11.09.2018

Speech of President of the Republic of Serbia in Kosovska Mitrovica 09.09.2018.

"Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, dear Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija,

 Before I read what I have been writing for weeks, I want to apologize to the citizens, Serbs from Metohija, who were not able to come to attend today’s gathering, because some other people blocked all roads, set tires and woods on fire, went on a bender, fired from their arms and weaponry, I guess with the intention to scare Serbs ones again; those who only live in their thresholds and who have never taken away anything from anyone. 

I want to apologize to the villagers from Banje, for waiting for me today, for preparing a magnificent welcoming ceremony and to tell them that this was not the last time I had wanted to, but next time I will come to Banje; and I am endlessly grateful for the magnificent welcoming ceremony and their love for Serbia. 

And, dear friends, do not think that what happened today will come to a unanimous condemnation of those who had had participated in creation of, how they call it, “Kosovo state”. No, it will not. No matter what they do, it’s their baby. 

Once again, we will be equally guilty, I suppose for not having enough water to put down the fires they had started. And it is always like that. That’s why our job is to keep fighting, to change Serbia’s reputation worldwide, to change the image, not only about ourselves, but also to change the angle from which they observe things here in the Balkans. 

And we have to invest a lot of energy into that. And, dear friends, thank you for coming in such a huge number here to Kosovska Mitrovica, to hear your President, despite of numerous campaigns against it- Albanian, and often Serbian ones. But, much more than that, thank you for safeguarding and defending Serbian existence in Kosovo and Metohija; thank you for not giving up; thank you for looking towards the future. Our, Serbian future and future of Serbia; but also towards the necessity of our life together with Albanians, because without that, there would be no and there will be no our tomorrows. 

I have come to Kosovo and Metohija, especially here to Kosovska Mitrovica, many times. I have almost always chosen moments when for you, who live here, it was not easy, or it was anyway much harder than for us in Belgrade, Kragujevac, Niš and Novi Sad.

And I don’t know whether it had been more difficult in ’98,’99, 2000, 2004, 2008 or today, but I have always believed that it was my duty to show a little, as much as I could, that I was with you and that I understood the difficulty and bitterness you experience every day. Today I have bigger responsibility than before. 

As the President of the Republic I got the biggest confidence precisely from our people here, in Kosovo and Metohija. It obliges me more than anyone else to fight for all of you, for the entire Serbia, each Serb who lives here. 

I've come to Kosovo, and in previous two days I was listening to our people. The truth about their difficult lives, uncertainty that's killing them and faith that their and our Serbia will help them. It is my obligation to say, my dear friend, that for better or for worse, we'll always stand by you, we’ll always stand by our Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija.

But, I've come to talk to you openly and tell you the truth about our difficult position. And in the only way the truth can be told. Eye to eye. Face to face. 

And I don't know how much you will listen to me; I don't know how much Serbia will listen to me, but I neither can nor I may, and even less I dare to lie, to avoid the responsibility, and to pretend to be inept, uninformed or crazy, like we it that countless of times in the past. 

People have given me their trust, and it is my mandate to do exactly what was envisaged by the great bishop Nikolaj Velimirović, who had said: “If I am supposed to defend myself, I'll stay silent. If I'm supposed to defend the truth, I'll speak.” 

Therefore, I’ll start from the most difficult part. From everything we believed in, everything we dreamed of, from the great illusion we had about ourselves and about the others; illusion that we were the superior ones, the numerous ones and almost eternal ones. That the others are weaker, more stupid and more incompetent. 

And almost thirty years ago, not far from here, hundreds of thousands of people- and Slobodan Milošević was big enough at the time to gather them in those numbers, in Gazimestan-welcomed the end of his speech; famous, for some infamous one, depending on who interprets it or why. And do you remember how they did it?

They were singing, our people were singing. Like a choir, all those hundreds of thousands; they were singing with a belief and conviction; people carried away and proud were singing the famous song: “Who’s saying, who’s lying that Serbia is small?” 

