01.06.2019. - 19:04
Speech of President of the Republic of Serbia in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia 27.05.2019.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, Dear Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Distinguished Ministers, Your Excellencies, dear representatives of the Serbian people and Serb institutions in Kosovo and Metohija, dear Members of the Parliament, distinguished citizens of Serbia.
First of all, I want to thank everybody who sits in this room today, everybody who wants to talk in a responsible and serious manner about a problem that is big and difficult not only for our people in Kosovo and Metohija, but also for all citizens of Serbia and Serbian people as a whole. I was thinking whether to talk about it and how some had tried to prevent me from entering the building of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, but all those attempts are too weak and too irrelevant for the citizens of Serbia, so I decided not to talk about them today. I believe that I should start the entire discussion by answering an important question- what do we believe in? In lie or in the truth? Without that answer we will not even know in the end what exactly we are capable of, how much we are able to do, where the borders of both our country and our dreams are, as well as of our reality.
Where is Kosovo, where is Metohija, who’s managing them, where are we Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija? Can we -who had been illegally bombed, whose children had been killed and who had suffered the aggression- rely on the international law and justice? Who are our friends? And, are we entitled to hostility with those our future to a great extent depends on? Are we being friends to ourselves if we refuse facing the truth? Even Njegoš had said – self-deception is fatal both to people and nations. Are we in Serbia aware of that? Yes, if we deceive ourselves it doesn’t mean that we will eventually manage to fool ourselves and that we will not become anything else; that we will not have that much Kosovo in Serbia tomorrow by holding desperately to our fantasies; that it’s not worthy for twisting the reality, choosing information selectively and trying to fit all that into something we do not want.
It’s not by chance that great Isidora Sekulić said- we are a nation that does not believe in reality and that does not like reality. Until we do not get to know it, dream of it, and once it becomes clear to us, we underestimate it. We have never had faith and love for reality. It simply doesn’t go one with another. And it is time to choose between the sweet lie and bitter truth. And my job as the President of the Republic is -and I do not need always to like it and it does not always need to be pleasant- to tell people the truth; and I’m telling it to them; a bitter one; sometimes unpleasant and no matter what it might be like, but the truth. But, because of the truth I always tell don’t think for a moment that I will not fight for our people in Kosovo and Metohija; for Kosovo and Metohija more than all those who know the truth, but being silent about it on purpose. And who would gladly fight a war, but with someone else’s children dying in those wars, not theirs; and who keep giving patriotic lectures to us every day, but they shouldn’t be lecturing anyone.
Long and difficult, centuries-long fight has been fought over Kosovo. But we often forget, not only over Kosovo, but also over Vojvodina and some other parts of today’s Serbia; we won some of those battles. We lost some. Only that we pretended that victories were a usual thing, normal and that they were nothing new, and we have never wanted to accept the defeats. Even when we faced them one after another and within a short period of time. Not one, but many defeats, like I said.
Let us briefly analyze historical facts intertwined with a simple math. All that regarding question who had reigned throughout history and for how long in the territory we today call Kosovo and Metohija. From the sovereign power of Rome over this territory, when they had been defeating Illyrians and Dalmatae, who had been more or less inhabiting this territory, and that had lasted up to around 395. After that, Byzantine Empire reigned; about 550 years.
In the seventh century, Slavic and Serb tribes had come to the territory of today’s Kosovo and Metohija. Between 960 and 1080 the Byzantine Empire and various Serbian rulers had been fighting over it; roughly, 60 years for each the Byzantine Empire and Serbs. Serbian rulers had been in Kosovo and Metohija between 1080 and 1389; Turks from thereon until 1912; 510 years. Serbs reigned in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija as of 1912. Conditionally speaking, Serbs. Both Serbs and Albanians together; whereby Albanians had not been satisfied with the respective. Until 1999, one way or another, since Kumanovo Agreement, so from 1999, international community and Albanians have been managing, as well as that part of the international community that had been a support to creation of independent Kosovo before 2008.
So, if we observe those 2020 years, we’ll see that different powers were replacing one another in Kosovo and Metohija. And we’ll see something that is particularly interesting, and I’ll now just bring some demographic data about how dramatically number of Serbs has been changing in the last 120 years.
According to estimations from 1455, about 98% Serbs lived in Kosovo and Metohija, in the territory comprising today Kosovo and Metohija. In 1871 there were 32% Albanians, 64% Arbanasi and 64% Serbs.
However, that is when Serb-Turk wars took place, then the Berlin Congress and it is a time when we were most dramatically losing in number of Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija and for the first time, in 1899, Arbanasi were the majority in that territory, in the so-called Realm of Kosovo; so, with 48% and Serbs were on 44%. How had this happened? Big migrations took place, big and difficult expelling of the Serbs. And Serbian state in that time, after Serb-Turk wars and Berlin Congress – and Stojan Novaković wanted it to take place on the 500th anniversary of the Kosovo Battle- for the first time established its Consulate. Serbian representation office. Representation office of Serbia in Priština in Realm of Kosovo. So, to Ottoman Empire.
Our first consul in Kosovo, in the Realm of Kosovo, was Luka Marinković, appointed in 1889. Already in 1890, Albanians killed Luka Marinković- the first Serbian Consul in Kosovo. After Luka Marinković, we changed several Consuls, all until 1912. It is interesting that our Consuls- and they would have probably been named big traitors by those who wanted to prevent us from coming here today- were also Branislav Nušić, first he was an administrative clerk, and then Consul in Priština; then great Serbian Poet Milan Rakić, who was first a clerk and then Consul in Priština.
So those people gave their contribution by protecting interests of small number of Serbs, because all until the Balkan Wars, we could not recover in any way, and neither of the authorities here in Serbia had not been able do dare in any way and organize, in any way, any kind of uprising in Kosovo and Metohija, all until 1912, all until the Balkan Wars, all until liberation wars, when we liberated Kosovo and Metohija again.
I wanted to tell you this so that you could see how things had changed throughout a good part of history, but bad data for us, almost disastrous ones, came after the World War II.
Namely in 1948 and all until 1953, being in winner’s momentum, we had managed to keep the same number of Serbs in same percentage like after the WWII, and that is 27% Serbs and Montenegrins, and 68% Albanians.
Please listen to data now, and this all goes until 1961. So, during those 15 years, after the WWII, we kept percentage of Serbs related to the percentage of Albanians. We kept it, because we were winners. A big number of Albanians felt like losers, big number of them left Kosovo and Metohija, they travelled across the ocean and to many European countries, to a much bigger extent than Serbs did, because I say and repeat- Serbs were mostly of an antifascist affiliation, they felt like winners, which was not the case with Albanians.
However, by establishment of the Third League of Prizren 1946, Albanians started to cause us the biggest problems and it would be visible that the Third League of Prizren costed us more than both the First in 1879 and the Second League of Prizren Balli Kombëtar , created in 1942 and 1943, because, with the help of huge amounts of money and investment, they were able, at any moment, to have a significant insight in the American foreign policy and through House of Representatives and the Senate, thorough both congress houses and all other executive American authorities.
What followed afterwards, since 1961, showed how we finally lost the ground in Kosovo and Metohija. I repeat, in 1961 we had 27% Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, but already in 1971 we had 21%. If you take a closer look, it is a drop of more than 25% than number of Serbs in relative numbers. In 1981 we already have 15% Serbs. So, from 1961 to 1981, from 27% to 15%. In 1991 we already had 11%; so we lost more than double in those 30 years, in relative percentages, speaking about presence of Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija between the sixties and nineties.
All those who came to power after the first democratic elections in 1990 faced countless problems and no matter what efforts they put, and I suppose they had the best intentions, they were in a terribly difficult situation to preserve anything with 11% of Serb population. Numerous problems we were facing contributed to the respective.
I’ll better speak about it now than later. So we had bad decisions of communist authorities, we had terribly bad decisions first on ban of return of Serbs and Montenegrins to their thresholds, but we had bad decisions in 1956, too, you will not believe, and why are we fighting today, among other things for that part of Serbia as well, where the entire north of Kosovo, like some people say, did not belong to Albanians then, i.e. Kosovo and Metohija. It’s not true. It was Lešak with 12 villages, and to make the misery even bigger, our people decided by plebiscite that they wanted to belong not to Raška district, not to Central Serbia, but to Kosovo and Metohija, and Albanians, in discussions with us, use those arguments, otherwise I would have never discovered that to them.
Not even to mention that Serbs could hardly get jobs and for you to see the scopes of problems we are saying, in 1961 there were about 100.000 Serb children in schools, in 1999 we had 59.000 Serb children in schools and today we have only 16.000 Serb children in schools.
Just for you to see what the scopes of national disaster our people went through are.
Today in the Balkans, when we speak about national issue, according to our accurate calculations, and I’ll give you the data later during the discussion, there are 7 million 460 thousand Serbs living in the Western Balkans today. When you ask Serbs, they would say nine or ten million. This is the exact number: so, 7 million and 460 thousand Serbs. In Serbia, Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, Croatia, North Macedonia there are about 4 million and 70 thousand Albanians today. When you ask them, they’ll say 6 million.
Of course, they are not telling the truth, nor Croats do, when they say that there are 4.5 million inhabitants in Croatia; there are hardly 3.5 million, and they’re yet about to see in 2021.
Serbs have negative birth rate, Albanians have positive one. I’ll mention today only a few important evaluations for a serious discussion and for the seriousness of the report we present. According to UN evaluations as of 2015, in 2050 Serbia will have 5.5 million inhabitants and in 2100, if the same trends continue, only 3,5 million inhabitants.
If we count the number of inhabitants by 2050 and 2100, according to the existing birth rates of Albanians and Serbs, we come to the following data for the Balkans: in 2050- and I’ll present here another, more serious analysis than this one- the number of Albanians will be by one million and 926 thousand and 400 hundred higher than today. In total, there will be 5 million and 996 thousand of them. There will be one million and 222 thousand 400 less than today. In total, there will be 6 million and 230 thousand of us.
In 2100 there will be by 4 million and 936 thousand more Albanians. In total there will be 9 million 6 thousand and 400 hundred of them. There will be by 3 million and 132 thousand less Serbs. In total, there will be 4 million and 327 thousand of us. Unless we change ourselves, unless we change many things about ourselves, there will be twice less Serbs in 2100 in the Balkans- and it is only in a generation- than Albanians.
Let us add to that also the unpredictable but very certain immigration from Asia and fist of all Sub-Saharan Africa towards European space and Balkans. The majority of refugees are and they will be Muslims, and it would not be a problem for us if we were more open, like it was shown in previous period that we are not. Thereby, some others will benefit from it and we will unfortunately never be able to use it.
In order to achieve positive birth rate of Serbs in coming 30 years, it is necessary that women give birth to 3.2 children. If we do not carry out big, overall changes and different measures, not only that we will not be able to speak about Kosovo and Metohija, but we will stand small chances to speak about our own survival in the territory of the rest of Serbia.
There are several different scientific studies and I told you about one. There are questions being asked, and why have I spoken about it? I was not talking only about a state of play for which I believe is a surprise to many of us. We were all hiding it deep inside us and we have never wanted to speak openly about it to the end.
I was speaking about this because we have to think about the future and about two different scenarios, and one is normalization of relations with Albanians, and I’ll speak what normalization possibilities are doable. The second is that normalization does not take place, to have either frozen conflict or frozen conflict interrupted with occasional conflicts, which would be a completely disastrous scenario for our further demographic movements.
