After the Kosovo president addressed the gathering and said, among other things, that Serbia is “not ready for the EU because it does not recognize Kosovo”. Thaci also repeated a statement he made in during an interview last week – namely, that he “cannot imaging the EU accepting Serbia as a member before Kosovo.” But “You got your independence after NATO’s aggression, without a referendum, and not everyone has recognized you”, Vucic told Thaci according to the report, and continued: “Five EU countries have still not recognized you. You are not an independent state to us. And you are not listening what Serbia is saying, and say that we don’t have a European approach because we won’t recognize Kosovo. Unlike you who are making that person a candidate for prime minister… I said it in the assembly that Serbia must give up on its myths, for the sake of the future of not only Serbs, but also Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija”. “Your problem is that you don’t even know how to accept an extended hand. I see a coordinated campaign of people from the US Congress and your extremists. If you had 30 percent of Albanians, one stone upon another would not be left in Montenegro, while we never asked anything from them. Find me someone in the region who wills talk to Haradinaj without a lump in their throat. So much for democracy”, concluded Vucic.
Ramush Haradinaj, chairman of Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and a candidate for prime minister in the upcoming elections in Kosovo on June 11, did not miss the opportunity to attack Serbia, which he considered an enemy. Haradinaj said that Pristina will continue the dialogue with Belgrade if Kosovo is respected as “a sovereign, independent state, recognized by many countries”. Otherwise, he said, if the Serbia behaves like a hostile, Kosovo will respond the same way. “We do not mean to continue the dialogue just for the dialogue, we are for dialogue if we are fully respected as we are. We will recognize only those who recognize us, we will respect only those who respect us”, said Haradinaj, who already considers that his coalition won on the elections.
Kosovo President Hashim Thaci says he cannot even imagine the EU accepting Serbia as its member before Kosovo. Thaci said that the biggest concern in southeastern Europe was caused by “the fact that the EU is too slow in bringing countries of the region closer, which opens the door to all kinds of radicalisms, as well as strengthening of the Russian influence”. He thinks that the EU should therefore make decisions faster, and adds that he cannot imagine Serbia in the EU before Kosovo. “I cannot imagine something like this happening. I am confident that this will not be the case because Serbia would then certainly block Kosovo, and for an indefinite period of time. The EU knows very well what the attitude and behavior of Serbia is towards Kosovo. But, Serbia too cannot continue on the path of European while not behaving in a European way toward Kosovo”, stressed Thaci. According to him, Greater Albania is “a concept talked about by Belgrade to cover their ambition of creating a ‘Greater Serbia’”. Thaci claims that “the Kosovo army” will be established by the end of this year, after this has been suspended under international pressure.
The Development Partnership Framework between the Serbian government and the UN Country Team for the period from 2016 to 2020 has been signed in Belgrade. The document was inked by First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic and UN Resident Coordinator in Serbia Karla Robin Hershey. The Development Partnership Framework is “fully aligned with the national development priorities of the Serbian government, as well as with the process of pre-accession negotiations between Serbia and the European Union and the UN Agenda for sustainable development by 2030”. The estimated value of the program of activities for a five-year period covered by the Development Partnership Framework amounts to USD 170 million. Dacic said he hoped that through the joint work of Serbian ministries, offices and agencies of the UN system, the Development Partnership Framework will be successfully put into practice, in the interest of all citizens of Serbia.
Serbia will continue to pursue close security cooperation with Russia in order to protect Serbia’s own national interests, in particular amid increasingly aggressive rhetoric from Kosovo Albanian politicians. Nobody can stop Serbia from cooperating with Russia in order to protect its national interests, Serbian Minister of Internal Affairs Nebojsa Stefanovic told Sputnik Srbija after returning from a trip to Russia last week. Stefanovic took part in a security conference in the city of Tver and met with Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council. The politicians signed a bilateral agreement on greater cooperation between Serbia’s Minister of Internal Affairs and the Russian Federal Security Service. “We want to cooperate with Russia as well as all other countries. On the other hand, I never heard for example China or Russia object to cooperation with other EU countries or the USA and so I think that kind of fear is unfounded.” Serbs are scared that Albanian politician in Kosovo want to invade Serbia to create what they call a “Greater Albania”. So, the agreement between Russia and Serbia on security cooperation could prevent this scenario some way (on the serbs point of view). The more the Kosovo general elections come closer, the more the tensions rise between these two countries.