Three wars are mentioned in that song of ours. And then we had more than three. Not by our own, but not exclusively by somebody else’s fault. Officially or unofficially, we were helping our people and brothers; Serbs were dying, for Knin, for Sarajevo, for Priština. 

Today, the checkerboard coat of arms, which had never been there, is flying in Knin; and in Sarajevo, the number of Serbs is fifty times smaller than the one that used be; and there are only a few Serbs in Priština, not counting Gračanica, the Municipality of Gračanica, Not a few thousand, but a few people. 

We are not any longer either in Kosovo Polje, where many things had started. And not because Croats, Muslims or Albanians were stronger and braver than us, but because we did not understand the position of Serbia and the world; because we did not realize that we are not alone in the world and that one cannot exist without the world. 

Because we underestimated everybody else and because we were not able to calculate. We neither managed to, nor did we know how. Because we always saw and listened to ourselves, we did not care for others. We were not even in collusion with the reality. 

Miloševic was a great Serbian leader; his intentions were certainly the best ones, but our results were much worse. Not because he, or anyone else, had wanted it so, but because our wishes were not realistic, and we neglected and underestimated strivings of other nations. And therefore, we paid the highest and the most difficult price. 

And, meanwhile we did not become bigger. Or, to put it in a better way, we did not become bigger in a way some had imagined. Today, without a drop of blood, anybody’s blood, we have become bigger. 

Because today after many years, Serbia is working, and not fighting anyone. Because it invests into life, and it does not waste it around. Because our children are growing, we are not burying them after the bombardment. Because we rely on knowledge, work and not on rifles. Because we no longer have eyes on our back, like the great Bora Pekić had said and we kiss the land of our children and not the one of our ancestors and our honor is not where we come from, but it is there we are going to and where we will arrive. Because today we have our place in the world. Each day we are more reputable and more respected. Both in Brussels, Beijing, Berlin, Paris and Washington. And of course in Moscow. And I want to thank our friends from Russia, who stood politically by Serbia when no one else did. 

And precisely because of that, because of our more responsible politics, we can clearly chose our path towards the future, to Europe, but we may and we can, say loud and clear, without fear, that we do not want to join NATO, because we want to jealously preserve our military neutrality, but also a memory of sufferings of our people in 1999. 

Finally because, and mostly because of that, we tell the truth, both about what we want and likewise about what we by no means never will do. 

That very truth is not always convenient or sweet for one’s ears. 

I suppose that’s why we did not want to hear it for such a long time. Those who would have only mentioned it would pay a serious price for doing so. 

The late Aleksandar Tijanić, who was once declared a traitor by many when he had reminded us, back in 2003, here from Podujevo that we had been saying how we had lived for Kosovo, whereby nobody actually had wanted to live in Kosovo. You are the only ones who are not confirming his rule, while hundreds of thousands have confirmed it so far. 

And he also reminded us that during the ten-year Milošević’s reign, only a bit more than thousand families returned to Kosovo. And hundreds of thousands had left Kosovo for good, though they do not want to admit that even to themselves. 

That is the truth. Just like it’s a truth that those, yelling today how Albanians should be expelled through Prokletije, those who call for a new battle from cafes in Belgrade, but without their own children, since they had sent them far away long time ago; those who threaten with anathema regarding any thought of an agreement; well, those will not come here to you. 

You’ll notice how loud their silence is, also when they should speak about today’s borders of Serbia, precisely because they are working for the interest of some other countries, and not of their own. They will live in wealth, sitting comfortably in their chairs, they’ll criticize and spit a bit on all those who’d say and do something serious, but they will not tie their future to Kosovo. You, my dear friends, distinguished Serbs, have done so and you will do so, and you did tie your future to Kosovo and Metohija. 

Those people will not stand by you, they will not look you in the eye and they will not confess that there, not far from here, in Priština, Serbs are not in power. 

