Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told a press conference in Belgrade on Tuesday that there is no easy and painless solution to the Kosovo problem.
“My position as the president is completely clear – the solution to the problem is needed and necessary, as soon as possible, for several reasons”, Vucic said.
“For one, we need a lasting peace between the Serbs and the Albanians. A solution that would create safety for our citizens is necessary first of all. Two, it is important because of the economic progress of our country, so that we do not have other aggravating factors that have been on our arms, legs, and beck for a century. Three, we would improve the arrival of foreign investments that are good, and the image of Serbia in the world would improve. And four, the demographic question of Serbia and the Serbs – unless we solve the Kosovo knot, we will have a million people less in 2050.”
He stressed that “one of the key issues is to solve the issue of KiM (Kosovo and Metohija), for the sake of the future of Serbia.”
Vucic said that since signing the Brussels agreement, Serbia had done its best to be a reliable partner not only to the Albanians, but also to the international community.
“The Albanians – either with EU’s tacit consent or without its clear opposition – did not meet their only obligation (from the Brussels agreement), which is the establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO),” Vucic said.
He added that Serbia “insisted on (the formation of) the ZSO.”
“I’ll reveal one more thing to you. Namely, according to the Brussels agreement, the ZSO proposes the regional police commander for the North. The ZSO proposes four candidates, of which Pristina chooses one. We cannot achieve this today because there is no ZSO, so Pristina appoints the regional police chief for us,” Vucic said.
According to him, Serbia has “two possible paths” ahead of it.
“What remains for the Serbs to do in the future? Two possible paths. After more than 1,930 days Pristina did not fulfill its (ZSO) obligation – one path is for the Serbs to do this on their own. Few could forbid them to do this. If the Serbs did that, there is the danger of unilateral actions that would serve for Pristina’s final showdown with the (Serb) North. It is precisely for this reason that our advice to the Serbs in KiM is for us to closely monitor the events, to choose our moves and not to jeopardize the safety of citizens,” he said.
According to Vucic, “special attention must be paid to protected areas in KiM.” As he stated, “machinations must be avoided that this belongs to the SPC.”
“We will solve property issues under four-points: private property of Serbs, property of the SPC (Serbian Orthodox Church), property owned by business entities registered in Serbia outside KiM, and property owned by business entities registered in Serbia (and located) in KiM,” he said, adding: “This issue will be one of the key and most important ones.”
Vucic then asked: “Do we need to find a solution, would some kind of solution benefit us, or should we continue this way?”
According to him, Serbia has managed to “improve its position in the talks and be more respected.”
“We succeeded arriving at something in those talks, at the story about a compromise solution… Then the salvo of insults, attacks began, I realized that some in Serbia do not want a compromise solution. It’s clear to you that any compromise solution is difficult to find. I will not allow the Serbs to be left without anything, I will not allow them to lose their rights, for the Serb monasteries to be unprotected. Will this be something because of which we will celebrate? Well it will never be. If we come to a solution, they will not be able to celebrate either,” Vucic emphasized.
“We are divided into those who would accept a whole, independent Kosovo, so that we cry over the difficult fate and sing songs in taverns about everyone being against us, and those that don’t want us to talk about anything, waiting for some better times when we will evict the Albanians across (Mt.) Prokletije. People in Belgrade, for example, do not know that we don’t have (Mt.) Kopaonik under our administration, every day, not far from Pancic’s Peak, you can see KFOR patrols,” said he.
“I knew that we would be accused, because set the issue of Kosovo and Metohija and our state strategy, and we cannot speak publicly about quite everything related to this because we would jeopardize our negotiating position. We have been led by the rational. And many people said that the dialogue is unsuccessful – yet the dialogue is successful,” stressed Vucic.
“Some people saying we are guilty of high treason while others say we are war criminals speaks to this sufficiently. I think people understand that we need a normal rational solution. There is no victory, there is only the future,” he added.
“This is the question for the Serbs and the Albanians, and all those who are meddling – they all have less interest, and that’s why we are the ones who have the say. We both need to declare ourselves on this: whether we are going to be killing each other, who will have more children in the future, or if we will end this vicious circle,” he said.
“The responsibility for the solution of the Kosovo problem, if one is found, will have to be shown by all citizens, and I will not run away from my own responsibility if we do not receive the citizens’ support,” Vucic said.
He said “he would not ask in the referendum” whether Serbians were “in favor of joining the EU – and by the way, whether they are also in favor of the agreement with Pristina.”
Instead, according to Vucic, “people will have the opportunity to very clearly, precisely declare themselves about the agreement that might be reached, if it is reached.”