We forgot to mention as historical facts, that to a great extent contributed to a disastrous situation for survival of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija, that we had almost been 500 years under the Turkish occupation, or you can name it the way you want, Turkish administration, it doesn’t matter. At the same time we suffered tragic loss in the Balkan Wars, horrible loss in the WWI and WWII, particularly our people west of River Drina and the Danube.
Those were terrible blows against the demographic vitality our people have never recovered from. Additional blows were wars in the nineties, human losses, exodus of our people from Croatia in 1995. Of course, NATO aggression in 1999 as well. Those are some of additional external causes of multi-decade depopulation.
Causes for the drop of birthrate and depopulation are like in other modern European countries, the improvement of living standards. Because birth rate is the lowest in the richest Belgrade municipalities; between 140 and 200.000 abortions a year, moving out and illness. Frist of all, during my today’s speech, I’ll speak about migration; about the importance to reach one day, any kind of compromise with Albanians, because thereby we’ll close, to a good extent, that negative migration balance by 2030. To have balanced migration balance means that number of those entering our country is equal to number of those leaving it. From 2030 onwards that trend should be changed and we should secure more people coming to our country than those leaving it.
Like I said, from 1945, beside the ban on return of expelled Serbs and Montenegrins, year after year you had the increase of constitutional jurisdictions of Kosovo, concluding with the constitutional amendments from 1971 and 1974. In 1990, we had national renewal, which was expected and understandable. After a decade of staying silent to exodus, first of all Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija, that we expected to have better results, not entering into the substance of the problem of relation with Albanians, not entering even into the numbers, not entering in what even a child could put together, and we pretended that we couldn’t do it.
It was a mistake and a fact that we underestimated the strength of international community; it’s often a euphemism for the most powerful western countries. But, no matter what and whatever we might say to them, and there are many bad and difficult things we can say them, we should have calculated better; if not for their sake, then for ours.
We shouldn’t have brought ourselves into a position to lose more men, to lose army and police in our territories and at the same time, to bring economic value, i.e. GDP value to 50% of what we had had in 1989. Thereby, we brought the strength of Serbia down to a minimum, to a point that we could only wait for the charity and something someone else would give us and what someone else would allow us.
After 2000, when many expected that a great respect for so-called democratic forces will take place in Serbia, and that it was only a democratic issue, that the West had no other interests and that all of the sudden it will bring Kosovo back to Serbia, under its control and that everything will be all right in years to come.
Quite the opposite happened; it happened that we were surprised by each move that had been made against us, starting from that that in a day we had to give up political and legal continuity, regardless of the fact that it had been disputable since 1992 and Badinter Commission. Until then, we had to release convicted and not convicted Albanian terrorists from our prisons; hundreds of them and some who had committed the most severe criminal acts, like Mazreku brothers who testified on crimes of those who are heading Albanian negotiation teams today against Serbian people. Then, we tried to run the politics of frozen conflict, even though we pretended not to see that we were slowly but steadily sliding into the Kosovo independence.
I found a letter in documentation we could rarely get, and therefore I’m proud because we are going to deliver all the reports to you and to future generations, all minutes of our conversations and everything we have done in previous period. We had difficulties in obtaining the documentation, and Marko Djuric will speak later about it.
But we found a letter that Zoran Djindjic sent to the Security Council, in which he in February 2003 forecasted well what would happen in Kosovo and Metohija, saying that they wanted to create an independent Kosovo and that everything they had spoken about in previous period was a lies, and points to all the dangers. That’s the first time someone had started talking and asking about it; it was 16 years ago, when we were in a ten times better situation; for the first time our representatives starting asking, if nothing else, for a partition, which was refused by international representatives, starting from Cooper, Steiner and all others.
Further on, people forget why this renouncing of continuity was important and why I have mentioned it; let us go back to Resolution 1244. There is no mention of Serbia in Resolution 1244, only of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. We renounce legal continuity in relation the FRY. Then, in 2006 the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disappears, thanks to the irresponsible politics we were following here and not even to mention that Serbia had to agree with the Venetian Commission Decision on 54%; only after we agreed to it the referendum in Montenegro was allowed.
Not to mention the way we were running a campaign, not to mention that we were not capable even of investing the money, that we were not capable of behaving seriously. Montenegro left, our sanctities were gone, and as if nothing had happened; the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disappeared. Everybody pretended as if nothing had happened. That’s why I asked some people recently, how come that all those are sanctities and Ostrog is not one. As far as I know, Ostrog is one of the biggest sanctities. You were all silent; you pretended to be naïve, inapt, as if nothing had ever happened.
It is interesting that when all this was happening in 2006, we did not have friends, no one. Serbian people knew what they wanted; Serbia behaved badly, Russia pretended not to see what was going on because it suited them; they thought that Montenegro would be a country under their control, and they mostly stayed silent. Of course, western powers were at all costs helping partition of Montenegro from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; they had done everything to make Serbia weaker, to leave it alone in order to be able to say that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was gone so that they could start with their famous story, standards before the status, and to be able to say status before standards, in order to give full independence to Kosovo.
In accordance with the report, and that you could be able to see, you’ll remember many important dates and I’ll give you a brief chronology of the events from 1998 and 1999 until today; very brief chronology with not so many comments, so that you could understand how things happened in worse and worse manner for us.
In 1998/1999 Washington appointed Christopher Hill for a special envoy for Kosovo and Metohija. Until February 1999, he was talking to Belgrade and Priština representatives, offering different versions of solution to the sides. Wolfgang Petrich took par as an EU special envoy as well as Boris Mayorsky as a representative of the Russian Federation.
February 1999: Indirect negotiations between Belgrade and Priština in Rambouillet after blackmails of western powers, were unsuccessfully ended. On 22 March 1999, OSCE Observer Mission that acted utterly ambiguous, that forged numerous reports and worked directly in favor of Albanians and directly against Serbs, unambiguously, evacuated from Kosovo and Metohija. Only two days later NATO started the aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 9 June, after 78 difficult, horrible days our people went through, Military-Technical Agreement was signed between the KFOR, international security forces and the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
On 10 June 1999, on its 4011 meeting the Security Council adopted the Resolution 1244. There are good things for us in that Resolution and there are very bad things for use, only that we have never wanted to read the bad ones. One of the bad ones is that our forces committed terror in Kosovo and Metohija, and that’s why it was necessary that international forces take control over that space, and that our forces should withdraw from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
Beginning of 2001: After the abolishment of legal continuity with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and release of Albanian terrorists, at that time President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia tried to initiate negotiations with Priština leader, Rugova, but Priština’s team made a last-minute cancellation its participation in the preparatory meeting. The Government of Serbia had tried the same, but in vain.
On 5 November 2011, a joint document on cooperation between Yugoslavia and UNMIK was signed, confirming the rights of the Signatories of the Resolution and inviting Serbs who lived in Kosovo to take part in Parliamentary elections of the Provisional Institutions in Priština.
In 2003, Zoran Djindjic sends a letter to the Security Council, warning them that creation of an independent state, which would be done against the Resolution 1244, would bring to disastrous consequences.
In 2003, Russian Army left Kosovo and Metohija, and we were left only with NATO countries, with representatives of the four NATO countries who got their zones in Kosovo and Metohija. The same year, 2003, standards before status principle was established, i.e. that standards established by the UN decisions had priority over discussions on final status. Of course, it was only a fraud, it was a game and an interim solution, which supposed to serve to calm down those in Belgrade who understood that game of theirs.
29 April 2004, the Government of Serbia introduced the first plan for a political solution for the situation in Kosovo and Metohija. Meeting with Contact Group representatives were held, whereby they were looking for a way only to calm down the Government of Serbia after Pogrom on 17 March 2004, and with no reaction of the Serbian state, they soon succeeded. As you’ll see later, already on 7 October 2005, the Contact Group consisting of the representatives of the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russian Federation, adopted the principles of resolving the status of Kosovo and Metohija, reading that the respective solution should be in accordance with international standards, human rights, democracy and international law, as well as that it should contribute to the security in the region.
24 October 2005 The UN Security Council gave the green light for starting the talks on the future of the Autonomous Province- Ambassadors who participated in the work supported the proposal of at that time Secretary General Kofi Annan, for starting negotiations on the status of Kosovo and Metohija.
11 November 2005, the Security Council appointed former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari for the special envoy. Negotiation process had practically begun 10 days later.
In January 2006 Contact Group introduced negotiation guidelines and took the position that there could not be going back to the situation prior to 1999. There could not be partition of Kosovo, nor its annexation to a third country. They invited Belgrade to a constructive work with chief negotiator, obviously to prepare the ground. That´s why you´ll see that our moves 12 or 13 years later were so important and so successful, preparing the ground to make Serbia understand how necessary creation of independent Kosovo is.
Between February and September 2006, all those heroes many of you called traitors, lined up in Vienna for direct negotiations with Hashim Thaçi and other Albanians; those negotiations failed.
On 17 March 2006, two delegations talked about financing Serbs municipalities, their mutual connecting with authorities in Central Serbia, and different positions were heard of the respective; at that time Albanians refused to establish something that we managed to deliver with Brussels agreement, seven years later, and that is the Community of Serbian Municipalities, which we cannot establish today because the European Union, as a guarantor of that Agreement’s implementation did not exert pressure on Albanians, to implement the respective agreement. The fifth negotiation round was dedicated to protection of religious and cultural heritage in Kosovo; it was evaluated as useful by both Sides.
On July 13, Martti Ahtisaari informed the Security Council Members on the course of negotiations and on his intention to organize a high-level political meeting. Those meetings followed, and they were attended by Boris Tadić, Vojislav Koštunica, Fatmir Sejdiu, Agim Çeku. Different positions were stated, Serbian side said that it was ready for the broadest level of autonomy, Albanians wanted only independence and nothing else.
The eighth, ninth and tenth round followed. Topic was decentralization and Albanians had never agreed to it. Then an order was issued to Martti Ahtisaari; Contact Group empowered him to start making comprehensive solution for the status of Kosovo. On 2 February 2007, he presented that solution and the respective observed the independence, though it was not implicitly mentioned anywhere, but the direction was clear.
On 13 February, on one of the seldom sessions- for those who lecture us on sessions of the National Assembly, all paragraphs of Ahtisaari proposal violating sovereignty and integrity of Serbia were rejected.
Then, between 21 February and 2 March final negotiations were held in Vienna, in order to try brining closer positions of the two Sides. No success was reached in the respective, and what followed then was Ahtisaari’s final conclusion, reintegration into Serbia, of Kosovo to Serbia, was not a realistic option, due to which internationally monitored independence is the best, the only possible solution.
Then, upon the request from Belgrade and Moscow, the Security Council sends a special mission to Kosovo and Metohija, which determined the situation in the ground in four days, because few member states of that body showed some reserves regarding the solution Ahtisaari was asking.
The USA and the EU Member States submitted to the Security Council new, fifth proposal on Kosovo and Metohija that left us and Priština 120 days to agree without the automatism on implementation of Martti Ahtisaari’s plan. They were faced with a clear threat of the Russian Veto; the Americans and five EU Member States gave up from continuation of the process for resolving the status of Kosovo in the Security Council; they announced further care on the respective process. Then, they formed troika: Ischinger, Wisner and Botsan-Kharchenko. With their appointment, a new round of negotiations began.
Then, at the EU seat in New York, direct talks between Tadić and Koštunica and FatmirSejdiu and Çeku were held. Belgrade said its position, Priština as well.