There is one Hashim Thaçi, and some Haradinaj. And who knows how many of them. And that Thaçi is Albanian, he’s not a Serb. And he doesn’t like me, naturally, neither I like him, but if Stefan Nemanja, the founding father of the Serbian state, could stand before Manuel Komnenos, with a noose around his neck, barehanded, for the sake of Serbia, I can, must and will, and without the noose, for the sake of the same Serbia, stand before Thaçi, and Mogherini, and Merkel, and Macron and Putin. As you can see I dare and I can. And I am fighting and I will fight for our Serbia and for our Serbian people. 

For the sake of this country, dear friends, I suppose I can say to everybody at least that they will not humiliate us and that compromise is when everybody gets something and nobody gets everything. 

And I can, and I’m doing so, and I will; thousands of times if it’s necessary, no matter what the price is, even if the price is an overall hatred meant for me; and even if they call me names- whether it’s traitor, great-Serbian chauvinist; even if they shoot me tomorrow, because unlike them, I can tell the difference between a saloon and a true patriotism. And I know that the real patriotism and love for a country is when you are ready to sacrifice everything, even your own presence, for the sake of the future of your country and its children. 

This is the price we are ready to pay, always and anywhere, even here in front of you. Because for me there are only two things that I certainly will never do. I will not work against my country and I will not lie to my people and my country. 

My job is not about myths, dreams, illusions, nor insane visions of Kosovo without Albanians, or Kosovo without Serbs. 

My job is reality. Things that exist now and here in this Kosovo and in this Serbia, and not in the one of heaven. We fell from that heaven so many times. We fell and hurt ourselves severely. Our heads are bloody, arms are broken and I have no one more to send up there, in heaven, precisely because the fall, for all of us, was a pure luck. People usually do not come back from heaven. They stay up there, never to be seen again, gone forever from Serbia. All those we need so badly today are gone -needed so we could grow, build, and develop, so that there are enough of us to survive. 

And there are not so many of us, my friends, that’s the reality. There are not so many of us in the entire Serbia, or here in Kosovo and Metohija, we are not having enough babies and too many of us die; we abandon cities, villages, just like so many people had started to leave Kosovo and Metohija by the end of the sixties. 

You, the strongest and the bravest ones have stayed. Do not forget that in 1991, speaking in percentage, there were three times more of us than today, in Kosovo and Metohija. Three times more, less than thirty years ago. 

That is why I am speaking about the reality. That is why I do not sing war songs, I do not want to give inflammatory speeches; I will not promise you weapons and ammunition, even though it is clear –and I promise you this-that we will not allow anyone to use weapons and ammunition against us. I said that five times and I’m repeating it today at this magnificent gathering. 

And I’m saying all this because we want you alive. We want Serbian children, schools for them, books, kindergartens. I want you to have enough work to do so that you would want those children. I want maternity wards, playgrounds, roads, factories, and finally, I want you to have a reason to stay here. 

Not up there in heaven, but here in Kosovo and Metohija. And, speaking about heaven- well, let’s get developed sufficiently; let’s progress so that we can send satellites up there, not people, not you.

You are people, and people are meant to be on their land. To walk on it. To work on it. To be born on it. To be safe, protected, employed. And there is no stronger commitment for me, nor holier duty than to provide all that to you. Life on your land. Job on your land. Safety on your land. 

And everything we do, we do it for that purpose. Everything we ask for is that. Because that is the measure that prevents from humiliation of people and the nation. Humiliation of the country and every person in it. 

And, again, we have nowhere to go; and we must find, in all aspects, precisely that measure of peace, dignity and safety, without which a person simply cannot be a person. 

Because when they tell you how I want to change borders- they’re not telling the truth, because where are the borders today, where are they, does anybody know where they are? We think one thing, the Albanians, bigger in numbers and stronger in Kosovo, think differently. One part of the world thinks one thing, the other thinks other. Actually, I want to change your rights and I want us to do everything we can, to preserve everything we can in Kosovo and Metohija, because our situation is not the same like the situation thirty, fifty or sixty years ago. I want us to gain for you all those rights you are entitled to, and which are the part of what is called the civilized world. 

