Nikolic replies to Roth: No independence for Kosovo

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The cabinet of Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic late on Tuesday reacted to statements made by German politician Michael Roth.

According to Vecernje Novosti, Roth, who serves as minister of state for Europe in Germany’s Foreign Ministry, “shocked Serbian state leadership” when he said Serbia will have Germany’s support if the country is determined to become a part of the EU and not of Russia.

Nikolic’s cabinet also reacted to Roth’s remark that “everything must be clear regarding the issue of Kosovo” before Serbia joins the EU. 

“The Constitution of Serbia is clear and the president of the Republic will never violate it. Serbia is militarily neutral and it will never accept Kosovo’s independence. At the same time, we meet the conditions for EU accession as long as a recognition of Kosovo and Metohija is not required,” presidential adviser Stanislava Pak-Stankovic told the newspaper. 

Speaking at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade on Monday, Roth said Germany supports Serbia if it is determined in its intention to become a part of the EU and not of Russia, and that the EU “has its foreign and security policy” and expects Serbia to gradually align with it. 

On Tuesday, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said Roth’s statement was “inappropriate and offensive, to say the least.” 

Ivo Viskovic, who teaches at the Faculty of Political Sciences and in the past served as Serbia’s ambassador to Germany, told Sputnik that the German official’s statement “should not be understood as an insult.” Instead, Viskovic, said, it should be viewed as “a logical process of harmonizing Belgrade’s foreign policy with the policy of Brussels.” 

The opposition DSS party has also reacted, accusing the government of lacking the courage to tell Serbian citizens which conditions the country must fulfill and what price it must pay in order to approach EU membership. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the DSS also said that “it has been known well and for a long time that Germany’s and Serbia’s interests and irreconcilably conflicted.”

(B92, 14.09.2016)

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