Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabic has addressed the UN General Assembly in New York.
Brnabic presented Serbia’s new face and the results achieved so far, and as an unavoidable topic, mentioned the issue of Kosovo.
“I will say this: in looking for our way out of this and in striving to build a better world for all of us, we all need to start from ourselves and the things we must do by ourselves, first and foremost as individuals, then our countries, then our regions, then our continents and then the united world that we are. We, once more, need to start bringing the nations of the world together, much like 70 or so years ago,” Brnabic said, and added:
“The basic value of the European Union, much like the basic value of the United Nations, is: peace. It’s not economy, or trade, or bigger market. It’s peace. All of these other things, and much, much more, came, and will always come, as a spillover effect of peace. European Union is a peace project, and a successful one.
And we want, we need, to be part of it – so there is sustainable peace, and consequently stability and prosperity, in the Balkans – this troubled region of the world that used to known as the powder keg of Europe.”
According to her, “Serbia is trying very hard to leave this in the past and grow to become more reasonable, instead of more emotional; more pragmatic, instead of immersed in myths; proud of its victories and not of its losses; a country which is building unexpected friendships, in place of traditional animosities.”
“We’ve embarked on a comprehensive public administration reform with one simple goal: for it to become citizen-focused. We are reminding, on a daily basis, our administration, all of us, that we are there to serve, and not to be served,” the prime minister said, and noted that her country “of today” is committed to “peace and, if I may say so, behaving as an adult.”
“I am addressing here the issue of our Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija which split down the middle even the UN – less than half of UN member countries recognize the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, while more than half, i.e. more than five billion people in the world, refuse to recognize the illegal secession of Kosovo,” Brnabic noted.
“What Serbia has been trying to do in the past year, is essentially trying to close Pandora’s Box which was opened ten years ago when unilateral declaration of independence was proclaimed by authorities in Pristina, and the rush by a number of countries in the world to recognize that unilateral declaration of independence regardless of international law and standards; regardless of the fact that this was done only four years after Serbian churches and monasteries, world heritage sites, were looted and burned; and regardless of the fact that international community always stated “standards before status” as their mantra – and when everyone saw that standards are not on Pristina’s agenda, they decided to break their own mantra and decide on the status,” the prime minister said.
Brnabic also spoke about the Belgrade-Pristina talks Brussels agreement, and its implementation:
“We’ve signed the Brussels agreement more than five years ago, and implemented it. Pristina signed it, but still did not implement even one single word of it. We will continue insisting on the full implementation of the Brussels agreement and establishment of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO), but we will remain tolerant and patient. I can tell you today: however difficult, and difficult it is, however challenging, and challenging it is; however sometimes hopeless and wasteful the dialogue with Pristina might be, we will stay committed to finding a compromise which will ensure sustainable peace, prosperity and brighter future for all people in the region.”
Her message to the international community was to “continue to support Serbia’s efforts.”
“Serbia will continue demonstrating readiness to compromise, which is far from easy; but in that we need a counterpart which is politically bold, responsible, committed and trustworthy, and that has not been the case thus far. I am therefore asking the international community to continue supporting the efforts that Serbia initiated. To achieve progress in the dialogue, we need undiluted and consistent support by the international community,” Brnabic said.
“Serbia is committed to working with other nations across the globe on taking our ‘common destiny’, as many in the UN refer to it, into our own hands. We want to claim accountability towards future generations. We want them to hold us accountable,” the prime minister said, adding:
“That is why we are investing so much in peace, understanding and reconciliation in the region. And, on the other hand, we are equally investing in our future. The key priorities of my government are youth and education. We need to start teaching our youth how to think, and not what to think.”