Serbia: Vucic threatens to resign amid criticism over Kosovo handling


“If someone thinks they can rule Serbia better, I will retire”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic threatened to resign during a party meeting over criticism of his handling of the Kosovo issue.

Late last night, Sunday, Mr. Vucic informed the presidium of the Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), which he leads, about the plan to normalize relations with Kosovo, presented to him on Friday by a five-member Euro-American delegation. He also outlined the consequences that Serbia will suffer if it rejects the draft agreement.

A high-pitched debate ensued: many officials asked Serbia not to accept the proposal, to withdraw from the dialogue.

The head of the SNS Executive Committee, Darko Glicic, told Pink TV that Mr. Vucic, after hearing the views, reacted strongly.

“If someone thinks they can rule Serbia better, I will retire. If someone thinks that it is better to destroy the country economically, then I hand over the government to whoever is smarter than me,” President Vucic reportedly replied to the criticisms — according to Darko Glicic.

Then, visibly irritated, he left the meeting and left the party’s headquarters.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is today planning consultations with political bodies on the European plan to normalize relations with Kosovo.

At noon he will participate in a meeting with the members of the government council. In the evening, he is expected to address the Serbian people, while in the following days he will continue consultations with political parties and social organizations.

On Friday a five-member Euro-American delegation, consisting of EU special representative Miroslav Lajčak, US special envoy Gabriel Escobar and advisers to the French president, the German chancellor and the Italian prime minister, met with Mr Vucic in Belgrade and the presented the proposal for the settlement of Serbia’s relations with Kosovo.

Aleksandar Vucic said after the meeting that they were the most difficult negotiations he had ever done and also said that he was informed of the consequences that Serbia will suffer if it rejects the proposal.

“Under these circumstances, I express my readiness to accept the draft agreement and work on its implementation,” President Vucic said, but expressed reservations about a key article of the draft — without specifying which article.

Miroslav Lajčak confirmed that Mr. Vucic “showed willingness to take difficult decisions on the Kosovo issue.”

The newspaper Danas in its publication yesterday revealed the entire draft agreement, which consists of 10 articles.

It is considered intermediate and determines key issues such as the acceptance, mutually, by Kosovo and Serbia, of territorial integrity and sovereignty, while also providing for Kosovo’s inclusion in the UN and other international organizations.

What does the agreement provide?

Here is the full draft of the agreement as published in the Belgrade newspaper Danas:

“Having a sense of responsibility for the maintenance of peace;

committed to contributing to fruitful regional cooperation and security in Europe;

realizing that the inviolability of borders and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as the protection of national minorities, are essential conditions for peace;

acting on the basis of historical facts and without prejudging the different views of the parties on key issues, including the issue of status; with the desire to create conditions for cooperation between the parties for the benefit of the peoples,

The following are agreed upon:

Article 1

The contracting parties (i.e. Serbia-Kosovo) will mutually develop normal relations of good neighborliness on the basis of equal rights.

Both parties will recognize each other’s documents and government symbols, including passports, diplomas, vehicle registration plates and customs stamps.

Article 2

Both sides shall be guided by the purpose and principles set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, in particular those on the sovereign rights of States, respect for their independence, autonomy and territorial integrity, the right to self-determination and protection of human rights and non-discrimination.

Article 3

In accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the parties shall settle all disputes between themselves exclusively by peaceful means and shall refrain from the threat or use of force.

Article 4

The contracting parties agree on the condition that, neither of them can represent the other party in the international sphere or act on its behalf.

Serbia will not oppose the accession of Kosovo to any international organization.

Article 5

Both sides will support their aspirations to become members of the European Union.

Article 6

While this basic agreement represents an important step towards normalization, both sides will continue the EU-facilitated dialogue process with renewed vigor, leading to a legally binding, comprehensive agreement to normalize relations.

The parties agree that in the future they will deepen cooperation in the fields of economy, science and technology, traffic and connectivity, relations of their justice systems and law enforcement. In the fields of telecommunications, health, culture, religion, sports, environmental protection, missing persons. And in other areas similarly, through reaching specific agreements.

Article 7

Both sides are advocating for specific arrangements, in accordance with the relevant mechanisms of the Council of Europe and using existing European experiences, in order to ensure an appropriate level of self-government for the Serb community in Kosovo and the possibility of providing services in certain specific areas, including possibility of receiving financial aid from Serbia and establishing direct channels of communication between the Serbian community and the government of Kosovo.

The parties will ratify the official status of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo and ensure a high level of protection of the Serbian religious and cultural heritage, in accordance with existing European standards.

Article 8

The parties will exchange permanent diplomatic missions. Their seat will be located where the seat of the local government is.

Practical issues related to mission development will be considered separately.

Article 9

It was noted on both sides, the commitment of the EU and other donors to create a special package of financial assistance for joint projects of the two sides on economic development, connectivity, transition to green energy and other key areas.

Article 10

The parties will establish a joint committee, chaired by the EU, which will monitor the implementation of the agreement.

Both parties confirm their obligation to implement all previous agreements.”


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