Dacic: The Serbs in Kosovo are facing serious forms of discrimination

Ivica Dačić
Source: Kosovo Online

First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Ivica Dacic pointed out today at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Skopje that the Serbs in Kosovo were facing serious forms of discrimination and that the security situation in Kosovo was a cause for deep concern. He believes that only a strong international presence that respects international legal documents can guarantee security for all citizens.

Dacic stated that cooperation with the OSCE Mission in Kosovo was based on an international status-neutral presence in Kosovo, with a mandate based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

"Unfortunately, the position of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija is more difficult than ever before. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija are facing increasingly serious forms of institutional and religious discrimination, compromised security, and economic uncertainty. I will mention only some of the current problems our people in Kosovo and Metohija are facing - the right to vote and participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections in Serbia has been taken away by the provisional self-government institutions in Pristina, and there has recently been the irresponsible relocation of the memorial plaque to Serbian soldiers in Pristina", he emphasized.

Dacic said that the security situation in Kosovo was a cause for deep concern, and he believed that only a strong international presence that respected international legal documents could guarantee security for all citizens.

"Despite Pristina's persistent refusal to fulfill its long-standing commitments, Belgrade remains committed to the dialogue process, under the auspices of the European Union, and expects all previously agreed-upon agreements to be implemented without further delay. Also, we remain committed to EU membership as our main foreign policy priority", he emphasized.

Dacic reminded that during the enhanced session of the OSCE Permanent Council, members had agreed on assessments that a climate of growing distrust had emerged within the organization and beyond, leading to the absence of substantive dialogue among participating states, threatening to overshadow everything they had achieved during its almost half-century existence.

"Although this degradation of trust and the absence of understanding have been evident for years, the war in Ukraine has led to open political confrontation and almost a return to Cold War rhetoric, which poses a danger to all European citizens", he said.

He stated that we were now facing the greatest problems in the organization's functioning, an inability to reach a consensus on key issues, and the danger that the OSCE would enter a new institutional crisis.

"I am confident that today, all together, we will show enough wisdom and political will to overcome the complex situation in which the Organization finds itself. In this sense, we need to adopt decisions that will pave the way for resolving key issues for the organization's functioning - the regular cycle of the chairpersons' elections, institutional stability, and the timely adoption of a sustainable budget. Let's take a step forward, let's show that we are one of the few international organizations capable of successfully dealing with all the challenges of today's times", he emphasized.

Dacic said that Serbia remained committed to this goal and would continue to be a constructive partner, providing a full contribution to strengthening the Organization.

"From the experience of my country, but also the region to which it belongs, I would highlight the presence of the OSCE in the field as a valuable specificity of this international organization. Although our region has made significant progress on the path to comprehensive reforms, the OSCE still plays a significant role in supporting institutions, strengthening the democratic capacity of our countries, and further developing regional cooperation, contributing to the overall stability of the region", he explained.

He stated that Serbia greatly appreciated the OSCE Mission's contribution to the reform process that had been ongoing for more than two decades and the exceptional cooperation that had been based on a partnership from the beginning.

"In conclusion, I would like to thank our hosts for their efforts during this year and wish our future chair, Malta, much success, offering our full support during the performance of this significant task in 2024", he concluded.