Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic says Wednesday’s Belgrade-Pristina talks in Brussels were “very complex.”
He said that it was agreed they would continue to seek a common denominator of a compromise solution, and to preserve peace and stability in relations between Belgrade and Pristina.
In a brief statement to the press after the meeting, Vucic said that the talks were “certainly not easy and there were two things we agreed on.”
The president stated that he would have nothing more to add, “but if I could say in one sentence, it is that the Albanians and Hashim Thaci would like to get everything and seek everything for Albanians from Kosovo, while Belgrade is trying to find a compromise solution that would not demean either side.”
“Of course I am fighting for Serbia and a Serb side where the interests of the other side would not be completely ignored,” Vucic said, adding that “the position and the talks are not easy for anyone.”
It is important to talk, to preserve peace and solve problems “for the sake of the future, because of the future, and to avoid conflicts like what happened before.”
Asked by the journalists whether they he would “accept the independence of Kosovo,” Vucic said: “I have precisely this type of conversation on a daily basis – whether we will achieve a compromise, what would be a compromise solution… The only compromise solution offered by all of Kosovo political sides, especially Hashim Thaci and everyone else, is always the recognition of an independent state of Kosovo. That’s not how it works.”
We must, he added, sit down and try to each tell our citizens that we need to reach a compromise on many important issues.
“You cannot be absolutely satisfied, and neither can we be absolutely satisfied. If both sides are equally dissatisfied, that would mean that we can reach a compromise solution,” Vucic said.
When a reporter remarked that the previous meeting in Brussels also resulted in an agreement to solve problems in a peaceful manner – but since there had been several incidents (in Kosovo) – Vucic said that this was discussed too, and that “some kind of technical steps have been undertaken today to prevents it in the future.”
He stressed that his job was to take care of the safety of the Serbs and preserve their security. When asked what further steps he expects regarding the dialogue, Vucic said, “the question is difficult, and the answer even more complicated for the simple reason that the situation is such, and because this is a problem that has existed for 150 years and more in different ways.”
“But do you have the right to break off the conversations and leave everything to be solved by emotions and passions, and taken over by them – I do not think you have any right to do that. That is why Serbia is determined to continue the talks and when they are scheduled, we will continue these talks in good faith and with best intent to reach a solution,” said the president, adding, “As to whether we reach a solution… whether we can offer some sort of solution to our societies, that we will see – we are not close to that.”
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Federica Mogherini and the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, on Wednesday in Brussels discussed the progress in the talks on the frameworks for a legally binding agreement on normalization of relations.
Thaci describes latest meeting in Brussels: “Worst one yet”
The president of the interim Kosovo institutions, Hashim Thaci, says the meeting with the Serbian president in Brussels was “the most difficult in six years.”
Thaci spoke in the presence of EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini – who mediated the meeting – to tell reporters on Wednesday that the dialogue round was “difficult.”
“This was the worst meeting that has been held with Serbia in the last six years,” Thaci said.
He explained that Aleksandar Vucic and he first discussed with Mogherini “the European future of Kosovo, normalization of relations and reaching a final agreement with Serbia.”
“The final agreement should be for the sake of good neighborly relations, peace and stability in the Balkans and integration into NATO and the EU. After that, we held a meeting at the presidential level. It was short, not easy, the shortest and the worst of all the meetings we have had in the past six years,” Thaci said.
Nevertheless, Thaci said that he “continued to see the light at the end of the tunnel” – although, “it will be extremely difficult.”
“Serbia continues to see Kosovo as part of its territory. President Vucic and Serbia must understand that Kosovo is a sovereign state. We will work to reach a final agreement that will be good for both countries, but there will be even greater difficulties in the coming days and months,” he concluded.