Preserving and protecting territorial integrity, EU integration, and better cooperation with countries around the world are Serbia’s main foreign policy goals. First Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said this on Wednesday in Belgrade, and pointed out that Serbia has strengthened its position on the international scene.
At the session of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Serbian National Assembly, Dacic resented a report on the work of his ministry for the period from May last year to February 1, saying it was making great efforts to reduce the number of countries that recognize Kosovo, announcing new withdrawals of recognition.
Speaking about the recent session of the UN Security Council, which discussed the report of the UN chief on Kosovo and Metohija, Dacic said there was a great fight to hold that session at all, and there was a danger that this would not happen. He recalled it was agreed to hold three sessions of this type this year, and in 2020 two sessions.
“With this we closed the issue, the question will no longer be whether these meetings will be held or not. Kosovo was surprised that the session was held at all,” Dacic noted, adding that the meeting in New York was very positive for Serbian interests. Dacic also said Serbia should maintain and establish contacts with smaller and less influential countries in the world, among other things, to ensure that they vote in favor of Serbia in international forums.
“Many officials would rather go to Brussels than to Burundi, but, trust me, it’s nicer in Burundi, because they like us there. These are our friendly countries where none of us went for twenty years,” Dacic said.
This year there will again be voting at UNESCO and Interpol (on Pristina’s membership bid), Dacic said, and added that Kosovo no longer has a majority to be able to easily join important international organizations. “It is therefore important that we keep in touch with all these countries in order to have a stable situation regarding those who would vote for our proposals,” Dacic said.
Dacic said that Kosovo cannot be a member of the OSCE, while it is possible they might apply for membership in the Council of Europe, which would be most difficult to prevent since most member states recognize Kosovo. “We are monitoring the situation in the Council of Europe,” Dacic said.
Dacic also announced new withdrawals of recognition of Kosovo, but did not want to specify which countries this concerned, adding “it happens that ahead of his talks with some countries on their withdrawal of recognition, those countries come under pressure from the United States not to do so.”
The minister said that out of 193 UN member-states, 91 countries certainly did not recognize Kosovo, and that of the 102 remaining ones, there are several countries that for a long time, although they recognized Kosovo, have not voted in international forums in favor of Kosovo, such as Egypt, and Oman.
“To have the majority, we need six more countries, I think they already have less than half, but I’m not satisfied by somebody telling me, ‘we did not recognize (Kosovo), we need papers,” Dacic said.
The minister said that Serbia pays special attention to countries in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, as well as in Africa and Asia. “Those 13 countries that have revoked their recognition have a total of 55 to 60 million people and together about a million square kilometers of land, which is also 13 votes in the United Nations,” Dacic underlined.