On the eve of a meeting of the Regional office for the cooperation of youths (RYCO) Managing Board due to be held in Pristina, Serbia’s representative Milica Skiljevic was replaced because she said she would go to Kosovo despite the country’s instructions, N1 reported on Wednesday.
The reason for her replacement was Serbia’s Government decision that the move would be against the country’s interest, while Skiljevic said she only wanted to present the interest of young people.
The Regional Office was formed to improve relations among youths and was meant to act independently from the politics carried out by the countries they came from.
“I learned about the decision indirectly and then waited for a while expecting to be personally informed since it was about me. When that didn’t happen, I demanded an expiation from the Ministry of Youth and Sports which I haven’t received yet,” Skiljevic said.
However, the Ministry told N1 the problem was with the plan to have the RYCO Managing Board session in the building of Kosovo’s Government, and due to that, it was decided for Serbia’s representatives not to attend.
But, the Ministry said, Skiljevic wanted to go, and Serbia’s Government saw that as the violation of the Instruction for state and other official institutions acting concerning Kosovo.
“Milica Skiljevic unequivocally refused to respect the Instructions and said she would act as she thought she should do, aware of the consequences such move will bear. Accordingly, the Government dismissed her on March 12,” the Ministry said.
Skiljevic explained her step as “exclusively in line with the purpose of the Regional Office – the benefit of the young people in the region and the improvement of their relations. That’s why, she added, a representative had to remain independent from the government.
A RYCO member Nikola Ristic said the disputes among the member states made the work of the Office difficult.
Skiljevic got support from colleagues across the region who said she had always been committed to the best interests of young people.
“We want to remind all the governments of the RYCO member states that the Office was not founded as a platform for achieving political goals, but as an answer to the needs of the youths – to create a better region with more possibilities and support,” RYCO representatives said.
They added that “there is no room for negative consequences related to our work prompted by bilateral or any other misunderstandings.”