Jevtic: If Pristina continues its violence, the Serbs south of the Ibar should also leave institutions

Dalibor Jevtić
Source: Kosovo Online

The current situation in Kosovo is worse compared to the period when the Kosovan Serbs announced their withdrawal from Kosovan institutions, and this is the result of the Kosovo government's irresponsible policy, Mayor of Strpce and the Serb List (Serb minority political party in Kosovo) vice president Dalibor Jevtic indicated in his interview for Euronews Serbia.

Jevtic added that if there was no change in Pristina's attitude and the institutional violence against Serbs continued, those south of the Ibar should also leave Pristina's institutions.

Speaking about the conditions under which the Serbs would return to the Pristina institutions, Jevtic reiterated that the Serbs did not want to be there just for the sake of alleged multi-ethics and that they wanted to discuss overcoming the situation if the government retracted certain decisions.

"The answer to the question of whether and when would Serbs hypothetically return to the institutions, first of all in the north of Kosovo and Metohija, is given - the moment when the decision regarding the implementation of new license plate extension is changed, and when the establishment of the CSM is started", says Jevtic.

Referring to Albin Kurti's announcement that the disputed decisions would not be changed, Jevtic stated that with his attitude, he once again showed his stubbornness and insistence on the wrong policy. It showed that Kurti was not ready for any compromises, he added.

A great responsibility of the international community

The respondent of Euronews Serbia commented on the statement of the Kosovo Prime Minister that there was no pressure from the international community, despite the official statements of both the USA and EU representatives that the Serbs should return to the institutions, and that the Kosovo government should postpone the new license plates implementation for ten months, as well as start establishing the Community of Serb Municipalities, and also said that the international community had a great responsibility.

"It is a sign of approval, when Kurti says that, and the international community is silent on it. In the conversations that my colleagues and I had with the international community representatives, we did not get such an impression, because we received assurances that they would postpone the new license plates implementation, that processes that specifically entail the formation of the CSM would start, and that they had assurances from the Pristina Prime Minister. However, all of that did not happen. This is just a confirmation of the fact that Kurti not only has a dishonest and irresponsible attitude towards the Serbian people and Serbian political representatives but an incorrect and irresponsible attitude towards the international community representatives as well. The main question arises whether the international community will use its mechanisms and prevent Mr. Kurti from further worsening the already difficult situation in the Kosovo and Metohija area by acting in such a way", Jevtic says.

When asked whether the international community had mechanisms for it, his answer was affirmative.

"If they are the ones who helped Kosovo reach the certain status it has today, they continue to help that process, and if they used certain mechanisms through it, I am sure that they also have mechanisms to stop anyone’s actions that would contribute to further deepening of the crisis that we already have", Jevtic says.

He repeats that Kurti "is not a man of solutions, but a man of problems, who looks for a way to create additional problems in any opportunity, which is very dangerous".

"Whoever says or wants to say that the situation we are in today is caused by Belgrade or by Aleksandar Vucic is wrong. And, I can responsibly claim that, since we have been warning about this as the possible outcome for some time", Jevtic reminds.

The situation south of the Ibar also worsened

Jevtic stated that the citizens' reaction to the fact that there were no Serbian policemen after they had resigned from the Kosovo police would be distrust.

"KFOR and EULEX are certainly the missions that need to take responsibility in this situation now and take care of public safety as much as possible until this whole situation is overcome", says Jevtic.

When it comes to the safety of Kosovan Serbs, he described the situation south of the Ibar as difficult, that the latest decisions and actions had made it even worse, and that "Serbs south of the Ibar had been under the institutional violence of Pristina for a long time".

Jevtic affirmed when asked if he thought that the Kosovan Serbs south of the Ibar should also leave Kosovo's institutions.

"That is my opinion and also the opinion of my colleagues. I personally informed in writing the Serb List president Mr. Rakic that I believed that the Serbs' political representatives and the Serbs south of the Ibar in general, should leave institutions. That is a current and open issue. If the situation does not change, if there is no change in Pristina’s political course and attitude, and if the institutional violence against the Kosovan Serbs doesn’t stop, I am sure that the Serbs south of the Ibar will make the same decision", Jevtic says.

"Kurti's excuse for incompetence"

Kurti's statement that the Kosovo Serbs made decisions under the influence of Belgrade and that it was Belgrade's effort to avoid accepting the French-German proposal, Jevtic called an excuse for the inability to respond to some other problems that existed in Kosovo.

"In the face of the coming winter, the potential energy crisis, in the face of other economic challenges, he looks for excuses in others. I responsibly claim because I was at those meetings, that President Vucic asked us on several occasions not to make such a decision. Even this last time, he said again: ‘’Think carefully, don't leave the institutions immediately, let's wait and give compromises chance a chance’’. However, my colleagues from the north and I all shared the same opinion - we had tried many times in that way and given a chance, we wanted to cooperate, and now we are pushed against the wall with this latest action and decisions, so we had no choice. I responsibly claim that President Vucic was not the one who told the Serbs to do that, but he stood behind the decision of the Serbs, as a true president and statesman", stated Jevtic

When asked if he feared the continuation of the new license plates implementation decision and whether it could lead to a new March 17, Jevtic said that he wanted to believe that we would never see such scenes again.

"I think it would be a real defeat not only for the current government but primarily for the international community because it would be the responsibility of both KFOR and EULEX if any violence against the Serbian population was allowed. I am afraid that the insistence on the implementation of the government's decision on November 21, and the implementation of punitive actions, will cause problems that may be bigger than these problems that we have today, especially in the area of northern Kosovo and Metohija. That is why Brussels and Washington have the responsibility to prevent such a thing with their mechanisms, which, I believe, the representatives of the international community have. If today Kurti's policy has set us back ten years, after November 21st we could go back two decades, which would be a big defeat for all the processes and all the sacrifices we have made so far", Jevtic points out.

Answering the question where he sees the solution, Jevtić repeats - in the dialogue.

"The solution lies in compromises, in the international community no longer being silent on such matters, but acting on them. It might not be a question for us now whether the government will fall - it does not interest us too much because we can still find a solution today if someone in Washington and Brussels very clearly says - Mr. Kurti, you need to stop, you can't do it like this anymore. We have listened to you enough, you have lied to us enough, you have made many reckless decisions, and this is the moment when you have to sit down and find a compromise as a solution", says Jevtic.