Vučić on CNN:“We don’t want a war with NATO“

“Serbia is the last country that needs incidents because it has always been and will continue to be a constructive partner. In contrast, after 10 years, Pristina is not ready to establish the Community of Serbian Municipalities and wants to continue with the gradual ethnic cleansing of the Serbs, primarily in northern Kosovo,” President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic said in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour yesterday.

In the interview, Vucic underlined that although Serbia valued the reports coming from the White House, the State Department and other US institutions, that they were not accurate this time around. Regarding the US request for Serbia to withdraw its army from the administrative line with Kosovo, he said there was no reason for greater concern because Serbia did not need a war with NATO. On the contrary, Serbia wanted to see a stronger KFOR presence in northern Kosovo.

He reminded that Serbia had signed an agreement with NATO in 2002, allowing access to the security zone, with the provision that it could be used freely, without restrictions and concerning equipment.

“A year ago, we had 14,000 people on the administrative line, a few days ago less than 8,400, and today 4,400, which is a regular number,” he explained.

He said that Serbia always listened when its partners urged for de-escalation of tension.

“There is no reason for greater concern, we do not need a war with NATO; on the contrary, we want a stronger KFOR presence, especially in northern Kosovo. That would be one way to help the security and safety of the Serbs, especially in the north,” Vucic emphasized.

When asked about allegations that Milan Radoicic admitted to participating in the shooting on September 24 and whether, a few hours later, he had allegedly brought thousands of soldiers to the scene to divert attention from it, Vucic replied that it was not about that and that he did not order state of alert in the Serbian Army.

“Our army has been monitoring the situation on the ground and moved its forces in a way they believed would be most useful. However, I did not order for it to be in a state of alert. There was no increase in the number of soldiers on the ground,”  Vucic said.

He added that Serbia was the last country that needed incidents in Kosovo because of the dynamics of the negotiation process.

“Everyone could see that Serbia is a constructive partner, making concessions, while the other side made none. They conducted ethnic cleansing. Since Albin Kurti came to power, the number of Serbs living in Kosovo dropped by 10%. Also, during that period, there had been 420 attacks on Serb civilians,” Vucic said.

In response to Amanpour’s comment that the United States and the EU say the Serbian army must withdraw and the perpetrators must face justice and to the question of whether Radoicic, who “admitted to being the culprit,” would be held responsible, Vucic said that Serbia would, of course, call to account all those who had committed criminal acts on its territory.

“He is available, he is on our territory, and the prosecution will do its job. That is important,” the President of Serbia added.

He stated, however, that the root of the problem was something else, but that no one wanted to hear that.

“The problem is that the Serbs wanted to protect themselves. I will not defend the killing of an Albanian police officer, I condemn it, but I say that the Serbs were being arrested without charges, evicted from their homes, which were searched… none of that is in line with the Brussels Agreement and international law. The Community of Serbian Municipalities has not been formed even after 10 years because the Albanian regime in Pristina did not want it. People wanted to defend themselves,” Vucic pointed out.

(Vreme, 03.10.2023)


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