Vucic after the meeting with Lajcak: Kurti wants to prevent the payment of salaries and pensions to the Serbs; I asked for this attempt to be stopped

Aleksandar Vučić Davos
Source: Kosovo Online

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic stated that the announcements from Pristina regarding the cessation of payment transactions and the ban on the use of the Serbian dinar represented the most serious and significant threat to dialogue so far, and stated that he sought support from Miroslav Lajcak, the EU's Special Representative for the Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, for the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija.

"I warned them and asked for help to stop Kurti's attempt to destroy the dialogue because Kurti wants to prevent the payment of salaries and pensions for our people in healthcare and education, which would mean not a silent but a loud departure of the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija", Vucic told reporters in Davos after the meeting with Lajcak.

As he says, he believes it is not in the interest of Europe or the world for this to happen and emphasizes that he did not seek support for Serbia but for ordinary people.

"I asked for people from Kosovo and Metohija to be allowed to stay and live in their homes in accordance with the agreements and principles from 2015, which Isa Mustafa and I signed, and in line with the new plan for the CSM submitted by the EU - Germans and French. If someone wants to destroy even that, what remains for the Serbs? This is the most serious and significant threat to dialogue, and they have announced that they could start this action from the beginning of February", Vucic said.

When asked by reporters whether the US and James O'Brien, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and the EU representative Miroslav Lajcak were aware of the threats to the Serbs if Pristina proceeded with implementing decisions to stop payment transactions with Serbia and if they had a plan on this issue, Vucic said that it was not for him to speak on behalf of others, but he also emphasized that he would continue to discuss this issue with representatives of Germany, France, and Italy.

"In the end, everyone must understand what is at stake. It is an attempt to disrupt the dialogue and an attempt to expel the Serbian population from Kosovo and Metohija. That is the essence of everything. Let them tell you how they understand it; I cannot speak on their behalf, but I think they are aware of the consequences and will help prevent such things from happening, I hope", Vucic stated.

In Davos, the President of Serbia is participating in the World Economic Forum.

He also said that during the meeting with the Chair of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Borjana Kristo, he received an invitation for Serbia to participate in a fair in Mostar and added that Borjana Kristo would soon receive an invitation from the Prime Minister of Serbia, Ana Brnabic, to visit Belgrade. He further noted that the fair in Mostar would present a new airline route that Air Serbia would establish between Belgrade and Mostar.

Vucic stated that he had conversations with several business people, representatives of various companies, as well as with the heads of foreign intelligence services.

Additionally, he mentioned meeting with the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, with whom he had a lengthy discussion, acknowledging their differing perspectives on certain issues.

Commenting on the meeting with O'Brien, he said that they had had a long and substantive conversation.

"O'Brien is an extremely intelligent person, and I had a long conversation with him, which was not easy; it lasted more than two and a half hours. I told him everything, and he listened to me very carefully. I spoke very openly and honestly", Vucic said.

He emphasized that he had spoken with the Assistant Secretary of State for about an hour on Kosovo, while they had discussed other topics for an hour and a half. Vucic noted that economic issues should be the priority at the Davos Forum, but these discussions often take place on the sidelines of political discussions.

"This economic forum has become political", Vucic concluded.

For Serbia, he stated that it was essential to discuss its economic progress, and he announced that he would present a presentation of the country's plans until 2027 to international representatives in Davos.

"Everyone who wants to participate and help is welcome", Vucic stated, emphasizing that Serbia was open to new investments.

Everywhere the topic is the US and European elections, Serbia expects four years of peace and stability.

According to his words, one of the dominant topics in Davos is the relationship between the US and China.

"These two countries represent 45 percent of the world economy, and all the rest of us are small. That is the first topic; the second is the Arab or Islamic world. Americans are talking more and more about Israel - Gaza, Palestine. The third topic is Ukraine. And what somehow transcends everything, about which no one wants to talk but is essentially the topic everywhere, is the US and European elections", the President of Serbia said.

Regarding climate change, he emphasizes that everyone is afraid to implement measures fundamentally because, as he says, some of those people will lose elections.

"Now you will see that we want to implement measures, and that is why we will go to an even stronger level of renewable energy sources, a higher level of environmental protection, strengthening ecology... Our elections are over, and we expect four years of peace and stability to push our country forward", Vucic said.

He added that he had talked to many people in Davos.

"I have talked to Americans, and I will talk to everyone to improve the position of our country. On Saturday, whether at five or six, we will present everything we want to do in the coming period", Vucic announced.

He assessed that it was good that Americans had not had a recession, only slower growth, and added that it was expected that China would start to recover.

"I believe that Serbia can have a growth rate of over 3.5 percent, then pensions and salaries will increase significantly. If we are over 3.5 percent, we dramatically raise wages, pensions, and the standard of living; inflation goes below three percent. There will be fewer problems, and in June and July, I expect a reduction in interest rates, even for housing loans", he said.

According to him, the unemployment rate in Serbia must not exceed 10 percent.

"That is one of the conditions for us to be able to deliver all this by 2027. We want to have autonomous vehicles for the Expo, i.e., driverless vehicles, to be champions in the production of electric vehicles. As you know, the production of the small 'Panda' is starting in Kragujevac starting June or July. We want to have charging stations for electric vehicles in every place in Serbia, to be the first in the region in all these matters", Vucic said.

He added that it remained to be seen whether Serbia would succeed in this and emphasized that the goal was to protect the Serbs in Kosovo and preserve peace.

Answering journalists' questions about the session of the European Parliament, where the topic would be the elections in Serbia, the President said that some "will speak to say the worst things, some to say a little better".

"What can I say, should I lament over the European Parliament? Today, they are discussing Hungary, Greece, and the rule of law in Slovakia, and they have put Serbia on the agenda. Thanks for the company they chose for Serbia. I have no problem with that", Vucic said.

He emphasized that the elections had been fair.

"They can do a public opinion poll today, except they would see that they have fallen a bit, not just a little, but fallen, and we have grown a bit, not just a little, but grown. What can I do for them? People love those who work and fight for their country, not those who lament about themselves and have never done anything for the country", Vucic concluded.