KiM elections pose a challenge
BELGRADE - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in a meeting with British Minister for Europe David Lidington on Monday that the government of Serbia will take a joint stance on whether to invite Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) to vote in the June 8 elections, considering the questionable conditions under which the citizens would vote and what they would gain from it.
Lidington voiced the opinion that the Serbs should participate in the upcoming KiM elections in order to achieve democratic legitimacy and the capacity to engage with the international community, the president's press service released.
"We have a great responsibility to the international community but primarily to the Serbs in the Province. We will never abandon them,” said Nikolic, adding that the elections for the Kosovo parliament pose a major challenge.
Lidington noted that Serbia made an incredibly fast progress towards the European Union and achieved much in the dialogue with Pristina, and Nikolic said that Serbia is rapidly progressing towards full EU membership and working on the normalization of relations with Pristina.
"We are strongly committed to the European path, primarily so that the citizens of Serbia would have a better life in a well-regulated state,” Serbian president stressed, adding that, unfortunately, many of the EU rules have not been properly implemented and that the European Union has in a way been blamed for this.
One of those bad examples is the plundering privatization that devastated Serbian economy and left a great number of people jobless, Nikolic pointed out.
Commenting on the catastrophic floods that hit Serbia, Nikolic emphasized that Great Britain's assistance in supporting the flood relief efforts is highly appreciated.
"I have launched an initiative to organize an international donor conference and the President of France has accepted to host it. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he will invite UN member states to participate and it would mean very much to us if Great Britain would join in,” said Nikolic.
The people and the government of Serbia made a tremendous effort to save human lives and property, but we need international help to clean up the ground and rebuild the devastated economy, infrastructure and torn down and damaged buildings, he added.
Lidington stressed that the public is shocked by the scale of the disaster in Serbia and expressed admiration for the Serbian people for their courage in such difficult times.
Great Britain has helped in a practical way and the public will be informed about the aid in vehicles to be delivered via Red Cross, Lidington told Nikolic.
Britain will confer with the French colleagues on the way to join the initiative to help Serbia, he said.
The long-standing and traditional friendship between Serbia and Great Britain should be renewed and stronger bilateral cooperation established, in the interest of both countries, the two officials agreed.
Photo Tanjug/D. Peternek