The important thing is that all that in that way lasted until 10 December 2007, until the negotiating troika ended its mission. It is mentioned in their report that the agreement of the future status of Kosovo was not raced and that the both sides obliged to refrain from violence, which was important in that moment.
Then, we move on to19 December 2007, it’s a grand finale; the Security Council did not bring any conclusions regarding the issue of the future status and already on 13 February the government of Kosovo announced that they would declare independence; on 14 February the Government of Serbia takes the decision on annulment of illegal acts of interim authorities and on 17 February, the so-called Kosovo Parliament declared the independence of the state of Kosovo and in a few days that followed the independence was recognized by the USA, Turkey, Albania, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, Australia, Poland, 84 countries in only a year.
On 18 February – it was one of the two sessions that were held in total- there was a session of the Serbian Parliament. Do you know how long it lasted a day after Albanians had declared the independence in Kosovo? An hour and a half. More than half an hour was spent for determining the Rules of Procedure. We made our decisions and solved our problem in one hour and a half.
Further, we had a problem with 15 August. Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time, Mr. Jeremic, officially delivered a request to the UN General Assembly, asking from the respective to support the Resolution of the Republic of Serbia which asked for an advisory, international opinion of the International Court of Justice on legitimacy of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.
The question to the court, I quote, was: Is unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Kosovo in accordance with the international law.
On 8 October 2008 General Assembly adopted Serbia’s request regarding the position of the International Court of Justice on the legality of the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo. The only argument, speaking about the international law, the only serious argument Albanians called upon on every our meeting, the one you have in our official minutes, not in a show for the TV, not in their speeches in the Security Council is the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, reiterated ten times on each meeting. Because someone was thinking only about himself then; about his own political scores and about being on TV, and not about interests of the Republic of Serbia and interests of our people in Kosovo and Metohija.
On 26 November 2008 the opinion of the UN Security Council enabling deployment of the EULEX Mission in Kosovo and Metohija was adopted, and in a reply to the letter of Secretary General we agreed to bringing EULEX to Kosovo and Metohija; it was signed by the President of the Republic Boris Tadić.
In July 2010, the International Court of Justice passed the advisory opinion that unilaterally declared independence of the so-called Kosovo was not contrary to the international law.
Why have I been reading this so far Because it is important for us to know one thing-in 1999, we were defeated in an unequal and impossible conflict by signing-not our soldiers, we were defeated, there was an unfair fight; a partial political capitulation was signed, our forces withdrew from Kosovo and Metohija; we pretended that nothing had happened.
After that, we asked for something; in 2004 we did not react to anything; in 2008 we reacted by going out into streets one night and disagreed with the declaration of independence, and between 2008 and 2010, during the procedure before the International Court of Justice, we provided the Albanian side with the strongest arguments for obtaining independence.
On 9 September 2010, Security Council welcomed EU readiness to facilitate dialogue process between Belgrade and Priština. On 8 March 2011 there was the first meeting between Borko Stefanovic and Edita Tahiri. Until mid-2012, the following was reached: technical agreements on freedom of movement, registries, customs stamp, cadaster, recognition of university diplomas, integrated border management and regional cooperation.
Most importantly, and we have that decision, in 2011 three years after the confrontation of Serb population from the Northern Kosovo and Metohija, a border was established in Jarinje and Brnjak, between Central Serbia and 98% Serb populated Northern Kosovo and Metohija.
There is an important thing that I forgot to tell you. Accurate data that we made; I did not tell you about 2017. You remember a case when Albanians arrested our people from the Red Cross, also with the support of the EU, since nobody wanted to allow us to count people in Kosovo and Metohija, we were doing that through people from the Red Cross and through the Office for Kosovo and Metohija; we counted all the Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija.
An information for you: in 2017, and count that there are by 2000 people less, 94.998 Serbs lived there, and out of that 47.1% in the north of Province, and 52.9% south of River Ibar. That difference keeps lowering, i.e. percentage of participation of the north is increasing, because it is safer and more secure for population in the North, because they lean directly on Central Serbia, they do not live in enclaves.
But if you look at those numbers and numbers from before 1990 and 1991, according to the census, you’ll see that it is three to four times smaller number of Serbs compared to the number that used to live then. According to what we were able to count, and we could not access some places, but according to our estimations there are between 1.162.000 and 1.325.000 Albanians, not more than that. They also like to lie, only we like to lie ourselves about numbers, so they say that there are two million of them. That isn’t so, there are lot less of them than those numbers, but likewise, and there are a lot less us than numbers we are speaking about, and people should know that.
What’s really important is that there were very difficult negotiations from 20 September, all until 19 April 2013, when Ivica Dačić, as the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia signed the Brussels Agreement. It was the first agreement on principles regulating normalization of relations.
Then, until the end of 2013, there were negotiations on implementation of the firs agreement. In May 2013, we agreed the implementation plan. It’s important that, during the course of that year, agreement related to liaison officers was reached; the Office for Kosovo takes over obligations from the domain of competences of the Office for expert and operational affairs in negotiation process.
During 2013, there were 40 meetings, out of which 8 were high-level political meetings, and 32 were on technical and expert level. I’m saying all this as a part of the report on our work in previous period.
On 19 March 2014 we agreed on phytosanitary certificate, and for veterinary and health certificate for finished products. Harmonization of these documents in a status neutral way enabled smooth placement of products of companies from Central Serbia to Kosovo.
Between March and September 2014, there was a standstill in the political dialogue between Belgrade and Priština, due to local elections in Serbia, as well as due to elections and creation of the so-called government of the Provisional Institutions in Priština.
On 14 November 2014 we reached the agreement on officials’ visits, and later you were able to see how they did not stick to that agreement for a single moment; they absolutely arbitrarily used, or to put it this way, they abused it to the extent of humiliating and beating up, disrespecting the Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, Marko Đuric.
We had so-called discussions from the field of energy and telecom. The bridge agreement was reached; so-called Žbogar’s plan. However, regarding the bridge, I want to say it to people here, we were constantly under pressure; horrible pressure to allow traffic over right over one central bridge. Not to have it as a pedestrian bridge, not to have it opened like a bridge for pedestrians but to allow trucks and cars over it. Whenever we would say: “You have two more bridges 50-100 meters away, which are allowed for busses and trucks and everybody else, why do you want to enter at all costs he central street in the North Kosovska Mitrovica; it is a King Peter’s Street?” We have never received and answer.
And we have been exposed to that all until today. The other day, when I discussed with the highest European representatives, I was listening to- “do something, let that bridge go.” And then we started with reconstructions in Northern Kosovska Mitrovica. We especially built a monument to Emperor Lazar with a bridge view. We specially made pavements, a pedestrian zone. And our people, mayor Rakić and everybody else, did this because we realized that they wanted at all costs that what is a symbol of Serb survival in that part of Kosovo and Metohija; they wanted to entirely destroy it and easily conquer King Peter’s Street. And, once you take King Peter’s Street, Mitrovica is small only 9 km² in total…So one way or another there would be no Serbs over there. And when there are no Serbs in Norther Mitrovica, there are no Serbs in Zvečan either. A few would survive in Ibarski Kolašin, Zubin Potok and a bit more to the north in Leposavić and Lešak.
In 2014, there were totally 15 meetings, and all were on the technical and expert level. There was a question- why are we participating in such discussions? Why were we insisting on it all the time?
We did it for three key reasons Firstly, do not forget, and I am sorry for having to remind you, in only eight years of Milosevic being in power, we had come to a point that we had conflict in Kosovo and Metohija and a substantial loss of sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija. In only eight years of DOS being in power, we came to great expectations and great hopes and great promises to the people that everything would change and that those in the West will love so much; that they would do anything to bring Kosovo back under the territorially integrity of Serbia; in exactly eight years we got the independent Kosovo. Declaration of independence Kosovo to which we reacted by even giving them legal arguments through the decision of the International Court of Justice.
Why did I mention this? Because we are in a ten times worse situation and without Armed Forces and Police, and with formally declared independence of Kosovo that was recognized by a bit less, we say 100, and they say 110 countries. We’ll discuss it later. So, we are trying to bring Serbia back to life; to bring it back to talks; to preserve peace and political stability first, because we have no more heads to lose, no more children to waste. I suppose that we should have never had any.
At the same time, we were preserving political stability and trying to bring country out of bankruptcy. We were trying to raise our economy. Because, by raising economy you have more chances to keep people in the country, not to have them running out of the country. By raising economy you increase all other chances, even chances to defend your national interests. Do you want me to remind you that, de facto, we did not have the army? Do you want me to remind you that we were cutting out tanks, that we destroyed “Strelas” for 142 dollars? That as a Minister of Defense I found hidden ones and I brought them and said- renew the resource. Starting by having one plane that was able to fly, today we have 14 planes of 4+ generation. I’m speaking only about fighter jets. This year we will get more helicopters than we had -and we bought them- in the past 30 years. Do you realize what I’m talking about?
We asked for time to preserve our country, our people. You must talk. Does someone think that it is nice talking to Thaçi? Do you think that it is for Thaçi to talk to me? Well, if I really must tell you, it’s worse for him to talk to me, than for me to talk to him. But you must do it not because you like it and not because it is nice, but because you love your country and because you know that by doing so you also get time for Serbia. We are on the EU integration path. We want to be a part of the world, to belong to that type of society. And some will say:”Why?” Not to speak about democracy and rule of law now. People, I am speaking about economy; 68% of our trade exchange is with the EU. Our biggest investors come from the EU. Only German companies employ more than 60.000 people in Serbia.
Everything we export, our import coverage by export in the amount of 79%, we make it thanks to those companies. We would disappear. And that is how we made to raise Serbia’s reputation in the international community and to bring Kosovo and Metohija, which was a done deal for them, at the table- by not losing Serbian heads, by raising Serbian economy, and not by keep losing further, not continuing the sequence of losing everything. To have it talked about again. Not with big chances for us, not with that I could tell you with certainty that we will gain something, but to tell you that we can ask for something and that we still have a say, and that we keep fighting. And, in 2008 and 2010, everything was done. It was all over. So, that’s why we did what we did.
We made agreements on justice, civil protection, and I’ll specially speak about it in the second part, while answering the questions. We were exposed to the most difficult pressure regarding energy. And you could see there all the hypocrisy of the international community. They were insisting all the time on Gazivode and Valač, saying that Germans, I guess, are losing 32 million euro a year in some kind of a transmission grid, electrical grid, I suppose, and I kindly ask people from “Elektromreže Srbije” and “Elektroprivreda Srbija” not to be angry if I’m wrong in some of the terms, and Minister Antic as well. For Germans 32 million is not much. But, a fact that we are losing 50 million euro on monthly basis due to their taxes bothers no one. And Serbia is 200 times less rich than Germany. Why would anybody care? But, first of all it was used for exerting pressure on our people in Zubin Potok. Once Gazivode are taken, once Valač is taken. And do not forget, our people in the North Ksosovo and Metohija as well as majority of enterprises pay electricity in the amount of 11%.
So, people are not paying electricity bills. Our losses for electricity in the Northern Kosovo are about 150 million euro a year. Just to have it in mind. And all people in Serbia should know that. Because we are trying to make survival to our people easier. We are trying to make their lives easier. That’s why we reward them with Kosovo Bonus. That’s why teacher in Lešak and Kosovska Mitrovica has significantly bigger salary than one in Sombor, Belgrade, Leskovac, Kragujevac and any other place. So, those are also the things we do.
