Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic arrived in Mostar on Monday afternoon and met with Dragan Covic, the Croat member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, amid great media attention.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said in Mostar that Serbia’s policy was a policy of peace and that its response to messages from the President of self-declared Kossovo, Hasim Taci, who said that Kossovo would respond to “Serbia’s threats with rifles, like it did 19 years ago,” would be calm, patient and tolerant.
Vucic has said that war has never brought any good to anyone and that Serbia does not need war.
“I am almost certain that there won’t be any war since I speak on behalf of Serbia and a large portion of the Serbian people, and Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik on behalf of the other part of our people,” Vucic told reporters.
He has said that Taci’s statement should be read more carefully since it, in essence, speaks that 19 years ago a border between two countries of the Albanian people was removed forever.
“I would rather ask some from the IC what they think of it and if Serbia was attacked in 1999 because of that. I do not like to deal with arms like Mr. Taci. Let him continue this way, but it was not his rifles but someone else’s aircraft that were destroying Serbia,” Vucic has said.
He has said that Serbia will answer to such statements peacefully, patiently and tolerantly.
“We would like freedom of movement, knowledge exchange and greater trade exchange with Pristina and better relations, and they can speak whatever they like. I do not want to show off with force,” Vucic has said.
When it comes to aid to Serbs in the Herzegovina, Vucic has said that there must exist a support.
“People in these municipalities are not rich. People from Ljubinje, Berkovici, Nevesinje and Gacko to Bileca and Trebinje rightly expect not only aid from Srpska and the FBiH but also from Serbia. After having stabilized our public finances, we are able to help, and we also offered our aid to representatives of other peoples in BiH where needed,” Vucic has said.
He says that he has already spoken with Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik about how to help Serbs in Petrovac, Grahovo, Drvar, Glamoc, Mostar in the FBiH.
“We are ready to help in the future as well,” Vucic has said.
During a visit to the Cathedral Church in Mostar, Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic promised that Serbia and Srpska will help that the reconstruction of this church be completed by the year 2020.
Dodik has said that throughout history, Mostar was an extremely important town for the Serbian culture and education, stressing that Serbs left a significant mark on the religious life and that this is why the reconstruction of the Cathedral Church is important.
“I believe that we will manage to do it by the year 2020. We have many promises from the FBiH which have never been fulfilled, but this does not bother us. I would like the FBiH Government to provide greater help to the reconstruction of this church, just like we in Srpska helped the reconstruction of all religious buildings. But even without it, we do not want to stand still,” Dodik told reporters in Mostar.
He stressed that Republika Srpska is grateful to Serbia for its aid to projects in Srpska and to Serbs in the FBiH.
Vucic has said that Serbia invested 700,000 Euros in the reconstruction of the Cathedral Church in Mostar and that it will invest more so that it could shine in all its glory.
“I am certain that the church will be completed by 2020. Serbia has had a budget surplus for the third year in a row which means that we will be able to help our people,” Vucic has said.
He stressed that this church is not only a religious institution, but a cultural institution which will mean a lot to the survival of Serbs in Mostar and the Herzegovina, but also to Croats and Bosniaks who will have a multicultural image of their city.
“This city equally belongs to Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, and all who lived here,” Vucic has said.
He has said that he will meet with representatives of the Coordination Committee of Serbian Associations and Organizations in Mostar to whom he will offer aid and support.
“We can provide organizational and financial aid. We would like people to stay in their homes, to think about a future of their children. His Eminence the Bishop of Zahumlje-Herzegovina and the Littoral, Grigorije, told me that there were 19 children this morning in the church in Prebilovci. This is what is important to us, to help them stay in their homes,” Vucic has said.
Bishop Grigorije thanked Dodik and Vucic for their visit and aid they provided for the reconstruction of the church.
He has said that Mostar is a city of Serbs as well and that no one can uproot them from it.
“The greatest aid arrived from Serbia and Republika Srpska. The other aid was raised by people of good will and we managed to put a roof on the church,” Bishop Grigorije has said.
He has said that the Eparchy of Zahumlje-Herzegovina and the Littoral will celebrate its 800th anniversary in 2019 and 2020.
“I asked Serbian and Republika Srpska presidents that the church be completed by that time. By building this church, we want to build Mostar for all people and for our community which is small but historically extremely important,” Bishop Grigorije has said.
He reminded of words of French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery who wrote: “If you want to divide people, throw them pearls, but if you want to reconcile them, give them to build a church.”