Only a blind person could believe that problems in the Balkans are over, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said late on Tuesday.
The regional conflict will last until the cause of those problems have been found – if you sweep all the problems under the carpet, you will trip over that carpet, Dacic told a talk show broadcast on TV Happy.
“Have the problems that had led to the wars in the Balkans been removed – no. This is merely an interlude between some new conflicts, not because of the Serbs, but because of the unsolved issues in the Balkans. If great powers don’t understand that, they’re creating a problem, we will be going round in circles,” he stressed.
Speaking about the pressure coming from great powers that have recognized Kosovo, the minister directly mentioned the United States, Britain, and France.
“I cannot say these are our friends – I beg President Vucic’s pardon, they are not working in favor of our interests, they are working against them. I can respect them as partners, but they’re far from being our friends,” he stressed, and added:
“These are big powers, they think that just because somebody comes from the (US) State Department they can dictate conditions here. America will analyze our military cooperation with Russia – if they have something to say to us, let Donald Trump or Rex Tillerson come here and say it, I’m not listening to what (US State Department official) Bryan Hoyt Yee is telling me this, he can go to my assistant, my deputy…”
On the other hand, Dacic added, “the Russians are our friends, our brothers.”
“Ten years ago many countries recognized Kosovo under pressure. Ten years have gone by and Kosovo has not rounded off its independence and never will as long as Serbia is what it is, has these authorities, as long as it will not make compromises at the expense of its own state. Russia will not allow Kosovo to join the UN because it has veto powers,” Dacic remarked.
He spoke about lobbying to say that when he recently visited Washington, a man called Barjaktari who originally came from Kosovo sat at the table next to Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster.
“The only solution for us is to talk to Trump and the new administration, because the State Department will never move on,” Dacic stressed.
The minister urged “all our people, wherever they are in the world, to make use of all their connections, and to contact him” in order to “together try to talk to some states.”
He pointed out that Serbia on several occasions scored own goals after October 5, 2000, citing as an example Goran Svilanovic, Vojislav Kostunica and others accepting that “we should appear in the UN as a new member.”
“The MFA at the time warned both Svilanovic and Kostunica that this was not good for our interests – how can we, a founder of the UN, appear as a new member?,” Dacic said.
He said there had been various negotiations with the Albanian side, “and at the time we could have talked about many variants of how to resolve the Kosovo issue.”
“The situation is such that what could have been discussed in 2005 or 2006, can hardly be discussed today. At that time, we had the principle of rejecting everything that is proposed as a compromise – that’s not contentious, but it is contentious that we did not consider the consequences, and the consequence of that is the proclamation of unilateral independence in 2008 and that by 2012, when a new government was formed with the SNS, more than 80 countries had recognized Kosovo’s independence,” Dacic said.
“We already lost that race at the start – Europe in the highest percentage recognized Kosovo, and we left the countries of Africa and Asia to others,” Dacic said. “I think that someone in Serbia should sit down and draft a new memorandum or a new nachertaniye.”
Speaking about relations in the region, Dacic pointed out that the Serbs in Slovenia do not have the status of a national minority, that in Croatia they were once a constituent people, and that Croats are now a problem for Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He also said that in Montenegro, a third of the population declares themselves as Serbs, but, he added, “I am looking to see one Serb hold an office in Montenegro – what kind of a thing is that?”
“I told Milo Djukanovic that it would be too much to ask for reciprocity , considering how many Montenegrins hold offices in Serbia – they would not have no spots left for Montenegrins,” Dacic said.
In Macedonia, he added, the government believes that Serbia is working against that country – “we challenged that many times.”
“They warn us from the EU about using the term the Republic of Macedonia, we have problems in the negotiations with the EU… they say it must be FYROM (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). We are getting our knuckles rapped for recognizing Macedonia under its constitutional name. The Greeks are angry, the EU is angry, while Macedonia is voting in favor of Kosovo in UNSCO. Do you want us to be friends? We will, but it has to be mutual,” said Dacic.