And I want you to have the right to life; and your right to work; and your right to freedom. Safety. Movement, studying, medical treatments. 

And if for the sake of all those rights we must make compromises- both we and Albanians, because there would be no peace without that, I’ll always do so. Just do not call it the wrong name. 

Do not listen to laments about breaking the Serbian unity, because it had been broken more than six centuries ago. And let these in Belgrade not scare people with wars, because no one is willing to wage a war. You in Belgrade certainly are not.

Your children are settled between London and New York, far from Serbia, as well as far from Gračanica and Mitrovica. Do nor cry over loss of Kosovo, because not only you had not had it, but also many of you have never been in it. Do not say how you will not give it, when you gave it a long time ago, even when nobody had asked it from you. Do not prevent us from taking something- you who openly offer, or who have already given everything. 

And let me tell you right away, for those who’ve been repeating for days, weeks and months a lie that someone got ready and someone must recognize the independence of Kosovo by the New Year; here, in front all of you, I’m telling you that it is a notorious lie and that it does not occur to any of us to be a part of that. The only thing we want is to ensure more rights for you and to create a compromise solution. 

And usually, just like great bishop Nikolaj had said, I do not respond to such words, because you are smart people, but people with a big heart and you know how to give a good look in one’s eye and you know who you can trust and who you cannot trust. And therefore I’m proud because you gave me 80% of your votes. And therefore I know how to safeguard your trust, to defend it and protect it. 

When we Serbs win, we do that sometimes with pride and with respect for the defeated ones, but when we lose and when we and our politics are defeated, we cannot even admit that, nor understand what has changed. 

Serbia fought honorably and bravely against NATO in ’99, protecting itself. And we lost. They were much stronger, richer, much bigger cowards and they could drop many bombs from the sky on our people. And we lost, just like we had lost 610 years earlier. We were left without significant territories; Serbs abandoned many of their thresholds not wanting to live under the Albanian authority. 

When you lose a war, you pay a price for it. A high one; the highest. And we, Serbs, even today pretend as if nothing had happened. We pretend that it was not us, with our own stupidities and under the pressure of the western world, who participated in proving our own guilt also for the conflict in Kosovo and Metohija. 

Did we, or someone else, brothers and sisters, hand over the former President of Serbia, among other things because of our so-called criminal politics in Kosovo and Metohija; did we, or someone else, hand over our army and police generals to the Tribunal in the Hague- Ojdanić, Vladimir Lazarević, Nebojša Pavković and Sreten Lukić? Did we, or did we not?

The worst of all is that all those who had done that would still preach us today and teach us patriotic lessons. We pretend that nothing had also happened when in 2008, to be honest, thanks to our incompetence, the independence of Kosovo was declared, and which was recognized by about hundred countries. 

It also happened that in 2009 we expelled ourselves from the only format in which we had any chances, from the United Nations and just because some thought that in that way they would secure their own survival in power. Do you, Serbs, think that we can avoid paying the price and that today we can simply say: “Well the deal is off.” for the shameful request that we had sent to the International Court of Justice for assessing the legality of Kosovo independence declaration? We received the worst possible response for Serbia and for you here in Kosovo and Metohija, because we had the most arrogant and the most irresponsible ministers and those in power in modern history. That is what the high price is paid for. 

Do you think that the border, which we put ourselves with customs points, not far from here in Jarinje and Brnjak, dividing Serbs and Serbs, can be easily removed? There is no easy removal of crossing points. Nowhere and never. Under such conditions, can we get a solution which is not humiliating for us and what are our goals and guidelines for acting in coming months and years? 

Do we want a deal with the Albanians or the continuation of agony in which we, by all means, lose everything? It is only a matter of time, in a year, five or ten. And do we have any chances here in Kosovo without such a deal with the Albanians? Do Serbs south of river Ibar have it, even if the Serbs in the north have passable chances? 

