At the margins of the Munich Security Conference, Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic said for Politico that, in reaching the agreement with Pristina, he is motivated by higher goals, not daily politics.
In their discussion at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of leaders, lawmakers and policy experts from around the world at a luxurious hotel, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci traded accusations about the war and argued over who is to blame for the current breakdown in the EU-sponsored dialogue meant to tackle their differences.
Vucic made clear he won’t go back to the negotiating table until Kosovo lifts 100 per cent tariffs imposed on Serbian goods last November in response to Belgrade’s efforts to block Pristina’s membership of police agency Interpol. But if the tariffs are scrapped, he said, he would go “immediately back to Brussels” to resume dialogue.
Informed that Haradinaj, the driving force behind the tariffs, had said they would only be removed once a final deal is reached, Vucic replied: “I thought that he was irresponsible but not that irresponsible.”
He called for outside powers to exercise “positive pressure” on all sides — making clear they want to see a deal and offering incentives to help bring it about. But he said: “It’s more about us, Serbs and Albanians, to tell you the truth.”
He said the two sides have to be free to discuss where to draw a common border — even though talk of a possible land swap has triggered condemnation in the region and split international powers.
Vucic played down the EU’s enthusiasm for the idea that the North Macedonia deal could generate momentum for a settlement between Serbia and Kosovo.
“It shows that Europe needed some good news, more than it is very much relevant regarding the situation between Belgrade and Pristina,” he said.
“It cannot be compared … It’s 100 times more difficult.”
But, he stressed, a deal had to be made: “Otherwise we’ll face a catastrophe.”
Vucic said he is motivated by a higher purpose than day-to-day politics in pursuing a deal with Kosovo that may be unpopular at home.
“I believe in someone’s legacy, that’s what I would like to see,” he said.
(Blic, Politico, 18.02.2019)
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