Then, of course, the games about the Community of Serbian Municipalities begin. Albanians understood what we were doing. And, I am not going to hide it. We care for Serbian people. I do not want to upset anyone, but as a President I neither can nor want to take care of inhabitants of Kačanik, the most powerful cell of the Islamic State in the whole world. And those who are lying about taking care about it can keep on lying to our people. I do take care of Serbian people. I take care of other citizens of Serbia who think of Serbia as of their own country and who want Serbia to take care of them. And to tell you the truth, I’m not particularly interested in what’s going on in Kačanik, Glogovac, Suva Reka and Štimlje. And they realized that with the Community of Serbian Municipalities, we actually want to fully institutionalize bonds between our people in the south and in the north; four municipalities in the north with six municipalities in the south. And we even asked for separate creation of municipality Prilužje, Plemetina, which Albanians accepted and then gave up. Because Prilužje belongs to Vučitrn and Plemetina to Obilić, Babin Most as well, so we wanted to make it one municipality. That was our intention, regardless of mandates. We asked for supervisory functions. Executive powers. And they said: “There cannot be executive powers.”, and then they gave up on everything.
And they did not meet the only obligation they had from the Brussels Agreement. The only one they had. They did not meet it because someone allowed them not to meet it. Because big European powers and the US said: “You are allowed not to meet it.” And it’s been six years and they haven’t met it. Just like it has been more than 200 days now since they imposed tariffs and it doesn’t bother anyone. They use it for one day, for one meeting. Just like no one is worried with their announcements on creation of the Greater Albania.. And nobody wants to react. And if it were us who said even a single word like that, if God forbid, one of us would mention Republika Srpska, or anything, metaphorically speaking we would be hanged in Brussels. Is it fair? Well, it’s not. Is it just? Well, it’s not. Does it show double standards? We.. it does. So, what are we supposed to do? Well, to keep fighting. To understand that this is the way things are; and to keep fighting in the best possible way.
During 2016 there were 46 meetings in total. In 2017 we had 14 meetings in total. And the, we come to the event from 2018. Albanians understood, and the entire Western world, which mostly recognized the independence of Kosovo, understood that they cannot persuade Serbs into all untruths they are trying to sell them, no matter how difficult the situation for the Serbs is, no matter how conditioned they are with their European path, no matter how much they want to progress faster.
And then, Belgrade elections were announced, and many expected the change of power to occur so that it could be the beginning of the end of Vučić’s hated regime etc. And that day, Oliver Ivanovic was assassinated in Kosovska Mitrovica. One of the Serb leaders from Kosovo and Metohija. Political adversary of Srpska lista. And in the past twenty days you could see three texts in important Western media saying that perhaps that murder contributed to destruction of demarcation idea, of anything according to any Serbian dreams that Serbs might get something of the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.
I have prepared a part of the material for later. I believe that there will be questions, and that we will talk about that as well. That’s when we faced the fierce, orchestrated campaign, jointly carried out from different Western centers of power, with those who intercede all that in domestic public. And of course, with the strongest role of Albanians and Albanian media.
They do it with the following wish and intention: to fully criminalize our people in Kosovo and Metohija, especially Serbs from the Northern Kosovo and Metohija, because they by no means wanted to allow significant inflow of Albanians into that part of Kosovo and Metohija. And there had to be the fiercest possible campaign against them. So, they knew who killed and how. And, as you see, it has been one year and six months, and they no nothing. They have no idea. They made everything up. They apprehended people. They keep people in detention today, based on the statements given to Serbian media; statements of politicians from here, politicians from Savski Venac who introduce themselves falsely for being politicians from Kosovo.
They did all that in order to weaken the defense of Serbian people in Northern Kosovo. To make the North an easy target for all of them. Because, until that moment it was a very tough nut for anyone who would try to enter Kosovska Mitrovica, Northern Kosovo is easier target for them today, which is a joint success of all Albanians, majority of Western powers and one part of the Serbian politics. They really had success in the respective. I congratulate them on that. But, I’m warning all of them together that they have been capable of weakening Serbian people that much in the entire Province, or Serbian people in the North. Not to be capable of- and I say it on purpose- not to be, because it is not going to be the response only of our people from the North but the response of our entire nation if anyone tries to physically endanger them, in any of the ways. There will no more Pogroms like in 2014.
On 21 November 2018, Priština imposed 100 % customs tariffs for goods from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Central Serbia, which directly contrary to the dialogue spirit and CEFTA and Stabilization and Association Agreement. Needless to say, that apart of the press release, and air relations, I must admit, of Federica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn, not a single Member State, nor the EU with its mechanisms took any steps against the Albanian side for something like that.
During 2018 there were totally 24 meetings. We have recently had Summit in Berlin, when Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron tried to convince the Albanians to abolish tariffs. They did not succeed in the respective because…
So that they would have someone’s stronger support. I said that at the very beginning of the discussions. They did not believe me. They said: “Wait Aleksandar, you’ll see that we will have a result.” I wanted to inform you of the respective. I just laughed to that. I told them: “You will not have a result because someone stronger than you told them not to accept it, no matter how much you insist.”
One hour later, Macron told me: “Aleksandar, you were right. No matter what we do, they will not accept it.” So, it is about something that is a plan. And why is that a plan? Why they did it and what are they trying to make? They are doing one important thing, which is to bring us into the situation of a new normality, because they are allowed to do it. Whatever they do, no matter what kind of a stupidity they make, to speak about the Greater Albania million times, to take concrete steps for creation of the Greater Albania, to remove border checkpoints, crossing point, customs-free procedures, anything else they do and to impose all the tariffs against us, no matter what they do, they will say, someone from the international community will issue a statement, two days later, never mind, so, “let’s see how we can make Serbia finally and formally recognize the independence of Kosovo.”
Everything is done, Kosovo is independent. What remains is a part how Serbia will also formally recognize the independence of Kosovo. We’ll reject any ideas, Serbs come up with, on border changes and under the border changes they mean that borders of the state of Kosovo are inviolable, unique and that no one is allowed to move them neither to the left nor right.
It somehow doesn’t seem to me that borders of Serbia were inviolable in 1999, or 2006, i.e. Yugoslavia, nor in 2006, but afterwards, all borders became inviolable. And when they tell you: “You’ll open Pandora’s Box!” which is nonsense, different politicians from Serbian political scene, whenever you remind them that Pandora’s box had been open a lot before, it seem in vain to remind them; it’s only worse for the truth and for the abundance of argument. There isn’t much philosophy in that.
Why was that dialogue important? Since this is – the report on the dialogue and everything that took place. In a full sense of the word, it worked in the interests, of the Serbian, and of the Albanian side. I claim with certainty – of the Serbian side. It is important that we reach peace and agreement with Albanians. And because of what I was saying, because we will be the second biggest nations in the Western Balkans.
During the period of those negotiations and dialogue, we managed to preserve peace in Kosovo and Metohija. Number of severely wounded and killed, not counting Oliver Ivanovic, was very low, almost none in interethnic conflicts. It’s a small success, but after the declaration of independence of Kosovo; not before that. Not until we had some competences and power in Kosovo and Metohija. We managed to achieve the respective by discussions and smart politics.
During the intensive talks, there were no serious security crisis. We have always encountered security crisis when talks and dialogue were stopped. Relation between the absence of negotiations and complexity of security circumstances directly lead to a conclusion that dialogue was useful for both sides and that permanent peace could be ensured only by it.
The third important conclusion refers to a fact that Serbia’s engagement in political dialogue obviously succeeded to partly amortize a zero-compromise position of supporters of the so-called independent Kosovo. And today, if you read Edgar Josef, and many others, who certainly are not objective, but directly against us, even they speak 19 times about the President of Serbia and Serbia’s leadership that must be forced to take some decisions. Such texts could not be found neither in 2007, nor 2008 nor 2009. Everything was happening smoothly, just the way they expected.
Having in mind that more and more often they officially demand finding comprehensive solution for the issue of Kosovo and Metohija through negotiations, it is clear that those partners no longer think that Kosovo independence is simply a done deal. Serbia will have to be heard; Serbia’s voice must count.
Are we going to be able to get everything we would want and everything we fantasize about? Of course not. And the one who would tell you so would so horribly lie to you, and we have many liars in Serbia. I am not going to be like that, even if you would be the first ones to replace me, and then people in the referendum. It’s all the same to me. But, I am absolutely certain and fully convinced that we will get a lot more than what we had in 2000 and 2008, if we could continue the dialogue.
The fourth important conclusion is the one that the Republic of Serbia basically managed to fully protect its interest in the Province, in the context of European integration. Despite the criticism related to alleged surrender of Serbian institutions, Serbs in the North in particular, Serbs in that space fully dominate today in all institutions, which had not been the case until 2013.
Don’t forget, those who speak about judiciary, I’d like to tell you one thing: imagine that someone raped a Serb female, a girl in Kosovo and Metohija, what would we be able to do? To file complaint in Kraljevo, depending on whether it happen in the North or in Vranje; not to have the possibility of prosecuting the rapist in any way. Thereby, we opened the possibility to have substantial influence, and in any moment-for you to understand- those people who agreed to work within Kosovo system are so loyal to the Republic of Serbia and Serbian people, that if Srspska Lista and political representatives would take a decision that everybody should withdraw, only some small, even though it’s a pleonasm, please allow me to use it, exceptions remained in those institutions.
Serbs would immediately leave, but they take every chance with the aim to provide substantial, righteous dominance of Serbs, because ultimately 98% Serbs live there. To provide at the same time protection for Serbs in Gračanica and SŠtrpce, and in Ranilug, Šilovo, Klokot, Pasjane, Parteš, Metohija, where our people are jeopardized, as well as in Osejane, Đurekovac, Klina, Goraždevac, Velika Hoča, Orahovac and in any other place where we have from few to several hundred Serbs.
It was the only possible way. How could we protect, if there wasn’t for that move of a Serb in Velika Hoča, who was robbed by a robber, whose daughter was raped, whose relative was wounded. How would we be able to protect him? By arresting the perpetrators by drones, from the air, how?
It is easy to say that we from the center of Belgrade are entitled to waiting for something for million years. Those people live over there every day. And they have to live there every day. And they live with the Albanians every day. And someone had to provide protection to them. I believe that everything we did in a dialogue process brought tangible benefits to Serbian people, and the state of Serbia as whole.
I particularly believe that during 188 meetings in total, we managed to protect the reputation of the Republic of Serbia; that we managed to preserve the interests of our people and to dramatically slow down the process of moving out of our people from Kosovo and Metohija. We also managed to refuse certain agreements that were not signed, and that would mean a dramatic undermining of Serbian national interests and state interests of the Republic of Serbia.
The important thing for us- and that’s why Priština, among other things made the decision on tariffs- is that a serious exchange of goods between Central Serbia and Priština took place and we reached a point that our export, the way they put it, or trade with Priština, the way we put it, went beyond 550 euro annually.
What they were selling us, or the way they say it- export to Central Serbia, was in the level of 20 million euro. I’m just waiting for someone to tell me that we acted badly and that we ran bad politics. That’s why many from all over the world are quiet, because they do not care at all about Serbia being damaged, because they want to see economically weaker Serbia.
In spite of that, we are not whining to anyone that because of the aforementioned our GDP is by 0.3% or 0.4% lower; we are not complaining to anyone. We want to be the best, the strongest, regardless of that, and we will be.
The important thing is that we managed, to a big extent to help and do everything to protect our monuments of cultural and historical importance. I’ll give accurate number later; how much money it was to help our church, monasteries and other monuments of big historical importance.
