Friday, May 10, 2013

Nikolic: Serbs have to agree on Brussels deal

5/9/2013 12:48:00 PM BELGRADE - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has stated that Serbs have to agree on the implementation of the agreement reached by Belgrade and Pristina, adding that the process leading to Serbs from northern Kosovo-Metohija becoming the citizens of a non-existent state (of Kosovo) has been stopped. "We Serbs have to reach an agreement. I cannot imagine us making an agreement with Albanians and not making it with the Serbs in northern Kosovo, who have not been left in the lurch," Nikolic said in an RTS broadcast. 

 The president stressed that by accepting the Brussels deal the constant threat of intrusion and imposition of powers by (Albanian) Kosovo authorities in the Serb-majority north of the province had ceased to exist. All the institutions that the Serbs today have in northern Kosovo and that Albanians and the EU label as parallel, will become formally official once the Brussels agreement is implemented, and no one will ever again be able to touch them, 

Nikolic pointed out. He added that police in northern Kosovo, claimed to be illegal, would become official as well, stressing that the ethnic composition of the police would match the one of the population. Nikolic also said that the intention had been to continue the talks on energy, telecommunications, and freedom of movement "until the Serbs become citizens of Kosovo and of a non-existent state." "We stopped this and we now have an agreement which some Serbs, especially in northern Kosovo-Metohija, say is not good, but Albanians are not satisfied with it either," the president said, adding that this is why no agreement on the implementation of the deal was reached in Brussels on Wednesday. 

 "The talks were interrupted, because the Albanian plan to completely forget about the Brussels agreement was not accomplished," he pointed out, and explained that the Albanian party had asked for abolition of the so-called parallel institutions and creations of interim ones, without Serbs participating, all before the forming of a community of Serb municipalities in keeping with the agreement. Commenting on the claims by critics of the agreement that the negotiations should have been postponed, Nikolic said Serbia could not wait and that the time for an agreement was right. "Serbia was deceived, or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (after the NATO bombing of 1999), because it believed the conflict was frozen, that the situation remained as it had been in terms of international relations," he stated. Nikolic explained he would be willing to wait for an opportunity for a better solution if the UN and EU followed Resolution 1244 and guaranteed to Serbia that the conflict would remain frozen. However, since the first high representative left, everything has been done for Kosovo to become independent and a member of international institutions, he pointed out.

 "We could not wait for the situation to change, because the Albanians would have attempted in the meantime to expand to northern Kosovo and no one would have been able to stop them," he said. The Belgrade team for the talks in Brussels suffered problems and blackmail, but they held out through all that and protected the national interest, but someone then shows up in Serbia and says they worked for the Albanians, Nikolic remarked. He stressed he would never recognize Kosovo, nor allow someone to recognize it, and that everything that was agreed during the talks with Pristina was in line with the Constitution and could be part of a substantial autonomy for Kosovo. According to Nikolic, after the agreement on the normalization of relations with Pristina was initialled in Brussels on April 19, he wrote to all the countries that have not recognized Kosovo to explain what it was that Serbia accepted. When asked if he would follow the decision by the Constitutional Court if it said the agreement was in violation of the Constitution,

 Nikolic stated he would. He explained he had asked the court and the parliament speaker to wait for an agreement with Pristina that would result in a law on a substantial autonomy for Kosovo and then decide on whether the law was according to the Constitution. Commenting on the calls for the people to vote on the agreement, Nikolic said he was not avoiding a referendum, but that it would be unpleasant to create a conflict between the Serbs in northern Kosovo and the other Serbs, because things would probably be interpreted as Serbia being unable to move forward unless they accepted what the government proposed. Photo Tanjug, N. Jovanović, archive

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