Thursday, December 3, 2015

PM opens OSCE conference, warns about "Balkan powder keg"

Aleksandar Vucic said at the opening of the OSCE Ministerial Council that the Balkans remains "a powder keg that needs only a spark to explode again."
Source: B92
"I must express my concern for the stability in the Balkans. Serbia is a stable country, but several crisis situation in the region are enough - in Macedonia, Montenegro, Pristina - for the whole region be set on fire again," the Serbian prime minister on Thursday.
He noted that this message was "for those who do not understand how important stability in the Balkans is," and stressed that Belgrade considers relations in the region to be among its priorities.

"With the hotheads in Serbia, we will know how to deal," Vucic said in his speech at the beginning of the big OSCE summit in Belgrade.

The Serbian prime minister said that cooperation and understanding are important for the whole world.

"We learned how important it is. The slightest conflict may initiate a chain reaction," said Vucic.

The instability in Kosovo, he noted, was endangering the Brussels dialogue, but Serbia will, he confirmed, continue to conduct it, "because it is the only way to ensure security, its own and of the Albanians in Kosovo."

"Serbia chooses life and prosperity, rather than conflict," said Vucic, adding that the country and the region "are a part of Europe" and that Serbia continues on its European path, where it is grateful for the help from "American colleagues" and at the same time preserves its traditional friendship with Russia.

Vucic called on all "guests of Belgrade" to adopt joint conclusions and recommendations during the conference that would be aimed at solving many problems, a key among them being the migrant crisis

"For this problem we must have a common policy," Vucic said.

The migrant crisis, he pointed out, has shown all the weaknesses of internal organizations of states and systems, of international organizations - "but also reminded us that there is no cooperation and support without police and security cooperation."
"There is also the fear that foreign terrorist fighters might appear, those who joined the war in Syria and Iraq, and the fear grows and grows.... so does xenophobia," warned the Serbian prime minister, urging that the refugee problems be solved.

Vucic said that hundreds of thousands of migrants have so far passed through Serbia, "wanting to reclaim their right to a future", and pointed out that although Serbia is ready to participate in the solution, they will have to be brought through joint efforts primarily of those countries that are providing homes for refugees.

Vučić underlined "the big problem of extremism for the whole world" which, he said, "can be prevented by educating the youth." Also, he said that "human life is worth the same everywhere - from Paris to the aircraft over Sinai."

Vucic expressed his gratitude for the cooperation and support during the year of Serbia's OSCE presidency and wished the participants in the two-day Ministerial Council "productive work and a pleasant stay in Belgrade."

"Even the great Le Corbusier said that Belgrade is the best positioned city in Europe," recalled Vucic, adding, "that is why we love it and why we have been able to preserve it."

"Welcome to the land of proud and good people, welcome to Serbia," said Vucic.

The Ministerial Council of the OSCE in Belgrade started with a plenary session opened by OSCE Chairperson and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.

The two-day ministerial meeting of the OSCE, during which the Serbian capital will host more than 40 ministers of foreign affairs, will be attend, among others, by diplomacy chiefs of the U.S., Russia and the EU - John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov and Federica Mogherini, as well as Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland.

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