How fearful were you, my dear Serbs from Metohija, Lipljan, Štrpce, even today while passing through numerous Albanian settlements on your way to Mitrovica? I don’t even dare to ask you from Kosovsko pomoravlje. How many times a day you ask yourselves whether your children are safe on their way to school or to the market? Will your elderly ones be attacked just for pronouncing a word in the wrong language? Precisely because of that, as the President of Serbia, I did not want to put my head in the sand like an ostrich; I wanted to fight for you and for the future of yours and our children. 

Do we have any draft solutions in Brussels, since the entire world is loud about that, everybody in Serbia, who has never participated and who have no idea about that? Here, in front of you in the most open and the most responsible way I’m telling you - we don’t have any draft solutions; we are not even close to it. But, for the first time, it seems to me that we know well that we must talk and at least try to resolve our relations. 

And I’m not optimistic about that. And I know that there are thousands of those who are only waiting to say:” Oh, he went down there.” And that “down there” for them means Kosovo. For me, Kosovo and Metohija are not down, they are up, they are above everything, they are important and the most important for each Serb. 

And they’ll say: “He said nothing new.” Like it is even possible to say anything new about Kosovo. Like all those stories had not been told long time ago. But, the new thing is that I do not want to swear at Albanians here, not even at those who threatened me today, and who threatened our people south of the river Ibar, those who created their state by beating Serbs and who are turning a blind eye even today to all this that was happening; I want to see how we can create better tomorrow by deeds for the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. 

First of all, we must change ourselves. To preserve our language and culture everywhere where Serbs live. Even in the most difficult moments, when they were losing everything- and we are not losing everything- Germans survived on Goethe, Schiller, the Grimm brothers, on the strength of their culture and spirituality. 

We, Serbs, have both the language and the alphabet; we have the science, and Tesla, Pupin, Andrić, Selimović, Pekić, Ćosić. We have Vladeta Jerotić who back in 1987 asked: “Do we Serbs even think that it was our fault and incomprehension at least in something?” Do we ask ourselves how come that Albanians, once, almost all spoke Serbian, while we despitefully rejected the possibility of speaking Albanian? 

Today, Albanians- fortunately for us and unfortunately for them- behave in a way Serbs used to, because arrogance allows them to be less interested in Serbian language. That’s why, in some areas, they are constantly less successful. We manage to learn that lesson better and that’s why we become continuously more successful. 

And what is actually mine and our idea for tomorrow? For the tomorrow of Serbia and the Serbs? The idea is to preserve our people. To preserve our country, our institutions; the idea is to preserve peace and at least try to build the bridges of trust towards the Albanians, to strive towards the agreement even when we know that it is almost impossible, because everything else takes us to the abyss and the disaster. 

I want and I wish to believe that after centuries of wars and conflicts we can have centuries of decent, rational and in about fifty years- why not- also friendly relations with the Albanians. 

That’s why I’m grateful to all those in Europe and worldwide who do understand the difficulty of our relations and who realize the importance of our talks. Today, we want to be a part of Europe, Albanians want to get visa liberalization; we both want better lives for our citizens. There is no shortcut to that better life- neither for them, nor for us- over the graves of the other ones. 

We must and we will have to live together and next to each other. And that’s why we will talk and negotiate, to the exhaustion if necessary. And precisely because of that I came to Kosovo to tell you that someone, sometime in the future, will have to reach a compromise with the Albanians. 

Stories about how under different circumstances we will retaliate- and that moment is about to come- are fairytales for children; already told and with tragic ending. Just like Albanian stories how they will finish with Serbs, or that the Serbs will disappear themselves. Serbs will not leave their thresholds. The hard nut is fruit that. 

And there will be neither easy nor simple solutions. Neither for them, nor for us. But, there will be life; there will be more children both theirs and ours, who will wish to stay here, and not to take the first train to Switzerland, Austria and Germany at the dawn of their eighteenth birthday. So, the solution is not in sight, but I pray to God for one at least in the next ten or twenty years. Everything else would mean the end of our existence in Kosovo and Metohia. 

