Aleksandar Vucic: "We have been Warned - if we Send Soldiers to Kosovo..."
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said this on Tuesday in Belgrade.
He was replying to a journalist question about whether Serbia - after frequent attacks on Serbs in Kosovo, and speculation by Pristina-based media about a deployment of security forces on the administrative line - would "introduce" a thousand members of its security forces back to Kosovo - as envisaged by UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
"It's not right and it's not fair, but we are fighting in accordance with very few possibilities and within a very narrow maneuvering space, and it's our job to fight," Vucic said.
As he explained, he has been "personally warned on the occasion of the idea" of returning a thousand soldiers to Kosovo that "if we try, we will confront the largest military force in the world."
"If you try to enter Kosovo with your army and your police, NATO will treat it as a hostile act," the president conveyed the warning he received.
He also said he "compared the situation several times, to, say, the (UN) resolution on Jerusalem - where Western powers have rejected Trump's pressure to move their embassies to that city, as the White House has done."
They, he continued, said they were justified by the fact that such a move would be contrary to the resolution on Jerusalem.
"I then told them they are all behaving unlawfully when they are undermining Resolution 1244, and then they shrug their shoulders, look at their advisers and... nothing," the president said.
This, he says, is "a serious situation" - and so he wants to "explain to citizens that these people are not interested in law and Resolution 1244, but in force and factual situation."
"Only the law of force is valid, and, accordingly, we must work hard to preserve peace and security, and build a better life and a stronger economy," Vucic said.
As for a negotiating platform presented in the Kosovo Assembly, Vucic said it makes the talks in Brussels "more difficult - but it also shows Pristina's true intentions."
Regardless, he continued, the talks are "the only solution."
"When you read this platform, you see that they did not leave a millimeter, not one percent of room for any agreement," Vucic said, pointing out that it was "another matter entirely whether the document will be supported by a majority."
Vucic believes that "under outside pressure" such a platform will not be adopted in the provincial Assembly, "because it would be clear to everyone that everything after that becomes meaningless."
"But such a text speaks about the intentions and desires of Pristina," he pointed out.
The president also commented on Pristina representatives saying "they would do us a terrific honor and service by accepting reconciliation, if we recognize them."
"What Serbs would get, according to this, is Albanians saying - 'here, we accept to reconcile with you, if you recognize us'," he continued.
Vucic described such a stance as stemming from the fact "they live in a completely closed system, where there is no room for different voices."
The president also pointed out that he was "proud it's not the same here" - and mentioned a recent gathering held in Belgrade, dubbed "Mirdita" - where he said "both Serbs, and Albanians from Pristina were able to come here and say the worst things about him."
"With them there is that - 'Serbs committed crimes, genocide, we defeated Serbs in the war' - as if Americans did not even participate - 'so they must recognize us, and then we will be willing to make a terrific concession and say that we have reconciled, although we do not really mean it'," Vucic said.
When you hear that, then you understand, he stressed, that it is "simply not realistic, it is not possible, nor has it much to do with life on this earth."
He added that "we, too, have lived many times in our own misconceptions" but that he was "very pleased that today we rationally and properly assess the overall situation, and we are not satisfied with and infatuated only by our own ideas and stances."
"In any case, it will be very difficult when someone comes with such or similar platforms to Brussels, but Serbia will not give up on the talks because the talks are the only solution," the president concluded.
Answering a journalist's question, he said that it was "not entirely correct" that the EU rule of law mission EULEX would leave Kosovo and Metohija (KiM), as the mission's representatives would remain there - but reiterated that "a terrible mistake was made when the mission arrived in the first place, instead of keeping everything under the auspices of the UN."
"EULEX will be in KiM, but nobody dares say it so as not to anger the Pristina authorities, because Albanian parties there clash among themselves."
"We had hoped that this mission would carry out its work professionally," Vucic said, and "agreed with the assessment that its activity has not been at the highest level."
"What worries me is that Serbs do not enjoy protection and come under attack," he added.
As for the claim coming from Pristina that a recent spate of attacks in Kosovo targeting Serbs was "not ethnically motivated," Vucic asked, "and what, then, motivated them?" - when it comes to the attack on a Serb priest and his family.
"They do all of that on the order," the president stressed.
Vucic reiterated that the talks in Brussels lie ahead, that he is "not a great optimist" - but that "Serbia would do its best to reach a compromise."
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