Vučić: Either we have normalisation or frozen conflict disrupted with violence

Aleksandar Vučić; Photo: Tanjug / Sava Radovanović

BELGRADE – The condition for returning to the negotiating table is still the abolition of taxes on Serbian goods, said the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić while he was addressing the members of the National Assembly on Monday, adding that Albanians would attack Serbia if the current situation is preserved.

“If they abolish the taxes, I will do my best to try to reach a compromise solution,” said Vučić, stating that there are only two possibilities for further relations between Serbia and Kosovo – normalisation or frozen conflict.

As he pointed out, the second option does not mean anything, because the Albanians could “thaw” this conflict at any moment.

“A frozen conflict cannot exist as our solution, because the Albanians do not want to accept that. And that is why they are getting more nervous day by day. It is only a matter of the day and month when they will attack Serbia because they cannot stand it. We can, even though this would slow down our EU integration path, which is very important for us,” he stressed.

According to him, normalisation can exist only in two cases – the first one is seen by the international community and Albanians, according to which Kosovo is an independent state while giving “some rights to the Serbs”; the second option is some kind of delimitation, which Vučić proposed last year.

Nevertheless, the majority of opposition members, mostly members of the coalition Alliance for Serbia, boycotted the session, and the hearing of Vučić’s speech was attended primarily by representatives of the government and guests. Also, a great controversy was caused by the presence of Milan Radoičić, who is suspected of involvement in last year’s murder of Oliver Ivanović in Kosovska Mitrovica.

The ambassadors of Germany and the United States, as well as the European Union, attended the session, and Vučić stated that the EU remains a strategic goal for Serbia, especially after the European Parliament election results.

“We are on the path of European integration because we want to be that type of society. And let’s not talk about democracy and the rule of law now – let’s talk about economics. Sixty-eight per cent of our trade is with the EU, our biggest investors come from there,” he said.

Belgrade’s participation in the dialogue with Pristina has done a lot to boost Serbia’s international reputation, and on the other hand, the status of Kosovo, which was a done deal, was returned to the negotiating table, said Vučić.

“If we were to join the EU between 2025 and 2030, this would drastically increase our chances of being close to this the least bad solution; everything else would lead us in a difficult situation,” he stressed.

According to him, however, the EU so far has not done much to persuade Kosovo’s officials to abolish taxes, which is the only condition for the continuation of the EU-Facilitated Dialogue.

“I do not have to tell you that neither the announcements nor the correct attitude of Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn, neither the member states nor the European Union has taken over anything against the Albanian side,” Vučić said.

“Pristina now does not want a dialogue – is it going to ask for it in the future, it is a question for their western mentors,” said the president of Serbia.

The Belgrade – Pristina dialogue, led since the arrival of Vučić’s party to power, he rated as a success, stating that Serbia did not lose anything that had not already been lost, but it has “returned to the game”.

Delimitation as a solution for normalisation would return a part of what was completely handed over, he added.

“According to all surveys, we would like for most of the things to remain as they are. But we do not have any guarantees for this, and this is impossible. And anyone who says that, does not tell the truth to our people. If there is no compromise solution, you just wait for the attack of Albanians,” concluded Vučić.