What did Priština do? I do not like to speak about Priština’s fault and I speak ten times less often than Thači, Haradinaj, Veseli, all their representative who, unfortunately, see the enemy in Serbia. We see in them people we are forced to build peace with, in order to build good and normal relations with Albanians in the future.
That’s why we are trying not to respond to every stupidity we hear from Priština. We try not to contaminate even more relations without Serbs and Albanians, but to try to slowly raise trust between our nations, which is not an easy thing. It is almost impossible, particularly in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija, but it is important for the future.
My duty is to point out the following facts: from the very beginning we were exposed to different kinds of pressure and tricks, starting from demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro, and that demarcation between Kosovo and Serbia took place, which would be normal, I guess, and now comes magnificent success of carrying out demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro.
Each demarcation we would be part of would mean that we de facto recognized the independence of Kosovo. All the time, from the beginning until today, we were under pressure to participate in it. The, we would be under pressure to welcome the demarcation between Podgorica and Priština, which is the same thing, just in a bit different wrapping, which we also managed to refuse in front of the European representatives.
They made countless unilateral moves. I’ll tell you what was in a few previous, in particular in the past two years.
Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions in Priština said in June 2018- made direct threats of war- if a solution that Albanian side is not in favor of would be reached in negotiations on determining the status of Kosovo and Metohija. The President of Provisional Institutions in Priština repeated that, saying that they had already won the war once with the help of NATO, and they will win again, if necessary.
Then, they appoint Fatmir Limaj for the chief negotiator. You know a lot more about tit than me, Mr. Drecun. They brought a notorious war criminal. They want to humiliate us and they said: “You must sit and talk to him”, and we are not in a position to choose who we will talk to. He is a choice of Albanian representative. People from the international community are not squeamish. If they had cooperated with them, if they were silent about 17 dead witnesses, out of which the last one was killed on a pedestrian crossing in Podgorica- everybody was silent and they were not convicted for the most severe crimes, why would they be squeamish about something like this.
Then, in the past year, they have violated the Agreement on Police, jeopardized security of Serbs by illegal intrusions of their paramilitary and parapolice units into the north of the Province. It is about FIT and ROSU unites. O=On 21 November, Priština imposed 100% tariffs for goods from Central Serbia. Number 5, then Priština decided that for all goods coming from the territory of Central Serbia it must be written on invoices that the destination is the Republic of Kosovo, and by marking the origin of the goods that is being sold in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija it fully discriminated Serbian products.
Number 6: Priština, together with Tirana, illegally abolished the control of state border between our border with the Republic of Albania and enabled free movement, whereby it most directly violated the Resolution 1244.
Number 7: Formally, in cooperation with the Republic of Albania, they proclaimed their goal of aspiring towards the creation of the Greater Albania in the Balkans. Do you think that someone got really upset? They tell you, once you tell them. I’m not telling them anymore. My obligation is to inform you of the respective. When you say this to all western representative, those who recognized the independence, they say the following: “Yes, that’s not a good statement. Vucic, what do you need that demarcation for?” And there is no Greater Albania anywhere, there’s nothing, as long as we, Serbs, do not get anything.
Number 8: Priština made an illegal decision on creation of the so-called Kosovo Armed Forces, which was supported by all western powers, even though this decision was made contrary to the will of even NATO, and Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg was fair, and contrary to the Constitution, Lex Superior, of the so-called state of Kosovo. They don’t care at all if something is done against Serbs, and they will do it also for their acts and for everything else.
Number 9: Priština unambiguously refused the implementation of the agreements reached in the dialogue, particularly regarding the Community of Serbian Municipalities.
Number 10: In this Bridge Agreement that we signed, south had to be clearly separated from the North Mitrovica, because it is the only way for us to save ourselves. Many more people live in South than in North Mitrovica. To make it clear to people here, any unification of the city, the way they call it, is the end of Serbs in the North. It’s the end of North Mitrovica. That’s why we asked for special demarcation in Suvi Do and it had to be done according to the Agreement. Albanians refused it as well. The only important thing for them was to enter King Peter’s Street with their trucks and flags, and nothing else.
11: Priština authorities operationalized nationalization and taking property of Serbian business entities away, by recent adoption of the so-called Trepča Statute.
12: Priština publically threatened and put in place new legal limitations, through institutions, regarding the dialogue. And by electing TIB, but then they talked about Trepča, Gazivode and everything else.
13: Kadri Veseli, Speaker of Priština Parliament, asked for support to the politics and measures that Haradinaj has been taking against the Serbs and Serbia, as well as for regional unification against, the way he said it, against Vučić, calling on Montenegro and North Macedonia, Albania to join them in that fight. In that sense, he showed readiness to reach solution, if necessary, with a new war that he is willing to participate himself.
Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions Haradinaj replaced legitimate representatives of Serbian people and brought personal friends, best men, servants serving only him and Albanian interests.
15: Under the so-called secret and fake indictments, Priština apprehends Serbs for alleged war crimes, and thereby, contrary to the Resolution 1244 that envisages creation of conditions for safe and secure return of all displaced persons, refugees, disables the respective process.
Just to mention that Kosovo and Metohija is a territory where the smallest number of refugees that returned, compared to all crisis areas and hot spots worldwide- 1.9%. Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have much higher degree of return. There is no such a low level of return like in case of Serbs. Of course, there is our fault in it; a fact that it is much nicer for people to be in Belgrade; that their children are safer, and not down there among the Albanians who attack them on daily basis. There are, also, daily pressures that are impossible to resist.
Parliament of the Provisional Institutions in Priština adopted the resolution on the alleged genocide of Serbia. Data on the alleged thousands of murdered Albanians, dozens of thousands of raped Albanian women were given without any evidence. They were shown to the entire world public to that purpose, and almost no one sent an official denial. Video form a porn film that was meant to show that Serbs raped Albanian women was done by Vlora Brovina, MP of a ruling party. By the way, she was released from the detention unit in Nis in 2000, upon the decision of political and not justice authorities of the Republic of Serbia.
Having in mind all the aforementioned circumstances and facts, it is clear that Priština does not want a real dialogue in this moment. Whether they will, it is more a question for their western mentors than for them. What’s important for us, and why we said only for one thing, precisely because of creation of this new normality they keep speaking about, is that no matter the cost, we will not accept or agree to continuation of the dialogue without revoking tariffs.
Why we said that? What kind of an answer you want? You are not capable of abolishing tariffs, and it had been agreed back in 2006 by CEFTA that there would not be such tariffs. And, in 2008 you commit illegal secession. You illegally take away a part of the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
The Republic of Serbia did not impose any tariffs in 2998; we did not breach CEFTA in 2008, no matter who was in power. In 2018, you impose tariffs against us because you didn’t like the fact that you had not became a member of INTERPOL or some other international organization and the entire world is silent. There is a question being asked now, and they say that it is our fault, because we condition the dialogue. Wait, how are we going to reach an agreement; what would this agreement be about if we are not capable of reaching the by default agreement on free trade, and that exists according to the Stabilization and Association Agreement signed with the European Union.
Our only condition is: abolish tariffs and we’ll continue the dialogue. We didn’t have any remarks regarding Madam Eshton’s behavior, nor regarding behavior of Madam Mogherini. We were aware of the difficulty of the conditions of the situation we worked in. Sometimes those pressures were terrible. If you’re interested, I can say how it was asked from us to support entry of Kosovo to the UN in the Brussels Agreement. It was almost a done deal. How to accept that regional police in the north should be composed of 68% of Albanians and 32% of Serbs, and not of 98% of Serbs as it is today, and, I must say, we managed to get it in a very courageous way and to preserve that kind of Serb dominance, at least in that part of Kosovo and Metohija. But I think that we made it, in general, once you analyze it, to preserve peace, to preserve stability, not to diminish but to improve Serbia’s reputation, t dramatically improve economy, to increase Serbia’s GDP by 7 billion during this short period, to lower out public debt from 78-79% to 50-51%, after difficult crisis in which we were gad to pull chestnuts out of the fire, and we managed to lower the unemployment.
I received the official data; the lowest unemployment rate for the first quarter is 12.1. During the seasonal works, you may expect the unemployment rate to be even below 11%. We are getting closer to the EU countries regarding that issue. From 329 euro, average salaries reached 436 euro. We have seriously increased pensions after tough years for pensioners, and I want to thank them putting up with everything, but we managed to do all that. We have strengthened our Army, because we had peace and because we had the dialogue, and because that dialogue was a political weapon to secure economic progress of Serbia and to enable different and more successful economic and social political future for our people.
It’s important for me to inform you that between 2014 and 2018 we succeeded, and of course it was our job, to prevent so-called Kosovo’s membership to nine international organizations: UNESCO, World Customs Organization, INTERPOL, International Organization of Vine and Wine, European Student’s Union, European Broadcasting Union, International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, which is very important to us, and which saved us regarding Valač and Gazivode; International Air Transport Association.
In period between 2014 and 2018, for the first time and despite the fact that we are in an incomparably more difficult moment than it was in 2000, or 2007, before the independence, 13 countries revoked the recognition of Kosovo- Solomon Islands, Surinam, Burundi, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Lesotho, and Commonwealth Dominica. They recognized on 11 December 2012 and revoked on 2 November 2018; Grenada recognized on 6 September 2013 and on 4 November 2018 they revoked the recognition; Comoros, Madagascar, Palau, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome and Principe.
You’ll see that there are twice less countries that recognized after 2014 until 2018- Tonga, Singapore, Antigua and Barbuda, Togo, Bangladesh and Barbados. It is possible that it was my fault for Antigua and Barbuda, not because I did not make it on time to have discussions that we had already planned, and I cannot forgive that to myself until this very day.
Priština introduced different measures to undermine functionality of Serbian municipalities in Kosovo and Metohija and carried out ethnically motivated attacks in period between 2014 and 2018. All the time they have been working on changing ethnical structure in the south , particularly in municipalities of Gračanica, Novo Brdo, Klokot, Štrpce, Ranilug and Parteš, and of course, they are trying to find mechanisms for attacking and full power over north.
They do it in the following ways: by jeopardizing safety of Serbian population, with pressures of criminal groups, robberies, intimidations and attacks aimed at more intensive moving out of Serbs, by apprehension and by filing charges against local Serbian officials and more prominent Serbs under the excuse of fighting corruption and organized crime aimed at destroying unit and provoking conflicts among Serb political leaders and that is why I want to thank people from Srpska Lista who managed to keep unity of Srpska Lista also in Štrpce and Gračanica, Klokot, Kamenica, Parteš and in the North of Kosovo, for never letting being divided by them in any way, and this is a big thing.
I want you to know something, dear friends; those are people who take the most terrible pressure, on a daily basis, of both Albanian authorities and foreign representatives of the countries that recognized Kosovo. For them, they are good interlocutors if they want to say: “Vučić is a scumbag”, and if they want to say: “Keep away from Serbia.” The moment they say: “We respect Serbia; we respect its institutions and its bodies and organizations,” that very moment they have no contacts whatsoever with them and they become their believe it or not political adversaries. Those people managed to endure all that. The have never been ashamed of their country, Serbia, and its loyalty to the state of Serbia and respect they show to the state authorities of the Republic of Serbia. They keep our people in Kosovo and Metohija, and not those who call for voting for Gonxe Çaushi, just to harm Serbian people in any way.
Additionally, where did house and properties of Serbs came from, and their permanent expulsion, purchase of the most valuable properties in locations for planned settling of Albanians, construction of weekend houses in weekend areas and on the brims of bigger municipalities, then mass changes of place of residence in a suitable moment, withdrawal of Albanian population from electoral registers of border municipalities with Albanian majority and their enrollment in electoral registers of Serb majority population.