I’ve come to tell you what we will concretely do and what I brought to our people in Kosovo and Metohija. We came with a comprehensive investment plan for ten Serbian municipalities, all ten. All four north-Kosovo municipalities: Zvečan, Leposavić, Zubin Potok and Kosovska Mitrovica. But also for Novo Brdo, Gračanica, Ranilug, Parteš, Klokot, Štrpce…for each place where Serbs are majority, but also for all Serbs, where they live, and where they are in a huge minority.

We passed a solution how to improve economy and living standards of our people. We will invest hundreds, and not dozens, millions of euro into our hospitals, our Trepča. I saw our miners, from Leposavić to Kosovska Mitrovica, and thank you for being here with us. The State of Serbia allocated 13 million euro for Trepča. 

Our hospital, our Clinical Center here in Mitrovica will be the pride of every Serb. We’ll invest 10 million euro, 2 million euro in Gračanica. In Štrpce we’ll move on with new kindergartens, we’ll move on with new water supply system for all three north-Kosovo municipalities. We must build many roads and everything else that our people from Kamenica to Ranilug, from Novo Brdo to Budrige, Klokot, Pasjan, Parteš, anywhere, need. We must visit every village in Metohija, to help people start their private businesses. And no one can forbid us to do that; no one from that world who’d wish that Serbia is gone from here; and they do not care that much about Serbs, although they’d always say that they are very worried. 

After decades of going down, Serbia has started to grow economically stronger, Serbian economy is the fastest growing one in the Balkans, this year, we have far the biggest number of foreign investment than everybody else together, Serbia’s public debt is dramatically falling. For the third year in a row we have surplus in our budget. We are ready to help you who live in Kosovo and Metohija more than ever.  Serbia annually allocates even 71 million euro, not only for the salaries, but for the Kosovo bonus alone, for those employed in public sector, education, social institutions in Kosovo and Metohija. 

We are ready to significantly increase that amount, because we want to encourage all of you to stay and survive on your thresholds with the help and support of your Serbia. We are ready to increase investment. When I speak about that, these things that I’m saying are not on a long stick.  I’m talking about something that will happen in coming days, not years. So, in coming days and weeks, you’ll receive all decisions I’m talking about ad you’ll get all the money for the investment we talked about here yesterday and today. I think this is, maybe, the most important thing for our people. 

And there are no mythical borders. I want ones within which live people who have rights belonging to them. I want the ones because of which no one will be humiliated, and certainly not Serbia.

And when I say that we want agreement, we want compromise, not a dictation. We want to hear everything, but we also want to be heard. Finally and first of all, I want you to live here and to make it yours. 

But, of course, I am not ready to deceive you, like many did. 

Road to that goal is neither easy nor a quick one. And we will have to give up on many things, to sacrifice many things; we’ll have to work a lot to reach that goal. 

And a lot of water will run through Ibar and Sitnica, so that we would be able to reach any agreement. And I want you to know that there is something I’m asking from you. Even you have already taken everything, lost and sacrificed many things. For Serbia and for us. 

We need you, entire our Serbia needs you. All of us, selfish ones, need you; asking you – the most endangered ones- to stay on your thresholds and ask from us everything that is realistic and everything that is possible, and everything we can do. To help you in any way we can, to travel together to the future, and thereby secure survival for you on the thresholds that have been yours for centuries. 

And that path which is in front of us is a path forward, towards the future of your children. We have politically subordinated our present to that, and we will subordinate every next day of ours to that. 

And I’m convinced - once all this is over, if I get convicted by some, cursed, once the bonfires are down, that at least you, who are standing here, Serbian heroes, our heroes of Kosovo and Metohija, that at least you will know what I was doing and to what purpose. 

For Serbia, for the motherland, for you and for life. 

And each child that will be born here tomorrow, each man that gets a job, each new school, hospital, will be a proof that we were doing the only right thing. 

