President: Kosovo will never become state
SOURCE: TANJUG, JERUSALEM POST
JERUSALEM -- President Tomislav Nikolić told the Jerusalem Post that Kosovo will never be a state, because it cannot become one without the consent of Serbia.
"We know that Serbia will be exposed to terrible pressure to recognize (Kosovo), but we will never do that, and without the consent of Serbia, Kosovo will not be a state," Nikolić said in an interview given ahead of his visit to Israel earlier this week, which has been fully published on Friday.
He added that the pressure was of the "economic nature".
"Of course, the EU will say that if we recognize Kosovo, our children will have a much better future. But we cannot do that. This is not about nationalism, it is not about hate. It is about love - love for our own people, for our country," Nikolić stressed.
Referring to the recently signed agreement with Priština in Brussels, he said: "We were faced with a dilemma - whether to be in constant conflict with the (ethnic) Albanians, or to resolve the matter. We did not have a lot of power in our hands. We had good arguments and justice on our side, but international media support Albanians very openly. Over the years our people have been forced to leave Kosovo and if this was allowed to continue one day perhaps we might wake up and realize that there is no more of our people there. Therefore, we decided to elevate the negotiations to the highest possible level."
The Serbian president then said that "now there is no war, negotiations are held," and remarked that he "wrote letters to various countries to explain that the negotiations do not constitute for a recognition of Kosovo," - which was unilaterally declared as independent by ethnic Albanians there over five years ago, something that Serbia rejected.
"The fact is that we secured much more rights for the Serb community in Kosovo than what they have had so far," he was quoted as saying.
Asked by the newspaper whether by recognizing Kosovo, a sovereign part of Serbia, as an independent country, the Western states create a dangerous precedent and encourage various secessionist movements across Europe, Nikolić said that the West "has been advised of the possibility."
"We pointed to more than 100 examples of such movements in the world. It's easy to break Serbia by force, but what will you do if the entire European civilization begins to fall apart, or if multicultural countries begin to divide along ethnic lines," Nikolić said, and added that he "truly attempts to avoid any kind of conflict."
Speaking about the Hague Tribunal, Nikolić said that Serbia handed over 46 people, including two presidents, various government ministers, three chiefs of army and several police and army generals, including the head of the intelligence services. The court handed down sentences together of over 1,150 years in prison to the Serbs, while those who have committed crimes against Serbs were sentenced to only 50 years in all.
He noted that more than 300,000 ethnic Serbs were driven out of their homes and forced to leave Croatia, and are yet to be allowed to return there, while Croatia was now entering the EU.
"Someone must be to blame - who is to blame? It is impossible that such a big crime occurs and no one is to blame. "
Nikolić told the newspaper that Serbia has excellent relations with Israel, but that it finds itself "in a very complicated position" in relation to the problem that concerns the Israelis and the Palestinians, because the country has friendly feelings towards both - "and because of that, this conflict really hurts us."