According to numerous poll results, up to 80 percent of Serbs are against the country’s accession to NATO. Serbian Prime Minister and President-Elect Aleksandar Vucic, who is set to assume office on May 31, has recently said that becoming a member of the alliance would solve many of Serbia’s problems. However Serbia joining NATO would split the nation for decades. Vucic went on to say that Serbia should maintain its military neutrality instead of seeking to join any military bloc. Mitar Kovac, retired Major-General, said that “It is NATO which has caused Serbia’s major problems which the country is trying to cope with until now” and “In the countries which do not support the Alliance and which try to stand against it, NATO first launches the scenario of disintegration and then imposes its set of values” he concluded.
Serbian Prime Minister and President-elect Aleksandar Vucic commented on the recent remarks of former head of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo William Walker; “Serbia will in every place and at every level present this as the ultimate proof that Walker’s goal was never to protect human rights in Kosovo but to fight against Serbia and for the creation of the ‘Greater Albania’”. Slavka Kojic, Serbian expert on international legal activity, told Sputnik that Walker’s remarks come as a serious blow to the international order based on the UN charter and an urged for re-consideration of borders of the UN member states. She added that she is convinced that Walker has been speaking on his own behalf and not on behalf of any state or any international entity, however his remark is not any less dangerous.
German Ambassador to Serbia Axel Dittmann says that “all statements aimed at changing borders in the Balkans are dangerous.” The Western Balkans region has a clear European perspective, which was once again explicitly confirmed by the European Council at its meeting in March and the Ambassador, asked whether there Berlin fears the strengthening of Russia’s influence in Serbia, said that Serbia has made a clear strategic decision to become a member of the EU, and that Germany strongly supports that. “The numbers, too, show that course. Two-thirds of Serbia’s trade are conducted with EU member states. Since 2000 Brussels has approved three billion euros in donations, 1.6 billion by Germany alone. It is normal that in addition, Serbia has traditional and close ties with other countries, including Russia”, said Dittmann.
Belgrade will address the UN because of a statement made by the former head of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo. This comes after reports that William Walker spoke about his work on a project of creating the Greater Albania. Walker is known for heading the OSCE “verification mission” in the Kosovo, whose activities and reports during 1998 and 1999 influenced the public opinion abroad in favor of launching a war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Earlier that year the bodies of 45 Albanians were discovered in the village of Racak and the Walker-led OSCE mission accused Serbian security forces for killing them without presenting any evidence – although it was never determined whether the victims were in fact civilians. Reports coming from the Serbian side said that Albanian terrorists – members of the KLA – were the ones killed in Racak, but in the West, the event was qualified as a crime against civilians, used as an excuse to launch NATO’s bombing of Serbia. According to the Minister without portfolio, Jadranka Jankovic, who is in charge of EU integration, Walker’s statement is proof that the Greater Albania project is not merely flirted with at election time, but is instead “something that exists and is not only Serbia’s problem. It includes the territory of several countries in the Balkans, and I think all of us need to be concerned”.
The news reported last week by Belgrado-based media, about the weapons seized during “the secret operation” – as they were illegally transported through Serbia to Macedonia, has not been confirmed by any state organs. Chairman of the Serbian Assembly’s Committee on Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun said to Radio Belgrade that “this is unchecked information, but I’m not ruling out the possibility that it really happened”, said Drecun. According to him, it is a fact that arms have been going in various directions illegally from Kosovo for many years, while some of them remained in the province, in the possession of radical Islamists.