Based on the available data, total number of registered ethnically motivated attacks in period between 2014 and 2018 was 465. It is a big number of attacks. But, just to have one thing in mind, only ten years earlier, during the same period, the number had almost been three times bigger. So, we still managed to do something. Huge number of robberies and devastation of property is visible – 150; attacks against cultural-historical monuments, religious facilities and cemeteries – 45; provocations and threats -118; physical attacks-62; stoning of houses, vehicles and persons-30.
Financing in the field of cultural heritage and help for the Serbian Orthodox Church in the territory of the AP of Kosovo and Metohija in period from 2014 to end of May this year: having in mind the invaluable historical and spiritual, national and cultural importance we finance facilities of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the territory of the AP of Kosovo and Metohija, we refurbish them, repair them, reconstruct and revitalize them, we deal with their renewal and construction, fresco-painting, carving, equipping, decoration, help with gathering the lots and property of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
We have been working, but since you have it in your report, and not to take your time, starting from making carved Church furniture in Gračanica, purchasing property in direct vicinity of the monastery, repair and reconstruction of the roof on the Church of St. Emperor Uros in Uroševac, internal lighting in Gračanica, full renewal of Banjska, St. Kozma and Damjan in Vračevi, Sokolica, the Patriarchate of Peć, Gorioč, purchasing lots in Velika Hoča. There are many things that we did also in Sušica and Serbian Orthodox Seminary of Prizren, Sočanica, in all places.
In total in money terms, since we file a report, MPs and people must know about each dinar; this is from the budget of Office for Kosovo and Metohija. The overall assets that were allocated and outside the current budget reserve from which we allocated anther two million euro, dinar assets, of course, for these 56 most important projects for churches and monasteries is 417 million, so about three million and 753 million and 800.000 euro and another two million euro through current budget reserves. So, we invested huge amounts of money into our spiritual and cultural heritage in Kosovo and Metohija; there has never been more than in the previous period.
The most important investment in the field of infrastructure, economic development, agriculture, education and healthcare, even if you look at the budgets for the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, you’ll see it is twice bigger today than only five years ago, and that we allocate a lot more money from the current budget reserve than before, thanks to the better budget balances.
1.613 residential facilities was built and reconstructed for internally displaced persons, returnees and socially endangered households, in the amount of one billion and 445 million 678 thousand dinars. 554 individual residential facilities were built for the needs of returnees, internally displaced persons and socially endangered ones, in the amount of 194 million 370 thousand dinars. 522 residential units, 29 buildings were built with provision and equipping locations for construction, in the amount of one billion 51 million 466 thousand. Help in construction material was delivered for 2.284 households, of the total value of 199 million 842 thousand dinars.
You’ll see soon, and it is very important, we reconstructed and repaired 27km of roads and streets, 8 road facilities, four landfills. Regarding the important, capital things, we believe that we will be able to open regional water supply system on St. Vid’s Day, in northern Kosovo and that you will be able to see Rajska Spa in Banjska, in Zvecan; so far, we have allocated almost 500 million dinars and hotel, and accompanying amenities, swimming pools and everything else; it is literally going to be a small paradise for all people from Serbia who live there and who want to go there and we will have to additionally allocate another 200 million for that in the course of this year.
In programs for agriculture development more than 1.300 farms were supported, with the amount of 468.519.000 dinars. Harvest realization in returnees’ communities in the amount of 183.426.000 euro in municipalities of Klina, Vučitrn, Prizren, Novo Brdo, Uroševac, Srbica and Orahovac (in Srbica, only in Banje, of course, where Serbs live; we didn’t go to Srbica, or Skenderaj, the way Albanians call it).
And just for you, to know, when they were cheating us for VAT return, those people who are not educating, and it is thieves I’ talking about, cheat the state for VAT return, and I guess that, as a toponym, Srbica seemed to them as a Serbian place, so they were submitting the forms where it was written that they registered the company and that they do they business in Serbia. Two new breweries were constructed in the territory of the Municipality of Zvečan, with funds of 42.500.000 dinars. Donation for 105 most endangered agricultural households was provided in the form of acquisition cattle – 79 heifers, 359 sheep, 22 goats, in agricultural mechanization and cattle feed. Total The issue of huge importance and the big news in Northern Mitrovica – which Albanians tried to prevent at any cost – is the “Sun Valley” returnees’ settlement at the Mali Zvečan location with the value amounting to 1.433.894.000. Some 150 families will be living there or about 1.200 to 1.500 people. I have personally visited the Sun Valley on two occasions. It looks magnificent, it looks beautiful. Strategically located between Mitrovica and Zvečan, it is planned to be the western part of Mitrovica. Anyhow, I think it will be a place where we will see the first people moving in on the Vidovdan Day (June 28th) this year.
We have been investing in the Serbian media in Kosovo and Metohija, and here are the data I referred to: a total of 59.245 students attended the schools in Kosovo and Metohija in 1999; today, we have 16.826 of which 11.482 in elementary and 5.344 in high schools. We have a total of 103 schools. All the schools, all the professors, and all the teaching activities are financed by the Republic of Serbia. I am saying this because of the lies I have been listening to even at places where I hadn’t expected it, where some holly people told me that we ceased the funding. Serbian schools in Kosovo and Metohija are funded solely by us, we are the only ones to pay for all – the teaching activities and professors, teachers – and that is our job and we shall continue to pursue that course.
Clearly, we also finance the pre-school institutions. We have 3.239 children there distributed in 108 groups. Another vital point is that aid has been allocated to the families of returnees in the total amount of 202 million and 496 thousand dinars. It is also crucial to point out that we have financed the work of public kitchens at that time in the amount of 116 million 382 thousand 990 dinars. We have also funded the working plan of the Red Cross and municipal organisations in the amount of 228 million dinars.
Aimed at population policy promotion in the reporting period, financial aid was disbursed to the families with newborns – a total of 54 million and 100 thousand dinars for 5.410 babies. We have provided these funds from the current budget reserves for 2018 and 2019 in addition to what I mentioned with respect to the budget of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija which you adopted here. So, the defunding of 19 projects on the territory of the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija totaled 2 billion and 481 million dinars. This represents the additional 20.2 million Euros.
In addition, in October 2018 we adopted the documentation for 40 projects we should fund in the amount of 2 billion and 455 million dinars. I am very grateful to the Prime Minister Ana Brnabić for the ongoing proposal for conclusion put forward by the Government where approval is lined up for funding of implementation of 233 projects. We have entered the most substantial investment phase in Kosovo and Metohija – preparation of design-technical documentation for 11 projects in the total amount of 6 billion and 683 million dinars. The assets in the amount of 11 billion would be required for implementation of all projects. It is 90 million Euros. I am telling you all this and you will see it later by yourselves, that our calculation shows – including the losses incurred by electricity issues – that our investments in Kosovo and Metohija of about 350 million Euros with all the investments included exceed 560 and 570 million Euros at the annual level.
In my opinion, we display our concern in this manner, but not only that – we also exhibit our good financial standing and financial solvency as we managed to have much more money than ever before, thus providing support to the survival and upkeeping of our people in Kosovo and Metohija.
Surely, this is not sufficient. And surely there are no such things for us as rose-coloured glasses and there are no good circumstances in Kosovo and Metohija. When I refer to “us” – I mean us who always and at all times keep in our mind that we share the destiny of our people in Kosovo and Metohija, who have not attached our future and that of our children to London, Frankfurt or New York, nor for any other place, but to Serbia and to the hope that this and such Serbia may be far more successful in the future.
Could we have prevented many of these things that resulted in the present negative consequences which we face today? Could we have prevented the formation of the border at Jarinje and Brnjak? Not easily, but our resistance could have been incomparably stronger and more serious. Much more consideration should have been invested in this, and finally – we have brought here the documentation so that you can see who signed it, and I will present such documentation to you during the debate to come as there were many lies disseminated here about that as well. However, and this is essential, I think we made a huge mistake when we assigned the entire issue of Kosovo and Metohija from the Security Council to the European Union. We have given the substance to that independence through discursive and irresponsible questions we posed to the International Court of Justice. Could we have reacted in a different manner and with more responsibility on the 17th of March 2004? Yes, we could have.
Could we have responded and acted differently back in 1998 and 1999? We could and we had to. And I am not trying to avoid my personal responsibility in this whole matter. Did we have to act in an entirely different manner, with more wisdom, more seriously and more responsibly in 2008 when the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo was declared? Yes, we had to perform much better, to do much more and in a very different way.
However, it is not my intention to turn the today’s session into a debate as to who is guilty. The loss is ours, the loss of rights of our people as well as the control over the territory which is now exercised by someone else while the territory belongs to the Republic of Serbia and that is an immense loss. And it will not be annulled or altered by a simple condemnation in view of all our policies from the previous centuries, decades and years. The time that has passed for ever shall not be reversed by any finger-pointing. What is important is that all of us here, even the ones who are absent – which is not a guilt but hypocrisy – that we finally admit what it is that happened to us and to draw the conclusions without concealing from ourselves that we were inflicted a massive national defeat in every sense of that word. We have lost a part of the controlled territories, a huge number of people, while the economic losses cannot be even summed up or counted.
We have lost the years in the course of which we kept deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit it. I was completely aware of this when we came to power seven years ago and when we faced the problem that was already “solved” by everyone else, forgotten and entirely given up by our people from here. We endeavored to grapple with it, to take it up to the surface and to get as much as we can for our people in Kosovo and Metohija, with the aim to lose the minimum of what we have to lose. My decision was not to go on with lies and self-deception. I told everyone back then and I am saying this today as well: there is no Serbia, no authorities of ours in Kosovo and Metohija, except substantially in the areas of healthcare and education. We should stop deceiving our own public and I don’t know if anyone ever wanted to hear me except from sending instead continuous insults down my way, but I kept repeating this throughout the last seven years.
I also kept repeating over and over again that we need peace, stable economy, growth across all segments and an arrangement with Albanians as the only way to provide the future. We dived into all this – this Government as well, the Government of Mrs. Brnabić – from the position of a terrible default, with over one hundred countries recognizing Kosovo, with economy tightly bound precisely to those who recognized Kosovo, with border-crossings at both Jarinje and Brnjak, with a terrible position of Serbs in Kosovo... We endeavored to do something where nobody has done anything for years except from lying to us – lying to both in fact, themselves and us, and we tried to obtain something where we lost everything.
We launched the talks with Albanians who not only want an independent Kosovo, but who want Greater Albania, with the people who think that it was them who brought the victory and not the NATO – and they can always count on NATO as they say, and above all on the United States; we talked to the people who would take everything without giving anything, we talked to the ones who enjoy an open support for such behavior from the most powerful countries in the world, and for seven years we have been through difficult, really difficult arguments; we have been negotiating with our arms and legs tied up, we have been fighting for Serbia at each and every place and today I can openly tell you that we haven’t lost anything that had not already been lost, that we haven’t traded anything that had not already been sold, and that we haven’t given away a square foot of what had not already been given. Instead, we have started returning Serbia into the game so that it can get what it can have.
