“Vučić’s Personal Game”: According to Danas interlocutors, why did Serbia sign the declaration from the Ukraine Peace Summit?

The Ukraine Peace Summit declaration was signed by Serbia and 79 other countries that attended the Ukraine Peace Summit in Switzerland. Among other things, it emphasizes that the signatory states support the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which is the basis for a peace agreement that would end the war.

The BRICS countries close to Moscow did not sign the document. Among those who withheld their signatures are Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand, according to Swiss media reports.

The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (RTS) reported that the final declaration was signed by 85 states and institutions out of around a hundred delegations that participated in the summit held at the resort of Bürgenstock, near Lucerne.

Signatories of the declaration, including Serbia, believe that achieving peace requires “inclusion and dialogue of all parties.” Serbia was represented at the summit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marko Đurić.

“We specifically reaffirm our commitment to refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine, within their internationally recognized borders, including territorial waters, and to peaceful conflict resolution as principles of international law,” the declaration states.

Zoran Vuletić, president of the Civic Democratic Forum (GDF), emphasized to Danas daily that Serbia has previously signed similar declarations and voted in the UN alongside the political West in condemning Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

“Additionally, it is evident that Serbia is providing military aid to Ukraine, which further reduces the pressure on us for not imposing sanctions on Russia, especially from the US. However, this is much less important than the fact that the Serbian public, not just Vučić, absolutely supports Putin’s war in Ukraine, almost by consensus. Our society is completely Russified, and today we have maybe two or three members of the Serbian Parliament who would vote for sanctions against Russia, unless it involves sanctions on caviar imports as humorously proposed by Zdravko Ponoš, the candidate of the so-called pro-EU opposition,” Vuletić states.

Our interlocutor explains that this relationship between Serbia and Russia was defined back in 2008, “when we handed over the entire energy sector to them to supposedly preserve the integrity of Serbia.”

“At that time, the decision was made jointly by Koštunica, Tadić, Dačić, Nikolić, Šešelj, Vučić, and all their associates, vice presidents of parties. Most of them are now an opposition to Vučić, but not to his policies. I am sure that everyone, from Miroslav Aleksić, Savo Manojlović, Đilas, Lazović, Ćuta, Ponoš, to Lutovac, would eagerly participate in the All-Serbian Assembly if only Vučić were not there. Porfirije and Dodik are acceptable to them. By conducting politics in this manner, they jointly defend Milošević’s failed policies and ruin the future of society, while our children are emigrating en masse, fleeing from Serbia,” Vuletić explains.

“In conclusion, I would say,” he adds, “that a much more important question is what Serbia means to Putin than what Russia or Ukraine means to Vučić.

“Russia is not at all concerned about the fact that Serbia occasionally votes with the West in the deepest secrecy from its citizens. Russia would even accept sanctions from Serbia under these conditions. What Russia would not accept is the resolution of the Kosovo issue, i.e., our final acceptance of the French-German plan, and particularly not the reform of the Dayton Agreement, which would give Bosnia and Herzegovina a chance to finally function,” Vuletić states.

According to him, for Putin, Serbia is a platform through which he destabilizes the region by keeping us on a powder keg.

“Unfortunately, the public in Serbia is deeply unaware of this danger due to the lack of media freedom and the oversimplification of politics in the fight against Vučić, with the belief that everything will be easy once he is gone. This is a great misconception,” Vuletić concludes.

Sonja Biserko, president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, reminds that Serbia has condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine from the beginning but emphasizes that Vučić is playing a political game because of Kosovo.

“Vučić uses Kosovo as an argument for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. He is also leveraging Russia because it has influence in Serbian society and its structures. So, this is his personal game—he has not fully committed to the West because Serbia has not done much on the reforms required by the EU. He will commit as much as he needs to for EU funds, but he will not abandon Russia,” Biserko explains to Danas.

Moreover, in the declaration signed by Serbia, it is stated that any use of nuclear energy and nuclear installations must be safe, secure, protected, and environmentally acceptable.

“Ukrainian nuclear power plants and facilities, including the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, must operate safely and under the full sovereign control of Ukraine and in accordance with IAEA principles and under its supervision. Any threat or use of nuclear weapons in the context of the ongoing war against Ukraine is unacceptable,” the document states. Additionally, the declaration notes that global food security depends on the continuous production and supply of food products.

“In that sense, free, complete, and safe commercial navigation, as well as access to ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, are of crucial importance. Attacks on merchant ships in ports and along the entire route, as well as on civilian ports and civil port infrastructure, are unacceptable. Food security must not be used as a weapon in any way. Ukrainian agricultural products should be safely and freely delivered to interested third countries,” the declaration states.

Thirdly, as added, all prisoners of war must be released through full exchange.

“All deported and unlawfully displaced Ukrainian children, as well as all other unlawfully detained Ukrainian civilians, must be returned to Ukraine. We believe that achieving peace requires the participation and dialogue of all parties. Therefore, we have decided to take concrete steps in these areas in the future, with further engagement of representatives from all sides. The Charter of the United Nations, including the principles of respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states, can and will be the basis for achieving comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine,'” the declaration states, as reported by D.

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