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Dacic: Serbia's approach is constructive and responsible, ZSO precondition of all preconditions


Asked whether the agreement on the ZSO includes only the four municipalities in the north of Kosovo and Metohija or if it is to be formed in the entire territory of the southern Serbian province, Dacic said that it concerns ten municipalities

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Ivica Dačić

Photo: Milena Djordjevic

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Ivica Dacic says that it is a big thing for Serbia that both Washington and Brussels, although they know the "red lines" of Serbia, evaluate Belgrade's approach to the dialogue with Pristina as constructive and responsible, and reiterated that the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) is "the precondition of all preconditions."

Dacic, who was in Washington, where he was a guest at the Prayer Breakfast and met with US officials from the State Department and Congress, stressed for Voice of America the two red lines of Belgrade - the issue of recognizing so-called Kosovo, that is, the question of its membership in the UN and as he said "a precondition of all preconditions" - the formation of the ZSO first, reports Tanjug.

"That is something that we really don't need to discuss or negotiate again, because it's something that we agreed on when we signed that agreement 10 years ago," said Dacic.

According to Dacic, perhaps the most important message in Washington is that the performance and position of President Vucic, i.e. Serbia, is considered constructive and responsible and is often compared to Pristina and Prime Minister of the provisional institutions of Pristina Albin Kurti, of which there are opposite assessments.

"I could hear here that they express themselves positively about Serbia, and they themselves say that the position of the Quint, including the US, has changed very significantly in relation to this positioning of Serbia, which shows that it was a correct decision," said Dacic, speaking about meetings with the State Department's special adviser, Derek Chollet, and the US special envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar.

Speaking about the ZSO, Dacic pointed out that it is part of the process of the Brussels Agreement, "something that was agreed on," "a precondition for the return of Serbs to institutions."

Asked what he was told in Washington about the "red lines," Dacic said that the US has different views and stated that Chollet told him that he was "wasting time with withdrawals of recognition."

"I mean, it's simply not that important for them. It's important for us. Why is it important? Because we don't have the support of major powers, so we have to rely on numbers, and those numbers... if someone wants, for example, Kosovo to go for membership in the UN, it is very important to us what each of those countries thinks, because after all, there are principles according to which a vote is taken," said Dacic.

Asked whether the agreement on the ZSO includes only the four municipalities in the north of Kosovo and Metohija or if it is to be formed in the entire territory of the southern Serbian province, Dacic said that it concerns ten municipalities.

Dacic said that the Bitici case was not discussed during the visit because other more current topics were on the agenda. Speaking about the fact that Serbia did not join sanctions against Russia, Dacic said that Serbia is extremely principled and condemns violations of territorial integrity.

"The problem here is that neither the West nor the East is principled enough, that is, they interpret the principle of territorial integrity differently," said Dacic.

He added that the West thinks that the territorial integrity of Ukraine should be defended, but that the issue of the territorial integrity of Serbia, i.e., Kosovo and Metohija, is different, and that they always interpret it as an issue for itself.

"So now we have to look at our interest, and that interest is that if we have not completed the dialogue with Pristina, then it is not correct for someone to push Pristina to become a member of the Council of Europe, or the UN or the EU. As long as that is the case, as long as we have no guarantees from the West that they will be fair toward us, we cannot lightly give up our position and safe votes when it comes to the position regarding Kosovo and Metohija," Dacic believes.

When asked whether Serbia will impose sanctions against Russia if the decision not to causes damage to Serbia that cannot be tolerated, Dacic assesses that Serbia is not close to such a situation at the moment.


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