Serbia is paying high price due to geopolitical situation: President

Military neutrality, attitude toward conflict in Ukraine, not joining sanctions against Russia causes overall pressure on Serbia, Serbs in Bosnia Herzegovina, says Aleksandar Vucic

Talha Ozturk  | 30.03.2024 - Update : 31.03.2024
Serbia is paying high price due to geopolitical situation: President


President Aleksandar Vucic said Friday that Serbia is paying a high price due to the overall geopolitical situation and is in an extremely difficult situation without any fault of its own.

Vucic said in an address to the nation that the most important topic is the issue of Kosovo.

"I will talk about this and about our people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is about the overall pressure on Serbia and the Serbian people, primarily because of our military neutrality, our attitude towards the conflict in Ukraine, and Serbia's position that it condemns the attack on a sovereign country, but does not join the sanctions against Russia. The third reason is related to both previous ones, is that Western countries feel a lot of pressure due to the advancement of Russian forces and the uncertainty of how the war will end, and pressured by possible future policies from Moscow that will be based on what is often called the Kosovo precedent." said Vucic.

He said Serbia and Serbian people are often targeted because it is necessary to take all of it out of the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Vucic warned Wednesday that difficult days await his country and said he would soon inform the nation about the challenges.

''Difficult days are ahead for Serbia. At this moment, it is not easy to say what kind of news we have received in the last 48 hours,” he said on social media but indicated that it is related to direct threats to Serbia's national interests.

''They directly threaten our vital national interests, both Serb and Republika Srpska,'' he said Wednesday.

Vucic said that since Albin Kurti became prime minister in Kosovo in 2021, there have been 494 ethnically motivated attacks on Serbs.

''Pristina has continuously taken escalating moves and since then there have been 494 ethnically motivated attacks on Serbs and the Serbian church, and in the previous period of nine years, when Kurti was not in power, we only had 170 more attacks," said Vucic.

He said he would present key facts about Kosovo and Metohija, which show the seriousness of the position that Serbia is facing, and especially the people of Kosovo and Metohija.

Vucic has made similar remarks in the past when the EU and the US pressured him and the Serbian government to recognize Kosovo's independence and allow the country's integration into international organizations.

Meanwhile, Kosovo's latest move targeting the use of the Serbian dinar in the country has sparked a new dispute in the region.

Kosovo adopted the euro for cash payment transactions on Feb. 1 despite concerns by ethnic Serbs in the north.

The central bank announced the decision Jan. 18 and said currencies other than the euro can only be used in Kosovo for physical safekeeping or bank accounts.

The decision triggered outrage because ethnic Serb communities in Kosovo had been using the dinar, the official currency of neighboring Serbia, at state and commercial institutions. Many local Serbs have an attachment or even allegiance to Serbia.

The parties held a series of meetings in Brussels as part of the dialogue process between Belgrade and Pristina.

But a final solution or decision has yet to come out of the meetings.

Easter parliament with Bosnia Herzegovina's Republika Srpska entity

Vucic said Serbia is coming up with the Easter Assembly with the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia Herzegovina -- one of two entities.

"We will organize the parliament on May 5 and 6, on Easter and St. George's Day, and I believe that we will make important decisions for the future of our people," said Vucic.

He said it would be the largest gathering organized by Serbia and the Republika Srpska in accordance with the Dayton Agreement and the law on parallel connections.

"I call on the citizens to be united in the defense of our vital state and national interests," said Vucic.

Vucic said he would try to talk to Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik to lead a policy of peace, but a policy of lowering tensions, after he was asked by a journalist how he saw Dodik's statements that he would embark on a new political struggle.

"The situation is complicated, politically heated, and when they talk about the Dayton Agreement -- tell me what and which article the RS (Republika Srpska) violated regarding property. Show me the article of the Dayton Agreement that Dodik violated. I will also ask (High Representative Christian) Schmidt, and I know which is what I asked him last time. Just show me where it is written. Don't tell me about debt and debts, but where it is written. Are Dodik's grandchildren to blame? Have their accounts been canceled?" said Vucic.

Dodik demanded Thursday that the ambassadors of the UK, Germany and the US and the international community's high representative to Bosnia be expelled and declared “enemies of Bosnia.”

He added that he would ask Serbia for protection.

Serbia is a guarantor of the Dayton Agreement, which entails the preservation of Bosnia's Serb entity.

Dodik demanded that the decisions passed by Schdmit be annulled within a seven-day period, saying if this is not done, he will demand that the House of Representatives pass changes to the Election Law, strip the Central Election Commission of power and confirm that the only place where laws can be passed is the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's high representative made ''technical changes'' on Tuesday to the Balkan country’s election law.

Schmidt, who is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Dayton Accords, the 1995 agreement that ended the Bosnian war, announced that he decided to make changes in the election law regarding the integrity of the election process.

Bosnian politicians cannot agree on what is written in the Constitution, which is that laws are passed by Bosnia's Parliament and not imposed by someone, according to Dodik.

He then announced new arrangements in the structure of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a possibility.

Aleksandar Vulin, the former director of Serbia's Security Information Agency, said Wednesday that Bosnians want to arrest Dodik.

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