Monday, October 7, 2013

Dacic: I am not blackmailing European Union

BELGRADE - Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said Friday that Pristina’s decision to ban him from entering Kosovo during the local elections campaign in the province is obstructing the implementation of the April 19 Brussels agreement and stressed that he is not blackmailing the European Union with his attitude about it. Dacic, who announced earlier that Belgrade will pull out of the talks with Pristina if the ban is not revoked, said that he was told that Pristina would make the decision to ban Serbian officials from entering the province and that he informed the head of the EU delegation and representatives of the Quint countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy) about it.

 “A number of EU representatives told me that I cannot blackmail the European Union. People, get real! Nobody is blackmailed here. You should lead a dialogue with someone who can go to Kosovo,” Dacic said at a joint press conference with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag in Belgrade. Dacic pointed out that Serbia is committed to peace and dialogue, but nobody should be humiliating it. It is, however, in Serbia’s best interest to continue the negotiating process, he added. “The European Commission has not yet commented upon this. 

This is a direct obstruction of (the implementation of) the Brussels agreement." Dacic said that he has accepted the invitation by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to come and discuss all the problems in Brussels on Monday. Dacic said that the purpose of his visit to Kosovo, which was to take place in Strpce on Friday afternoon, was to call on local Serbs to participate in the elections called by Pristina. The Serbian prime minister said one cannot talk about trust in the dialogue process if he, as a signatory of the Brussels agreement, is not allowed to go to Kosovo. “The issue has brought Brussels’ credibility, not just mine, into question,” Dacic said. -------

--- Serbia wants good and friendly relations with Turkey
 Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic said Friday that Serbia has a genuine intention to develop good and friendly relations with Turkey in all fields, stressing that it is important for the stability of the region. At a joint press conference with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bakir Bozdag in Belgrade, Dacic said that political relations between the two countries are very good and that they should lead to further progress in the fields of economy, culture and education. “Our foreign trade amounts to half a billion euros every year, and we think it can increase. We are grateful to Turkey for the donations and projects that are being implemented in Serbia,” Dacic said.

 He stressed the importance of the agreements on mutual abolition of visa requirements and on free trade between Serbia and Turkey. Dacic said that in a meeting he had Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, he proposed holding joint government meetings which would rotate between Turkey and Serbia and it met with support it today's talks. He also said that the Serbia-Bosnia-Herzegovina-Turkey trilateral is a practice that should continue and that Muslims and Bosniaks in Serbia are the bridge and encouragement for the development of even better relations between the two countries, which also met with the approval of the Turkish deputy prime minister. Bozdag said Turkey supports the opening of Serbia's negotiations with the EU, adding that he hopes Belgrade will not have to wait for the EU entry for as long as Turkey has knocked on the European door.

 “Serbia is a key country when it comes to bringing peace, prosperity and stability in the region and therefore the stability of Serbia and Serbia's economic development is beneficial not only for it, but for the entire region as well,” said Bozdag. There is a desire by Turkish investors to continue investing in Serbia, and vice versa, and for the two countries to cooperate in third market, although the trade volume has still not reached a satisfactory level, Bozdag said. Bozdag announced new projects in addition to a EUR six million investment by the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA). Also, we sincerely support the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, he said, adding that the existing problems need to be overcome in a reasonable manner. Photo Tanjug/D. Stankovic

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