Vucic at the United Nations: The principles of the UN Charter are the only defense of peace, they must apply to everyone
The principles of the United Nations Charter were the only essential defense of world peace and they did not change from occasion to occasion, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic said today in his address to the UN General Assembly, pointing out that one of the forerunners of numerous problems was the trampling of the UN Charter, in the case of Serbia, when Western countries had trampled on that document, denying all the principles they defended today.
"I stand before you as the President of a free and independent country, Serbia, which is on the way to joining the EU, but at the same time is not ready to turn its back on the traditional friendships it has built for centuries," Vucic said in his address.
He pointed out that he wanted to raise his voice on behalf of Serbia, but also on behalf of all who, even today, the 78th year since the founding of the UN, truly and equally believed that the principles of the UN Charter were the only essential defense of world peace, the right to freedom and independence of peoples and states, and even more than that, a pledge of the very survival of human civilization. The new global wave of wars and violence that was hitting the foundations of international security was a painful consequence, the cause of which lay in the abandonment of the principles outlined in the UN Charter, the President of Serbia added.
"As the President of a small country, I have no right to speak about relations between great powers, but I can and want to speak about how disrespecting public international law can lead to terrible consequences. The attempt to dismember my country formally started in 2008 with the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo and Metohija and is still ongoing. The trampling of the UN Charter in the case of Serbia was one of the visible forerunners of the numerous problems we all face today, which go far beyond the borders of my country or the region I come from," Vucic emphasized.
He stated that, since the last meeting of world leaders in the same hall in New York, the world had not become a better or a safer place, but on the contrary - global peace and stability were still threatened.
"Not only have we not found solutions to many problems, but they have become more numerous," he noted.
He pointed out that, while everyone had been swearing to respect the principles of the UN Charter for three days now, it was their violation that was at the root of most problems in international relations, and the application of double standards was an "open invitation" to all those who violated the norms of international law, but also basic human morality; through war and violence, they achieved their interests.
All speakers before, and I believe all after him, spoke and will speak about the necessity of changes in the world and in their countries, as an example of morality and dedication to law and global justice.
"Today, I will not speak here in superlative terms about my country, about the growth of wages and pensions, hundreds of kilometers of built highways and railways, newly built hospitals and schools, science and technology parks, the institute for artificial intelligence, because it is natural to protect its interests, but I will talk about the principles that were violated and that brought us to today's situation, not by the small ones, who are often the target of attacks, but by the most powerful countries in the world," Vucic said.
So, he goes on and on, in that same hall just two days ago, we heard from the US President that the most important principle in relations between states was respect for their territorial integrity and sovereignty, and human rights had been mentioned only as the third most important factor.
"And it seemed to me that everyone could support that. I supported it. The only problem in all of this was the fact that a few hours after his speech I had to see the President of the so-called Kosovo, which the most powerful part of the West considers the President of an independent country, created by secession from the territory of Serbia. A few meters from this hall, the German Minister said that Germany held firmly to the UN Charter and would never give it up. All that would be nice, if it were true," the President of Serbia said.
He reminded that almost all major Western powers had brutally trampled both the UN Charter and UN Resolution 1244, adopted in the UN, in violation of the principles they defended today, and this had happened 24 years ago and exactly 15 years ago.
"For the first time, without precedent in world history, 19 of the most powerful countries made a decision, without the participation of the Security Council, without any decision of that body, to brutally attack and punish a sovereign country on European soil, as they said, in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. They did not laugh when the President of Russia used those same words to justify his attack on Ukraine. They forgot that they themselves used the same words, the same explanations," Vucic remarked.
In addition, he noted that Serbia had not set foot on the territory of another country, nor had it threatened its existence, but 24 years ago, 19 of the most powerful had had no mercy towards little Serbia.
"Even when they finished that job, they said that the Kosovo issue was a democratic issue and that it would be resolved in accordance with the UN Charter and other international legal documents. And then, it occurred to them that in 2008, contrary to all international documents, they supported the independence of the so-called Kosovo," the President of Serbia emphasized.
As he reminded, the illegal decision on the secession of Kosovo from Serbia had been made a full decade after the end of the war in the country, without a referendum or any democratic form of declaration by citizens in Serbia, not even in Kosovo itself.
