Zeljko Jovic: Belgrade says "no" to Kosovo's recognition

By IBNA Newsroom  <http://www.balkaneu.com/users/2> / Published on: 10-04-2018, 


During a visit to Nicosia for talks on issues concerning the destruction of 
cultural and ecclesiastical heritage, the Deputy Director of the Serbian 
Government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Zeljko Jovic, has called via 
Cyprus' Kathimerini on the Albanian-speaking separatist entity to arrive at a 
compromise with the Serbian government.


In an interview with Apostolos Tomaras, Zeljko Jovic described the situation in 
Kosovo after the Albanian-speaking citizens moved unilaterally to declare the 
creation of a “state” entity. He referred to the problems caused by the 
separatist movement of the Albanians in the region, describing Kosovo as a 
vessel for organized crime.


He also referred to the great problems the Orthodox Serbian Church faces, with 
its property being at constant risk. To date, despite the kidnappings, murders 
and robberies against Kosovo Serbs, no one has been brought to justice.


The interview follows in full: 


- Mr. Jovic, what is the purpose of your visit to Cyprus?


- During the talks I held here, I tried to demonstrate, with as much 
information as possible, the troubled faced by the Serbian people and the 
destruction of Serbian property and our cultural heritage in Kosovo and 
Metohija; I was also briefed about the issues the Republic of Cyprus faces with 
[similar] destruction in the occupied part of the island.


-What happened in the last week with the arrest of the director of the Serbian 
government office for the region?


- A meeting had been scheduled in the north of Kosovska Mitrovica between the 
legal representatives of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija. The agenda 
focused on finding peaceful solutions to the problems faced by Serbs living in 
these regions. This meeting had been arranged and announced in advance and 
everyone knew about it. As regards the legal aspect, the presence of the head 
of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Juric, was 
legitimate and in line with the context of the Brussels agreements. The only 
obligation of Marko Juric - who is also the main interlocutor in Brussels on 
these issues - based on existing agreements was to announce his arrival in 
Kosovo 24 hours in advance, but not seek permission, as he did. The claims of 
the “Kosovo” regime that Juric’s arrival was illegal have to base in reality. 
Moreover, heads of hospitals, schools and others also took part in this 
meeting. About 45 minutes before the meeting was due to commence, “special 
forces” of the “Kosovo” regime launched an attack, violating agreements that 
forbid them to intervene in northern Kosovo and Metohija without the permission 
of the Serbs, who are the majority. This action was illegal and occurred in the 
presence of the European Peacekeeping Force.


- Was violence exercised?


- There was excessive violence without reason, throwing of stun grenades and 
use of tear gas. The behaved aggressively to unarmed people, even hitting them 
with their arms. Before transferring Marko Juric to a Pristina court, they 
dragged him through the streets of Pristina, escorted by Albanians who wanted 
to lynch him. Inside the armored vehicle carrying him, they beat and threatened 
him with a knife, while shouting “Allah is Great”. Belgrade treats this 
incident as a terrorist act. The cowardly kidnapping of Marco Juric and the 
injuring of 32 people who were taken to hospital caused great fear, tension and 
anger to Serbs of Kosovo and Metohija; however there were not violent reactions 
by Serbs noted. In this way, we yet again demonstrated our desire for dialogue. 
The decisive intervention of the Serbian President led to Marko Juric being 
immediately released.


-What are the living conditions of the Kosovo Serbs?


- They still have problems. Some of them, in some areas, do not even have the 
freedom to move. They are constantly falling victim to robberies, there are 
political arrests of even elderly people after alleged allegations by their 
neighbors (Albanians), in order for their properties to be grabbed. Also, the 
Orthodox Serbian Church, whose property is in constant danger, also faces major 
problems. Until now, despite the kidnappings, murders and robberies against 
Kosovo Serbs, no one has been brought to justice.


- How can the problems in the region be resolved?


- -The position of Serbia is clear. Belgrade cannot recognize the Kosovo 
regime. We are ready to discuss some things, but not the recognition of 
independence. There are 130,000 Serbs living in Kosovo and there are cultural 
and ecclesiastical monuments of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries that show 
that the area is Serbian and even today, after everything, over 60% of land 
according to the Land Registry belongs to the Serbian Orthodox Church and the 
Serbian people. We are ready to compromise but the Kosovo regime must do the 


- Is Serbia interested in joining the EU?


-It is one of the main goals of our foreign policy. Given Serbia's unyielding 
efforts to join the EU, it is a matter of a few years for Serbia to become a 
member of the EU.


- How do you characterize relations between Nicosia and Belgrade?


- This relationship is an example of friendly relations between states. They 
are fraternal, they are sincere and we must not forget the support we have from 
the Republic of Cyprus. It is a relationship governed by mutual respect and 
common struggles for the preservation and implementation of international law.


- Does Belgrade believe talks between Greece and Skopje will have a successful 


-These issues are internal to each country. We will, however, welcome whatever 
decision is reached by the two parties and we are ready to contribute, if 
asked, to solving this problem in order to ensure peace and political stability 
in the Balkans.


- How does Belgrade view the latest raid in Kosovo by the Turkish secret 


- In the light of what has happened lately, it will be very interesting to 
watch the development of relations between the two opposing political movements 
among the Albanians in Kosovo, the one acting under the orders of the United 
States and the other operating on the orders of Turkey. Serbia has also for 
years warned of the unsustainability of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija 
and the inability of Kosovo's "institutions" to maintain political stability 
and control on Kosovo's territory. The area of ​​the South Serbian province 
(Kosovo and Metohija) since 1999, particularly since the unilateral 
proclamation of the Independence of “Kosovo”, has become a vessel for organized 
crime and terrorism and, moreover, the biggest security challenge for the whole 
of Europe.... / <http://www.balkaneu.com>  IBNA


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