What is it that we have acquired by all means? We have got peace. Let us recall, although they’ve been working in difficult times, and we have operated in even more trying times than the ones during Milošević and DOS – so let us recall that seven years later we had a war in Kosovo and NATO aggression, and upon another seven years we had the recognition of the independent Kosovo. Subsequent to all those catastrophic facts, nothing similar to that had happened to us. We preserved the peace, obtained better safety for the Serbs in Kosovo and what is of utmost importance – we managed a better and stronger Serbian economy. Such Serbian economy also generated a stronger Serbian army, Serbian police, a stronger citizen of Serbia looking forward into the future and a citizen who believes in the future to come – in his European future, but also the future of his children. And what is perhaps even more important – we managed to go on with our struggle at the table at which we found ourselves. I am aware this will be belittled by some, and I am aware there are some people who will say – you have been dealing with this for seven years and you have not finished it. Well, this is the first time we have not ended those seven years tragically. This is the first time for the last three decades that in seven years we did not end up with a complete defeat and total collapse we had already been through; it’s only that we pretended we didn’t see it and that we didn’t recognize it.
I do, however, have a question for those who keep telling things like that – and would you make it any faster by lying to people and by deceiving them? Because, it was during your seven years when Kosovo even officially acquired the independence. And for how long have you been addressing this issue? Have you been addressing it at all or have you just stuffed it in the closet waiting for someone else to come and open it and get overwhelmed by the skeletons you were hiding inside? Seven years for the problem that has been persisting for seven centuries is not much; and during those seven years we paid the lowest price in comparison to all the other historical periods we’ve been through. And we will need many times more periods of seven years to solve all the problems in Kosovo. Whoever says otherwise is telling nothing but lies. Whoever offers an instant solution thereby deceives himself and us because all of us – and that is my standpoint – both we Serbs and Albanians alike have found ourselves at a stalemate position. They expect that the independence is a finished issue, and we seek not to be humiliated, we seek to get what belongs to the Serbs and we strive to protect our people in Kosovo and Metohija.
Upon the exhaustive report and retrospective of numerous historical circumstances, the funds and the energy we invested, the dialogue in which we took part and the results attained, I shall speak further on from the view of four general aspects. And those are – politics as number one. It has been now 11 years since Kosovo independence was proclaimed. We have two options. There is no any big philosophy about it. You do not need Gurvitch, or Duguit, or Comte – it is sufficient that you take a look at the first paper and all will be clear to you. One option is normalization of relations between Serbs and Albanians, between Belgrade and Priština, while the other option is to try and preserve the status quo or the so-called frozen conflict.
That frozen conflict does not mean anything. Albanians can defrost it at any moment. When people talk and ask what plan will Vučić present – they are deceiving themselves. That is why they should pose a question instead – what is the plan of Albanians? And what is the plan of Americans? And what is the plan of Germans? And what is the plan of all the others? Because we are the smaller players than those big Western powers. Can we speak on their behalf, what are their plans? Yes, we can, but do we have the right to? Or have they – not once – unpleasantly surprised us, or shall we just say – we are stronger than all the others, we will manage this easily.
I think it is important for the people to know that a frozen conflict cannot be our solution. Albanians do not want it, they do not want it and that is why they display ever increasing nervousness day by day and that is why it’s the question of moment when they will attack Serbs. I am telling you this here, at this most important place and at this most important moment. It is a question of day and month when they will attack the Serbs because they cannot bear this anymore. We can. They cannot. We can, even if it decelerates our Euro-integrations which are so important for the economic progress of Serbia, so very important. We could manage that, but how would we manage the attack of Albanians? I will tackle that, too. Normalization may be established in two cases only: one, in the way in which the world, the international community and the Albanians see it. Achieving an agreement where Kosovo is an integrated territory, an independent state, where Serbs would be given some rights. It would be made according to some model of two Germanies, which Albanians also do not accept anymore, although Germany and France are willing to pursue this avenue. But Albanians do not want that. Americans do not want this as well, and instead they say – you have to recognize it. We say – we will not recognize it. They say – you must recognize it. We say – we will not recognize it. And so on, and so forth. And the other option, the one that we missed out, was the one of which I have talked so much and for which I have been attacked so many times, and of which many before me have talked, although under ten times more favorable circumstances.
Therefore, I shall repeat this for the fiftieth time tonight – in a tenfold more favorable situation they offered some sort of delimitation, so that we can save the healthy tissue in Kosovo and Metohija, so that we can preserve our people from further persecution, so that we can preserve whole Serbia, to economically improve it, to be able to work and live in peace in the future. I was so terribly baited for that – not only by a part of the Western public already accustomed to the view that Serbs should not get anything, but also by a part of false patriots in Serbia who handed over everything to them, who gave them and handed over everything, who gave them the independence on a plate, who haven’t even issued a release on the subject, who provided them with the decision of the International Court of Justice and who keep saying – it is little, it is too small for us.
And with what did you leave us? Except with complete bankruptcy, destroyed economy of Serbia and with the independent Kosovo, and with the paper from the International Court of Justice which ascertains that the independence was not illegally and illegitimately implemented. And now all of us Serbs should pretend to be stupid as if nothing had happened. Well, people, it did happen. Everyone in the world is telling you that it did happen. The 1999 happened, the 2004 happened, the 2008 happened, then 2010 happened. Well, it cannot be that we pretend to be ignorant of all that had happened. That idea has completely perished at this moment. I can see now that everyone in the world is all of a sudden horrified by the idea, and I have to translate this to you into our Serbian language – they are horrified by the idea that the Serbs should get anything at all, and that such standpoint was also aided by a part of Serbian politicians who falsely pleaded for the Serbian interests. Those politicians were well aware of what the West was talking about when they advocated against delimitation, they understood perfectly what they were talking about, and they were talking only about how Serbs must not get anything in Kosovo.
Protection of your people is all right, but Serbia does not have anything in Kosovo, and my answer was – in spite of all our catastrophic defeats, in spite of all that you left to us including garbage on the garbage dump, and in a deep pit we could not find the way out from for years. I have been telling them and we have been telling them, not only the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, that we seek protection of the interests of Serbia and that it is not entirely true that Serbia does not have anything in Kosovo. And that is why I was tainted by a part of the Western public, and that is why I was being attacked by them and by their agents in various ways among the regional countries and here.
A key question is posed here – what is it that we will be doing in the coming period? Shall we agree with a frozen conflict or shall we make an effort and try to find a solution? I will tell you – as long as I am the President of the Republic i.e. during the next three years, I will be giving my best if they abolish the taxes to try and find some kind of a compromising solution which will take into account not only the interests of our people, safety of our people, our churches, monasteries, but it will also have to take into account the interests of Serbia. I will strive towards some kind of a compromising solution. Why?
I will now present to you a most serious argumentation, a quantified one, so that you are clear as to what disaster is imminent, and I will be saying this for the history as I wish this to be preserved as such since I can stipulate a possibility that we do not reach a compromise at all during the course of the next five or ten years. It will be a disaster for both Serbs and Albanians, but I want to speak out and say to what extent those consequences will be catastrophic for all of us. I will present this through the economic, social and demographic spheres.
The most critical feature of the projected tendencies with respect to the population of Serbia in the following four and a half decades will be a continued depopulation. Namely, according to each of the indicated projections, the number of inhabitants will be much lower than in 2015. And I am talking about two options here. One is to achieve normalization of relations which is a better option for our demographic, economic and social circumstances, and the other one is failure to achieve any agreement with Albanians. This is a worse option. Worse out of the two I’m talking about.
The number of inhabitants in Serbia by the year 2060 may range from 3 million and 957 thousand to 5 million and 880 thousand, depending on whether we will reach the agreement or not; and you will also hear later about the quantification of the labor force and all the economic indicators. The latter option of 5 million 880 thousand is possible should we reach a compromise with Albanians, which would entail the accelerated equalization of migration balance i.e. the equal number of immigrants and emigrants. At the same time, this would mean a drastic strengthening of Serbian economy which implies a lower mortality rate and an increased fertility rate – still insufficient, but albeit drastically higher – from 1,46 to 1,85 in the coming period. This implies that with achievement of the maximum option – to reach a compromise which is good and where Serbia would protect its interests – Serbia, not Serbs – so where Serbia would protect its interests in Kosovo and Metohija and where it would get something, then it would mean that we would lose a bit over one million of people by the year 2060, i.e. 1 million and 215 thousand or 17%.
Should we fail to accomplish this – and I will not go through all the data tables here – the decrease of population would reach 3 million and 137 thousand people or 44% in comparison to 2015. This was calculated by the Kohort quantum method and we have considered both scenarios; it is of utmost importance to reach a compromise in the course of the period between 2025 and 2030 irrespective of the madhouse that exists in the European union nowadays – and I’m saying this metaphorically – and this has to remain our strategic objective, especially after the yesterday’s results. Therefore, should we manage to access the European Union in the period between 2025 and 2030, this would significantly increase our chances to reach this minimum or the least bad solution. Any other option would lead to a difficult situation for us. By mid 2030ies, there will be an equal number of emigrants and immigrants – a zero migration balance – and in only two years we will start importing the labor force from other countries especially for manual labor, for the works currently performed by the people with lower and medium professional qualifications.
We will face problems here with Moldova or Ukraine – while some other countries had more luck in this respect such as Bulgaria and Romania – and we will have to open our borders for the regional countries to receive and accept their working force as we will not have the sufficient labor power ourselves. I also wish to point out that for the last two and a half decades of the projected 2035-2060 period, a permanently positive and increasing migration balance has been assumed. We thus expect to have 200 thousand people more moving into our country than the ones leaving it during this period. Let us be honest – this is not merely the result of a positive policy, but also the result of the fact that our population keeps growing older, and an older population has less of the risk-taking genes and it strives less towards the dangers of the unknown and of leaving abroad.
As for the birth-rate hypothesis, I already said – from 1,46 to 1,85. As for the hypothesis with respect to the expected changes in the death-rate, we shall manage to attain higher longevity through extremely high investments into our healthcare system, but that will also increase our needs for pensions and here I am reiterating the additional investments into labor force so that our pension system could become sustainable at all. As you can see, a large number of the European Union countries nowadays faces significant problems regarding this issue.
As for the workforce, we will face problems irrespective of the exceptional achievements in the field of reforms. However, if we would strive towards a compromising solution – should that be possible – we can predict growing activity rates per age and gender groups, and considering the current very low activity rate according to the data for the year 2015 which we took for comparison, we stand much better today. The labor force participation rate for the population between 15 and 64 years of age was 63.6% which falls much behind the European average – 72.4%.
It is assumed that by the year 2030 we will reach the average activity rates that exist in the European Union, and this means that we may attain some 68.6% by 2030 and some 71% by 2060 of the total population activity rate for the age range 15-64. Based on the assumed rates i.e. the projected ratio between the population and the labor force, it is very important for me to say how significant it is to reach some agreement with Albanians, and I am telling you all this and I will repeat it again at the end – not because any solution exists as there is no even a dialogue, there is nothing at all – but I am telling all this to the Serbian public so that the public can understand the importance of an agreement. Because, an agreement and a compromise are not a defeat. An agreement and a compromise represent a victory.
Should we fail to accept this, we will lose all. And let me tell this directly to the ones who falsely present themselves as grand patriots and protectors of Serbian interests: contrary to them, my children and I will stay here and we will preserve and defend Serbia if anybody attacks it, contrary to them who have already sheltered their own across the foreign countries, who stuffed millions into bags and purses and who do not give a dime to think about the future of Serbia. In 64 years, we would fall down to 50.5% if we fail to reach any agreement with Albanians, and we would also have negative population growth by 2 million 693 thousand people. It is not bearable for Serbia. For Serbia, it is something it wouldn’t be able to survive.
