Vucevic presents the exposé: The biggest challenge for the new government in the coming period is the fight for Kosovo and Metohija

Source: Kosovo Online

The Prime Minister of Serbia, Milos Vucevic, in his exposé, speaking about Kosovo, stated that the biggest challenge in the upcoming period for the new government will be defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country in the international arena, pointing out that the potential admission of Kosovo into the Council of Europe would de facto reward the secessionists for the persecution, systematic disenfranchisement, and oppression of the Serbian people in Kosovo.

However, as he mentioned, Belgrade will remain committed to dialogue with Pristina if it appears that something productive can emerge from the process that would contribute to peace and stability in the region.

Here is a part of the exposé from Prime Minister Milos Vucevic:

From the first days of its mandate, this government will face serious and far-reaching foreign policy challenges, and this is just the beginning. In this context, our biggest challenge in the upcoming period will undoubtedly be defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country in the international arena, namely the fight for our Kosovo and Metohija.

These days, the intention to once again trample on international law and the sovereignty of the Republic of Serbia has become quite apparent, with the push to admit Pristina into the membership of the Council of Europe. Such treatment of our country once again confirms that there is no "unique case" when it comes to the unilaterally declared fake statehood of the fake state on our southern province. Since 2007, this term has been widely used by those trying to tear apart and seize our country, all the while claiming that they strictly adhere to international law and the principles on which interstate relations formed after World War II are based.

The question arises: why? I believe that by using the phrase "unique case" for KiM (Kosovo and Metohija), they actually want to hide the fact that in their norms of international law, a firm principle has been established that no norms and no principles of their "international law" apply to Serbia and the Serbs. Because only in this way can they continue to pretend to be naive and claim they are principled, even though they deny and take away the same rights for Serbs on one territory that they recognize and protect for all other peoples on that same or immediately neighboring territory.

Besides the new brutal violation of international law, the secessionists would be de facto rewarded for the persecution, systematic disenfranchisement, and oppression of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija by being admitted into the Council of Europe. Significant steps in this direction have recently been taken by voting within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the continuation of work on this shameful process will be, not only an act of humiliating Serbia but also an act against the very value foundations of that international organization, of which Serbia is a committed member. Therefore, despite the fact that 12 member states of the Council of Europe do not recognize the unilaterally declared independence of the so-called "Kosovo", the sponsors of Pristina are determined to blatantly violate the UN Charter and the Helsinki Declaration, committing a crime against international law and the vital state and national interests of Serbia.

For this occasion, I will not delve into the well-known so-called preliminary issue – that the so-called Kosovo is not and will never be a state, and therefore, according to the rules of the Council of Europe, it cannot be admitted to the membership of that organization. However, starting from that position, it is impossible not to point out that the process of accelerated membership of Pristina was initiated even though our Western partners have stated on every occasion that there is no theoretical possibility of supporting such a thing before Pristina: allows the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities; ceases the construction of police bases and the use of special and heavily armed units for ordinary police duties; and stops and annuls illegal decisions on the seizure of more than a million square meters of land owned by Serbs in northern Kosovo and Metohija.

To add to the absurdity, respected legal experts of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe's bureau clearly stated in their study that Pristina in practice violates the principles of the rule of law, essentially depriving Serbs of the use of the Serbian language, brutal police repression disproportionately applied to them, mentioned unlawful expropriations, etc. Due to all this, the Government of Serbia will be forced to react adequately if the membership of Pristina in the Council of Europe becomes certain.

It is quite clear that in this situation, Serbia is a victim of the political response of part of the collective West to the situation in Ukraine, but this also sends clear messages to Serbia, as a candidate for full membership in the EU, about the perspectives of its Euro integration, which the Government of Serbia will also have to treat as a new fact. We will, in accordance with the recent agreement of the President of the Republic and the Government in technical mandate, do everything to prevent the self-proclaimed "Kosovo" from being admitted to the membership of the Council of Europe, although our chances are not great. But, as many times in our history, our determination to defend our positions is inspired, not by the chances of success, but by the justice of our goal and the value of what we defend.

Regarding the attitude of Pristina's sponsors towards Serbia, it is most eloquently shown by the fact that they have treated all acts of violence against the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija and the occupation of the north of the province as the enforcement of the rule of law. In other words, they view every attack on the specific interests of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija as a natural and desirable process of consolidating what they perceive as an independent state. The supposed sanctions that the West occasionally imposes on Pristina are only cosmetic measures aimed at feigning some kind of usual political or diplomatic practice, which is confirmed by the fact that, supposedly chastened and sanctioned Pristina, in the past year participated in all international forums organized by those who punished them, received visa liberalization for travel to EU countries, had its status enhanced in the Parliamentary Assembly of NATO, and was recently "punished" by opening the door for access to the Council of Europe.

