Ivica Dacic, Serbia’s Foreign Minister has said on Tuesday that there has been pressure on Belgrade to make an agreement with Pristina this or next year but added his country will not trade any deal with Kosovo for the European Union’s membership deadline.
Commenting on a statement Serbia’s Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin made on Monday about the need for changing the country’s foreign policy if the EU saw Kosovo as a key priority, Dacic said that the EU membership remained one of Serbia’s main goals, “but not at any cost.”
Speaking to the state Serbia’s TV RTS, he said that even those countries that had recognised Kosovo’s independence were wrong in their belief that the process was irreversible.
“How can it be irreversible if there are countries that are revoking the decision on recognition? A large number of states are reconsidering that decision. Many of them have similar problems, like Papua New Guinea which is facing a referendum on the secession of a part of the country,” Dacic said.
“When they experience such problems themselves they have to rethink the decision on recognition of Kosovo,” he added.
Referring to the Western countries that were among the first to recognise Kosovo as a state, Dacic said their decision was, in fact, a defence of their policies from the ‘90s.
“It’s highly unlikely that they will change it. It’s a logical end of such policy from the break-up of Yugoslavia, (NATO) bombing and the recognition of Kosovo’s independence. That is their self-defence, but they are annoyed with us for talking some countries into withdrawing the recognition” Dacic said.
He added that “they (Western countries) believe it’s impossible to reduce the number of the states that recognised Kosovo under a hundred… let them think that.”
According to him, the important thing for Serbia is to keep the number of countries that have not recognise Kosovo’s independence as it is now.
“We need good bilateral relations with those countries, frequent visits, common interests. There are many of them that need our attention, like Azerbaijan,” Dacic said, adding that the size of a country did not matter, their voices in the international organisations were.