic said.
He added that "the unemployment rate has fallen from 26 to 11 percent."
"I am conducting a dialogue on the topic of the media with international organizations and the European Union - not with those oligarch thieves and media magnates like Dragan Djilas: while he was the mayor of Belgrade, he stole 500 million euros," Vucic said.
Asked during the interview about the previous day's second instance verdict against the first President of the Serb Republic Radovan Karadzic, Vucic said that he was in Germany "for important political and economic talks" and that he would speak about the verdict "the next day (today) in Serbia."
"I'm afraid that this can only provoke political contradictions and divisions," Vucic said.
Asked "how much the past makes the region's present more difficult" - Vucic said that "in the whole region, unfortunately, the past is too present in political debates."
"I am working hard and will trying as much as I can to overcome this situation in Serbia and I hope that every leader will do the same. Dialogue and economic growth are the future," Vucic said.
Asked about the "tense situation with Pristina that wants to take control of the huge Trepca mine" in Kosovo that is "historically Serb" - and "whether there is a risk of conflict" - Vucic said that he "spoke about precisely this with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg."
"I told him that we appreciate the work of KFOR (which La Repubblica's reporter said was 'almost entirely Italian' - ed.) - They have been protecting the Serbs in Kosovo. We expect them to continue to do so. Without the permission of KFOR and NATO, Pristina cannot make any move. I hope they will not endanger the peace. Faced with the risk of a pogrom (of Serbs in Kosovo) we will have no choice but to protect our people. However, we hope that KFOR, in which I have confidence, will solve any problem and that Pristina will act rationally," said Vucic.