It is very important for us to try to comprehend the investment scenarios as well as the social ones. If we manage to accomplish this by 2060, the actual living standard of the citizens of Serbia – according to these projections – would be by 72% higher than the current one. If we fail to accomplish this, the rise would be anywhere between 29% to 30%. Accordingly, this is one optimistic and one conservative scenario. The conservative scenario would be so deficient, that a question would be in order as to whether we anticipated well, whether all our assumptions on emigrational tendencies were entirely correct.
It is vital to say here today that if we would seek to achieve a sustainable macroeconomic stability, we would have to decrease the average pensions and total costs for pensions, as there is nobody to sustain such amounts. And this would be likely to happen in 20 or 25 years already, and not in 35 or 40.
Serious countries and serious people strive to conceive their future in this manner. That would lead to a complete social unsustainability of our public finances, to generation of social overload of the public finances and to a significant increase in rates and both relative and absolute impoverishment.
I think it is crucial to point out that many of us enjoy in the process of not solving the problems and in awaiting of changes in the global circumstances, although even we are not entirely aware of how it relates to us. According to all researches, we would mostly prefer to leave the things as they are. We do not have any guarantees for that and that is not possible, and anyone who pleads for this is simply not telling the truth to our people.
I know it is more dear to your hearts, but it is untrue and I will repeat this for the third time tonight – if we do not reach a compromising solution, then just wait for the Albanian attack against Serbs. And this will happen as they’re losing their nerves, they are more and more nervous because of the Tribunal and that is why they are forming now a tribunal for Serbs and that is why they do what they do.
Do not forget that more often than not we thought the same about the Republic of Serbian Krajina, not much differently and, with a different scenario though, about Montenegro. There is no Krajina today. Montenegro proclaimed independence and the position of Serbs in Montenegro can hardly be satisfactory for any of our people.
We are facing two huge problems here.
Determination of the West i.e. of the Western powers who recognized Kosovo, is that Serbs should accept and recognize Albanian independence in Kosovo, and they are resolute to pursue this until completion at any cost and by all means.
The other problem we are facing are the unlawful actions of Albanians which thus generate a new reality and which they try to present as a new normal. The taxes they introduced represent an anti-civilization act, they are entirely unlawful. Have you noticed that neither „The Economist“ nor „The Financial Times“ write about it, nobody does. It is almost a unique case in the world. Although, it is becoming fashionable in the world nowadays even among some big world powers, but they do not have such strict contracts like we do, they do not breach the contracts but rather bring their political decisions and so they bar the People’s Republic of China which prevailed over the global market of various goods, they halt China by protectionist measures, but then – it is their politics, a big, high politics, too far away from us. However, they do not react to this which is more than obvious.
Serbia has friends among the countries which recognized the independence of Kosovo, and in particular among the ones who did not. They do have their own interests, naturally. All the countries which did not recognize the independence of Kosovo have their interests. I am grateful – and I will use this opportunity again – to the Russian Federation and – to be honest – I am grateful to its President Mr. Vladimir Putin because he is the one who helped Serbia multiple times in rendering or not-rendering of certain resolutions, he is the one who helped with his talks to many other countries with respect to de-recognition of Kosovo independence.
I am grateful to the People’s Republic of China, I am grateful for their immense support to our economic development, I am grateful to the President Xi Jinping for his help in solving the problem of “Steel Mill”, in solving the problem of the Bor mines, I am grateful because Chinese tourists besides the tourists from Turkey remain the most numerous tourists in Serbia, I am grateful because they build new factories in Zrenjanin, Loznica, Niš, Leskovac and across many other cities.
I am also grateful to all of our friends in other Asian, numerous African, South American, and countries of Oceania who did not recognize the independence of Kosovo. I am grateful to India as a great power, very grateful indeed. I also congratulate Narendra Modi, and I would also like to discuss the region.
In the previous period, we faced situations like in a pre-arranged match and that is how it looked like in Berlin where everyone was speaking against Serbia. We didn’t do anything, we did not make a single move to infuriate Montenegro, and I must say that Montenegro maintained a duly stance towards Serbia in Berlin.
I was shocked and appalled by the outburst of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and I reacted – I reacted rather sharply and I put such sequence of events and such discourse of Bosnia and Herzegovina to an end and it was not pleasant at all. This in particular because it was rather a strange reaction of Bosnia and Herzegovina as it is not the official standing of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And precisely because of that I was even more stunned by the attempts in the Raška region or in Sanjak – call it as you like – of some politicians who would like to cause some sort of instability. I want to tell both – Bosniaks and Serbs alike – that they do not need to worry as there will be no instability whatsoever.
Do you see what you are doing against your own Bosniak people when you say – we will seek special status, and then call for leaving of the army and the police. Wait – you have 3 municipalities where you make the majority. And what will you do with the 63 municipalities where Serbs make the majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And it is you who initiated this issue, not us. Let me repeat this – if I initiated this, they would hang me in Brussels in the same manner in which they stay silent about Thaçi, Rama, Haradinaj, Veselli, and about all the others who engage in creation of Greater Albania on daily basis. In the same way they are silent about this as well.
I wish to tell the people and citizens of Serbia that the reason I am silent and the reason we mostly stay silent and the reason why we do not react is that there is no danger in all that. It is about one or two irresponsible politicians with about one hundred or several hundred followers and nothing more and nothing other than that. They cannot jeopardize anything, and you know how careful I am and how pessimistic rather than optimistic I am. I am telling you right now – there is nothing they can do whatsoever, and therefore – Bosniaks and Serbs – be at peace, you will all live nicely and well in Serbia. A highway will soon reach Duga Poljana between Sjenica and Novi Pazar. We are also working on the road connecting Novi Pazar and Tutin, we are working on the regional water supply pipeline and therefore – do not worry yourselves.
We will have to invest additional efforts aimed at betterment of relations with Northern Macedonia and Croatia. It goes very difficult with the Republic of Croatia, and please Mr. Šešelj, hold your comments as I’ve heard them many times, but we will have to invest additional efforts along this way.
I want that as it is our task to display a good will and it is our task to do all we can on our part.
Let me try to summarize what we were talking about today. So, we should wait in the first stage and see if the Europeans or Americans will persuade the Albanians to abolish the taxes. There will be no substantial continuation of talks if the taxes are not abolished. Period.
If they abolish the taxes, we will talk and seek to find a compromising solution. If there is such a solution, and I am skeptical in that respect, we will come before the Parliament and before the people and citizens of Serbia and ask them to have their say. And contrary to some other countries and the EU member and non-member states, such a decision of the people shall be binding for us. And it will not be like – the referendum failed, but who cares about the referendum if the political elites brought their own decision.
Here it will be as the people decide and as the people say. We will ask the people, and the people will have their say.
If none of this happens and in the worst scenario case of which I have already talked, and if Albanians attack our people in Kosovo and Metohija as I said in Kosovska Mitrovica and as I said once again here today, no matter how difficult it is – and it is difficult because we have the NATO in Kosovo and Metohija – we will not allow persecution and slaughter of the Serbian people. We had enough “storms” and “flashes”, many disasters and we will not allow such disasters to happen to the Serbian people ever again.
I wish to inform you that we have communicated this to the highest international representatives, that General Mojsilović informed the NATO commander about it and that this is one of the small reasons that persecution and pogrom of the Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija have not happened.
Perhaps we could have preserved something more if it crossed someone’s mind ten and twelve years ago that we should actually have the army and the police.
I wish to devote a few sentences to the view where anyone who would attempt to present an agreement and compromise as a solution should be declared as a traitor in our country.
I’ve heard about it more than enough, I’ve heard only too often that the best of the Serbs were smeared as traitors as of the Kosovo Polje battle or right before the Battle of Kosovo until the present days. Those have always been the words of the worst among the Serbs who were using the worst of labelling and the worst of insults without ever taking into consideration who was doing what and what results were achieved. And that is why I always asked the review of the results and what will be left behind us.
And here is a question for all of them: is there nowadays such a hero, such an Obilić-like, such an avenger of Kosovo who will in a single act and effortlessly – as they say – return under our auspices the holy land of Kosovo, and where is such a person if any? Contrary to you, Mr. Šešelj, I am a very serious person. And do show me among all the bishops, poets, intellectuals and politicians, show me such a heroic person and trust me – I will step away and let him finish that sacred piece of work as I am not capable. I will admit I was a traitor and that I sold the most expensive word – Kosovo. If not, I will not permit anyone to say that as I know how much I fight and how valuable are the people we work together with, and we fight together for Kosovo and Metohija and for Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija.
But before all this, I want them to show me what exactly they managed to preserve so far with their big words and beating of national breast and shouting of slogans. I want them to show me how their fiery patriotism preserved a single Serb in Peć, in Prizren, in Uroševac or in Đakovica, not to mention the territory under our control.
How many of them returned to Kosovo and why – as Tijanić used to say – all the Serbs would give their lives for Kosovo and who among them wants to go and live there? How many of the likes of Thaçi, Haradinaj and Veseli did they make run? And finally, why are they saying of this while sitting in Belgrade cafe, why don’t they stand behind their words in Kosovo instead?
Why don’t they go to Priština to organize protests against Kosovo independence or at least an evening of poetry, a collective prayer, but to have Thaçi to attend it, to repent and to tell them they were right? Why do they moan and whine and why do they always offer to trade their expensive words for someone else’s lives at the lowest cost possible, and usually free of charge? We had enough of that. Serbia cannot endure such quantity of lies and hypocrisy, it cannot go forward while suffocating in an imagined past and poor present. We do not have room for self-deception, for fairytales, slogans or false motives and false idols. But we also to not have time for the ones who would give away everything, who would like to impoverish Serbia, and to leave the Serbian people devoid of their essence and of their spiritual existence.
The big heroes are free to anathemise me, but I will not step away from the truth, and all I told before you today is an absolute truth. I will not tell lies as I did not get a mandate for that from anyone. If I want something and if I came here just like I attended the Serbian Church Synod upon the invitation of the Serbian Patriarch – it was to tell the truth, the truth that will empower us to rid ourselves from the ballast of lies, which will further on enable us to see precisely where we are and what happened to us and what and how much we can do about it.
When we speak about Kosovo, our first lesson should be to learn how to free ourselves from all our defeats by taking a grasp of those defeats: first by grasping the reasons causing them, then by facing those defeats and then by understanding that on that very same Kosovo we could and we will win and that Serbia can and must win, as in the most difficult of all defeats the seed of victory is generated in our comprehension of the losses we suffered.
What I want to tell you and let me repeat it – all the ones that keep iterating over their own heroism underlined by labelling traitors and throwing accusations of alleged insufficient protection of the Serbian people, all the ones who labelled and accused the better ones, the more valuable ones and more often than not the wiser ones than themselves – are the very same ones who have never protected the Serbian people anywhere, not even by elevating their own reputation within the own nation, let alone in the international community.
They are not in any way entitled to talk about that and that is why I never feel ashamed when such likes – the worst among us – use such labels and expressions. What matters to me is what will be left behind us and whether we will leave any future for our children. That is why I kept fighting for this, that is why I am proud of this report and of all of you who understand the truth and who understand that we must fight and that there is a long battle standing ahead of us.
I will finish with a quote of a great Serbian writer Borislav Pekić. The great Bora Pekić said – one should look forward because if the point was in looking backwards, we would have got the eyes on the back of the head. We should cherish the land of our children and not the land of our forefathers, as the honor will not depend on where we came from – but on where we are heading to.
Long live Serbia!