With all this in mind, Belgrade will remain committed to dialogue with Pristina if it appears that something productive can emerge from the process that would contribute to peace and stability in the region. However, it would be irresponsible to delude ourselves that any substantial shift towards genuine normalization of relations and improvement of living conditions for ordinary people is possible with the extremists led by Albin Kurti. This is incontrovertibly demonstrated by the course of the dialogue since Kurti's rise to power, during which the international community "loudly silently" followed Kurti's violence and persecution of Serbs, while almost turning the dialogue into a mere framework for legalizing the unilateral and unlawful moves of Pristina.

The fact is that such a policy of the international community towards the Pristina tyrant has been completely defeated when the UN Security Council recently accepted the substantiated proposal of the Republic of Serbia to review the situation in Kosovo and Metohija – and that at the report of disrupting international peace and security. Although the Security Council is not a judicial body in international relations, its acceptance to convene an extraordinary session urgently because of Pristina's persecution of Serbs represents a fact, which has and will have tangible criminal-legal consequences for the instigators and perpetrators of all the crimes committed against Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija over the past years.

Speaking about the endangerment of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, we should always keep in mind that Pristina, almost from the first day of Kurti's rise to power in 2021, has continuously undertaken escalatory moves. By these actions, it has continuously carried out well-planned, systematic, and widespread violence against Serbs and more or less openly tried to create unbearable living conditions for them. It is quite obvious that the goal of Pristina's actions under Kurti's leadership has been and remains to force all or almost all Serbs to leave the Province.

A clear indicator of this demonic intent is the fact that since 2021, there have been registered as many as 494 ethnically motivated attacks on Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC), while a total of 666 such attacks were recorded in the nine years before Kurti's rise to power. To the shame of those who do not want to see the crime against the entire Serbian people in KiM and who are now pushing Pristina into the Council of Europe, claiming that it is a "champion of the rule of law", the fact is also that not one such attack in the aftermath has been sanctioned - not even when the member of the illegal so-called KSB Azem Kurtaj shot and wounded a Serbian child and his cousin.

These facts about the position of the Serbian people surprise only the supporters of Pristina, although even to them, Kurti has been saying from the beginning that he is not interested in dialogue, that Serbs are criminals, that he cannot guarantee that no Serbian blood will be shed at peaceful protests they held to protect their basic rights, and finally, quite openly – and that in front of the building of the European Foreign Policy Service on September 14, 2023 – that the Serbs, I quote, "will suffer and pay".

When discussing Pristina as a "champion" of the rule of law, it should be noted that the so-called Kosovo "judiciary," which persistently prosecutes Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and Serbian returnees under false accusations of war and other crimes, transparently decided at the end of last year that Azem Kurtaj, a member of the so-called illegal Kosovo Security Forces, who on Christmas Eve 2023 shot and wounded 11-year-old Stefan Stojanovic and his cousin Milos from his service firearm, should be a free man and defend himself from freedom.

Despite all this, none of those who support Pristina are calling for accountability for Stefan's and Milos's wounds, or the wounds of five other Serbs who, since 2021, have been shot at random by Kurti's criminals disguised in blue police uniforms. The recent arrest of Srecko Sofronijevic, a young man who was shot in the back by members of the Kosovo police on October 13, 2021, as he tried to protect a minor child from a hail of bullets, speaks volumes about the dark plight in which the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija are forced to live by the will of the powerful, whose power is only matched by their hypocrisy. Although a bullet pierced his lungs, Srecko's life was saved by the monstrous efforts of doctors, only for him to be arrested two and a half years later by Kurti's police at Brnjak under the accusation of disturbing the constitutional order of so-called Kosovo. What kind of order Srecko disturbed by using his back to protect a child, and who will explain to his family that he is guilty just because he survived, time will tell.

I have said a lot, yet it is still too little to convey the conditions in which Serbs live in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, and the challenges our state faces. Nonetheless, I repeat once again that this government, along with the President of the Republic and all other state institutions, will continue an uncompromising fight to preserve our sovereignty and territorial integrity in Kosovo and Metohija.

In this fight, we will act with maximum responsibility and almost at any cost to maintain peace and stability. But have no doubts that we will seek and find ways to protect our vital state and national interests, as well as the safety and survival of Serbs, along with all other citizens of the Republic of Serbia who live in the Province.