"It's anti-Russia hysteria world, but Serbs won't join in"
Serbian First Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic has told RT that "we
live at a time of anti-Russia hysteria in the world."
Izvor: B92, RT.com Monday, March 5, 2018 | 10:49
But Serbia will not join anti-Russia sanctions, Dacic said.
"Serbia belongs to Europe geographically, politically and historically and it’s
only logical that our interest in becoming the member of the European Union is
based on, I would say, our personal experience," he said. "I held different
positions in government - as Prime Minister and as the minister of foreign
affairs - and I’ve never heard anyone from the Russian side speaking negatively
of our wish to join the EU."
"We live at a time of anti-Russia hysteria in the world. When I was in the
White House and talked to National Security Adviser McMaster he literally said
that the American influence is good and the Russian influence is harmful. In
case of Serbia it didn’t prove to be true in the past, seeing how over the past
few decades many principles of the international law have been violated in the
example of Serbia," Dacic said.
"The only thing that Russia expects is that it will not result in an
anti-Russian position which Serbia is not at all interested in doing. But one
of the conditions is to harmonize our foreign policy with that of the European
Union and that’s where Russia comes in. Joining the sanctions against the
Russian Federation - there are some countries which pose this question at each
meeting. You probably know which countries I’m referring to," the Serbian
"It’s not our position that we’re not on anyone’s side," he continued. "We
would like to be members of the EU but on the other hand we have good bilateral
relations with the Russian Federation. And we have no intention to impede those
relations just to become an EU member."
"On the other hand, all those who love Serbia have to take care of our national
interests as well. Pursuing anti-Russian policies would be to our detriment. So
we’re not sitting on two chairs, we have our own chair," Dacic said.
Serbia should seek common ground with the Western interests in a sense that
they should take an impartial stance towards us, he said.
"We’ve had good relations with the United States and the UK. We were allies in
wars but during the crisis of 1990s they practically diverted a lot from us,
which resulted in their airstrikes against us. And then there was this
operation ‘Storm’ in Croatia as well. Not to mention the unilateral declaration
of independence by Kosovo. So in that sense it’s necessary for the Western
countries to understand that there would be no peace in the region without
searching for a common solution, without searching for something that is
acceptable to all. And speaking about the relations between Russia and the US,
we hope that there will be some sort of a warm-up in these relations," Dacic
When it comes to the Kosovo negotiations and the possibility of both Russia and
the US taking part in them, Dacic said, "we’ve never heard from the US that
they would like to take part in those negotiations."
"That’s what the Albanians from Kosovo are saying. They are actually seeking
the involvement of the US in addition to the EU. On the other hand, we have to
keep in mind that those proposals are put forward, we have to acknowledge them.
In that case we would like to invite the Russian Federation to join as well. In
the talks that President Vucic had with President Putin and with Foreign
Minister Lavrov and myself Russia has expressed readiness to join the process.
But actually we don’t feel it’s necessary to expand this story right now."
Speaking about Kosovo, the minister remarked that it has been 10 years after
the unilateral declaration of independence - "and it’s still an experiment":
"Regardless of the fact that Kosovo has been recognized by some states Kosovo
hasn’t completed its independence run, it hasn’t become a UN member and member
of other organizations. There are a lot of countries that do not recognize it
like Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Brasil, Argentina, Mexico,
Ethiopia, South Africa, Spain. Five EU members haven’t recognized Kosovo. Also
over the past few months we’ve managed to have some of the countries revoke
their recognition. It means that the process is still alive, it’s not over yet.
No one can have a secession without an agreement with the country from which
they wish to secede. In that sense we’re for a dialogue. Some European
countries say that Serbia has to, that Serbia must recognize Kosovo’s
independence. But that’s not a compromise. Serbia will never recognize the
unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo."
Dacic said that Serbia "has its own proposals on how a working compromise could
look like" - but that "Albanians in Pristina don’t consider it necessary to
even enter a compromise":
"They don’t want to discuss, they just want to discuss that Belgrade should
recognize their independence. That’s unacceptable for us. We can have
discussions on all other issues, we have an internal dialogue on how to arrange
the relations. But Albanians obviously think it’s enough to have recognition
from some Western countries and that would make it a fait accompli. They’re
wrong there. They have a false list of countries that have recognized them.
They speak of 116 countries that recognized them. I’m sure it’s in the interest
of all to actually find a compromise. But if they don’t want a compromise we
shall continue our struggle. "
Asked whether Barbados recognizing Kosovo and Surinam revoking their
recognition "really changes anything in the Kosovo-Serbian issue," Dacic
"There’s a huge difference between explanations given by the countries that
recognise Kosovo and those that are actually revoking their recognition. Some
say that they have general legal principles. But essentially it’s not correct.
From the point of view of the international law it’s absolutely unacceptable.
The Albanians in Kosovo aren’t a nation. They are an Albanian national minority
because the Albanian people have their own state - that’s Albania. Is there any
other nation that have two states? And they say that they need one president
"They can create Albania if they want to but on the territory of other states.
Surely, not on our territory," he continued. "We want dialogue, we want
dialogue to be successful, we want to reach a solution that is in the interest
of all. But imposing a solution that we have to recognize Kosovo, giving
ultimatums - that’s something that doesn’t work with the Serbian people."
As for German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel saying recently that "Serbia will
have to recognize Kosovo to join the EU," Dacic responded by saying:
"Serbia and Yugoslavia in the past welcomed the reunification of Germany. And
it’s not appropriate for Foreign Minister Gabriel to make a statement like
that. He also said that he didn’t say that. And If he didn’t then I apologize
to him. EU doesn’t have a common position on Kosovo. They criticize us for not
accepting the common European foreign policy on Russia. So why don’t they
figure out a common foreign policy regarding Kosovo? These are positions stated
by those who recognize Kosovo. It is my opinion that there’s no price for
Serbian recognition of Kosovo. If anyone thinks that for the sake of joining
the EU Serbia would recognize Kosovo under the conditions that they impose
right now and not on the basis of dialogue and compromise, they are very wrong.
We want a compromise. But the solution proposed by Kosovo Albanians is a not a
Asked what was important for Serbia - joining the EU by 2025 or Kosovo, Dacic
"No one has officially said this (recognize KOsovo) to us. EU cannot really
stand by a position like that when it has five members that do not even
recognize Kosovo. We cannot expect Spain to be more Serbian-oriented than the
Serbs themselves. No one can demand those things of Serbia. It’s humiliating
us. Serbia seeks good relations when it joins the EU. But what they are telling
us, they should be telling Pristina as well. They should tell them that there’s
no European perspective, no path to Europe unless you reach an agreement with
Belgrade. They tell us that there’s no such perspective - they should tell this
to the other side as well, say that there will be no European path to them
unless they reach a compromise.. And so we'll see if there are really double
standards in their behavior. I know an answer, I can tell you this immediately
right now - yes, there are double standards. But we’re not going to fall for
that. This is my opinion. Maybe there will be some other government in Serbia
that will accept it, but I think this is not going to happen in our
Kosovo cannot become a member of the EU, Dacic also said, and explained that
President Vucic spoke about "mountains of obstacles" on that road before
Serbia, he was referring to Kosovo.