Source: Vecernje novosti
"Serbia has reached a new stage in relations with the EU, the opening of chapters, which is the key and probably the longest stage of our accession to the Union. Along with the 34 standard chapters, Serbia has the burdensome chapter 35. It refers to Kosovo and Metohija and will be the topic of discussions the most, and it will be the most difficult to establish a principle with Europe around that: which requirements established by this chapter Serbia can fulfill, and which it cannot," said Nikolic.
He pointed out that "we now need to wait for the key items that are speculated about to be delivered to those in Serbia who work on this chapter."
"All information should be made available to the public and it needs to know what we are negotiating with regard to Kosovo and Metohija and which points of these agreements imply the attributes of an independent state. That is, whether we, by acceptaning what is asked of us, pretending not to - are de facto accepting Kosovo's independence - or if we will say openly that it is simply not acceptable, because Serbia does not accept what a majority of humankind does not accept, and that is for the so-called state of Kosovo to become an independent state, a member of the UN."
"Therefore, this will be the most difficult chapter. Chapter 35 was invented because a large number of states recognized the independence of Kosovo and Metohija and because they want to finally take this issue off the agenda. This essentially means they do not want a problem like Cyprus. For Serbia, on the other hand, it would be the ideal solution, which means full membership within its borders as a UN member, while afterwards we would talk. No - they will simply ask that we agree on everything beforehand, before we join. Therefore, it should be discussed with cool heads and there should be a general, Serbian consensus on it," said Nikolic.
In his opinion, "it will be the most difficult because in all this, it is most difficult to determine oneself toward Kosovo and Metohija."
"Many would like us to solve this problem as soon as possible. Others will say it is out of the question, at any price. And the government, which will be taking care of all that and determining the principles for chapter 35, which will take both the glory and the responsibility for solving this problem, it must be very cautious, must be fully prepared and clear in determining what agreements it is reaching, that is, what it is negotiating. Especially if it is known that at he end awaits - if it awaits - the task to sign a legally binding agreement with the so-called state of Kosovo, which we do not recognize and will never be able to recognize," said Nikolic.
The Serbian president stressed that a key point when it comes to Kosovo and Metohija was "determining the status of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Serbian cultural heritage."
"There are many things about which we could agree with the Albanians, if heritage of the Albanian people is clearly delineated from the heritage of the Serbian people. I really do not think we should, nor can, take care of the heritage of the Albanian people, but for that reason I will not let anyone interfere with what we are doing with our own heritage. I want to congratulate citizens of Serbia on the opening, at last, of the two chapters, and warn them that the process is very long. And yes, at the pace of two to three chapters per year, they can calculate how long it will take if everything goes well. And I would like to tell them that nothing can be gained without sacrifice, but that what we intend to gain must be adequate to what we are sacrificing," Nikolic said.