"And yet, that did not prevent legal and political violence by those who are leading today in sharing lessons from this lectern. Nonsensical explanations, such as the police terror that the Serbian authorities carried out in their southern province a whole decade earlier, the alleged humanitarian crisis, and the persecution of the local Albanians, are just the last drop in the bucket of lies and nonsense, in order to justify violence against a sovereign country, and how its integrity would be undermined," Vucic said.
He also pointed out that from the moment of the "victory of the big 19 over little Serbia", 70 percent of the Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija had left their homes, and there were 300,000 more Albanians than there had ever been in Kosovo.
"So much for law, so much for justice," the President of Serbia underscored.
Nevertheless, he says, all those who committed aggression against Serbia are today talking about the territorial integrity of Ukraine, as if Serbia does not support it.
"We support it and we will support it, because we do not change our principles and policy, regardless of the centuries-old traditional friendship with Russia. For us, every violence is the same, and every violation of the UN Charter is the same, regardless of the strength of the force that implements it, or similar excuses... But when we ask them about the territorial integrity of Serbia and what they did to my country, the answer is the same – there is no going back to the past, look to the future because that is the only way for your country to progress. When it comes to the territorial integrity of both Ukraine and Serbia and every other country, we all have the right to speak at least a little more from this podium than they do," Vucic indicated.
That was why he said that the principles did not change from occasion to occasion, they were not only valid for the strong but for everyone, because if this was not the case - then there would be no principles anymore.
"That's why I believe that in the modern world, there will either be principles, so the same rules will apply to everyone, or we will divide as a world and fall into conflicts and changes," Vucic warned.
He stated that "peace" had become a forbidden word, because everyone had their favorites and culprits, while the only value left to the great powers were principles, but, he said, they were false because they were adequate for them.
Brutal violence against the Serbs in Kosovo
The President of Serbia also pointed out that today in Kosovo, the "southern province of Serbia", brutal violence was taking place against the Serbs by the separatist authorities of Albin Kurti.
He said that just last week, after who knows how many failed rounds of dialogue in Brussels, Kurti had addressed the public in front of one of the main buildings of the European Union and had told the few remaining Serbs in Kosovo that they would "suffer and pay" for the mistake they had made in front of millions of people.
He asked if there was a worse way to make fun of people than these words, and stated that - there was.
"Now more Serbs are being taken to Kurti's prisons, due to false accusations, and these actions have continued for 20 months, with the expulsion of the remaining Serbs, which turns into ethnic cleansing," Vucic said.
He added that this was best seen from the fact that, since the EU and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had issued statements in early June condemning the unilateral actions of the Kosovo Government, there had been a jump in ethnically motivated attacks against the Serbs in Kosovo by more than 50 percent, while in the same period, the authorities in Pristina had made as many as 22 new escalating moves.
He said that Serbian boys Stefan Stojanovic and Milos Stojanovic, aged 11 and 21, had been shot on Christmas Eve by members of the illegal so-called Kosovo Security Forces, in whose arming, he warned, some of those present in the hall were participating, even though they knew that this was deeply illegal and that the very existence of the KSF was contrary to Resolution 1244. Then seven innocent civilians had been shot by the Kosovo institutions, with a ban on voting, and attacks on churches, cemeteries, and schools...all of which made the daily life of the Serbs sad.
"Although there is not a single wounded Albanian, not a single arrested, injured Albanian - it is always the fault of both sides. In contrast to 1999, when they bombed Belgrade and other cities in my country, leaving a bloody trail of thousands of dead civilians and soldiers in scenes very similar to those that we, unfortunately, see today in different parts of the world, today when the brutal terror for which they themselves say to remind them of what happened to the Albanians - what happened to the Serbs, there is no humanitarian disaster, no call to action, nothing," Vucic said.
Therefore, in such a world, he believes that a small country like Serbia, raising its voice and fighting for the universal validity of the principles of inviolability of internationally recognized borders, territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence, sets an example of the fight for justice, which was abolished in the UN building, and protects the principles on which the world should be built.
"Just as we protect the integrity of Serbia, we defend the integrity of every UN member country. It is sad that all great countries, who are not interested in law and justice, on every different occasion, refer to different principles, to those that suit them at that moment. When someone follows such a policy, when there is no morality in politics, then we enter an era of great divisions and great conflicts. And not only political, economic, but also military," Vucic warned.
We did not change the principles for the sake of daily politics and our own needs. Just as we protect the integrity of Serbia, so we protect the integrity of every UN member country, the President points out
He also pointed out that respecting the UN Charter was not a choice, but an obligation.
"After all, as I already said when mentioning some names, we had the opportunity to hear that during the previous presentations of most of my colleagues, among other things, talking about the topic that is still dominant in all forums - the conflict in Ukraine. I will agree with them when it comes to the necessity of respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, which the Republic of Serbia has consistently demonstrated from the beginning," Vucic said.
He points out, that we have been making these appeals continuously for decades.
"But with a significant difference - Serbia supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all UN member states. I will repeat - all - member states. Therefore, it is difficult for me to understand how some are not consistent when it comes to the need to respect the territorial integrity of Serbia and how they do not understand that the selective application of principles leads to pronounced divisions, a lack of solidarity, and mutual understanding," Vucic said.
He thanked the global majority because significantly more than half of the UN members support the UN Charter and do not support the violent dismemberment of the country.
"I am glad that double standards do not exist for most of the UN member states. We are deeply grateful to all of you who selflessly support our efforts to preserve territorial integrity, thereby confirming your commitment to the UN Charter. By guarding our borders today, you are also guarding your borders and guarding peace. In your name, as well as in our own, we will continue to point out year after year that the defense of principles is the same as the defense of freedom, independence, and peace," Vucic said.
He pointed out that the Republic of Serbia, its Government, and all institutions were working at full capacity to preserve the dialogue with Pristina under the auspices of the EU.
"That is our task. Dialogue is only possible if we all, including the European mediators, stick firmly to what was agreed upon. The imbalance, by which Serbia must always make concessions, does not lead to a solution to the problem. On the contrary," Vucic said.
That is why, he says, the discussion with the Government in Pristina often seems more like a monologue than a dialogue.
"Because it is difficult to explain why, more than 10 years after the signing of the Brussels Agreement and the assumed obligations, we have not formed the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities," Vucic said.
He repeats that Serbia is on the European path, ready to change, reform, and progress, that today it has very good cooperation with the USA, in almost all areas, and that relations will be even better, but that it will preserve its great and traditional friendships all continents, proud of good relations with all peoples and countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America.
"We do not divide people by the color of their skin and their religious affiliation, that is why our relations with China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and numerous Arab and other Muslim countries are at the highest historical level. We are not severing important historical ties with the Russian Federation," Vucic said.
He said that there was no alternative to peace and that bridges should be built, not walls.
"We are opening the borders in the Balkans, opening the labor market, and enabling the free flow of people, goods, and capital,“ Vucic said and added that it was the guiding star and initiator of the "Open Balkan" initiative, which had so far produced concrete results and strengthened regional ownership over the processes of economic connection of the region.
He also pointed out that the "Open Balkan" had improved the political atmosphere as well.
"We have this approach towards all our neighbors and our key interest is the preservation of stability in the region and the orientation towards more intensive cooperation in all areas.
These processes are certainly an inseparable part of our efforts to become a member of the European Union, which is at the same time one of the key priorities of our foreign policy," Vucic added.
"These processes are certainly an inseparable part of our efforts to become a full member of the European Union, which is also one of the key priorities of our foreign policy. This priority certainly does not exclude our determination to develop cooperation and deepen relations with our traditional friends from all parts of the world, where we remain a reliable and responsible partner. We will strive to strengthen existing and build new friendships, both bilaterally and through participation in initiatives and forums of different regions around the world," Vucic says.
He stated that the latest confirmation that geographical distance should not be a barrier to cooperation was the recent accession of the Republic of Serbia to the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, and in that context, he also mentioned EXPO 2027, which Belgrade would host.
He also stated that Serbia was the first country in the Southeast European region to join the Global Partnership for Artificial Intelligence and had adopted a development strategy in this area as early as 2019.
"I know that I spoke longer than I was told, but it is necessary to give me the same right that the great powers took for themselves. I thought I had the same right," the President of Serbia concluded.