And it is more than enough for me. Monuments should be built for those who had lost, the way they say it -honorably with their own and, usually, so many victims of the others.

My intention for us is to win. And once we start winning, never to lose again; that Serbia wins, for the first time in I don’t know how many years, without blood, without dead, without horrors and graves. 

I have the intention to make this country big, not by winning the Balkans or the world, but by winning the future. With work, knowledge, and children- this is how that future should be won. 

And such battles are in front of us. Not ones in which you shoot at the future, and then you burry it with honors. 

Don’t ask that from me. Don’t ask that from yourselves. Eliminate it as an option, as a solution. 

We have so little life left in Serbia, so little here, and we must cherish it. We must give it a chance to develop, get stronger and continue to spread around. 

We must, because, biologically, as a nation, we are at the verge of the abyss. We are standing on its edge, looking down and as if something is pulling us to take that senseless step. 

We will disappear if we do it again. We will be nothing, and we will have nothing. We will live through one and the same result, the one in which we lose. Every day, literally, until in the end we lose ourselves and Serbia. The 20th century killed us. We lost people that we will not be able to recover for another two centuries. We have no more people to waste. 

Let us finally get something. To get something that will enable us to have a normal country and a normal life in it.

To regain our dignity, to have rights. So that our Church is ours, on its own land, with its own property and not to have even a new church made up for us tomorrow. 

To know where we are, what we want and where we are going to. 

This is what I meant to tell you, my friends. And, I don’t know, I’m sure I’d get much more applauds if I were mentioning rifles. But I cannot do that, I don’t know how. You chose me for life, and not for death and honors. 

I do not want to know about and I do not want to take part in creating Serbia… -unless it’s necessary- so that one walks towards its future in boots and with a rifle in his hand. I know about the one that is possible with a book, pencil and a laptop. Work and knowledge. 

I don’t know about dignity in fear of bombs. I know about the one that is built with schools, kindergartens and factories, security and peace. 

And that’s what I’m offering you today; that is also my offer for tomorrow. But also my response to all those who think that they can threaten Serbian people, that they can take what does not belong to them, that they can take what’s ours, that they can pursue and expel our people. My response is- Serbia will not allow it. Serbia will not allow it to anyone and Serbia will never allow it. 

And we are not going to boast ourselves, but I’m asking everyone on the other side to take and understand very seriously the words I’m saying. I will not have second thoughts for a single moment, not for a single moment; I will not have second thoughts for a second in a need to protect our people if, in any part of Kosovo and Metohija, our people is attacked. 

It’s up to Serbia, up to every person in it who must open his eyes, to see everything that should be seen, and to decide whether his past is his future, or his past is his reason of the future. 

Our peace messages do not always meet understanding. We could see that today, as well. And those from the world will reproach us for saying that we are capable of defending ourselves, even we say a hundred times that we will not attack anyone. And they will never reproach those who might attack, because it is a normal thing for them to think that they could attack. But, regardless of that, we’ll repeat thousand and millions of times that we want only peace and we’ll outreach our hand to them, even if it remains in the air. 

And in the end, I’ll repeat the last sentence from the inscription of Stefan Lazarević- the Marble Pillar was there, near: “I do not know, the Lord knows.”

And I hope that you know. And that Serbia knows. And today I am particularly proud to be here in Kosovska Mitrovica, and thank you Milena for being with us. I’m speaking about the wife of the late Oliver Ivanovic. And that street will be the most beautiful one in Kosovksa Mitrovica, and that decision will not be made in any forums. It was decided by the people and it was decided by the Serbian state. And I want to thank you for staying with your country, and for not falling for all those provocations and all those offers you were getting, “gold, silk and velvet”, to accuse your country and your state of something it played no part in. 

And one more thing. I want to thank you, my dear friends, for coming in such huge numbers to Kosovska Mitrovica to hear me. I’ve been here countless of times. I’ve never seen so many people. Thank you for travelling from Klokot, Budrige, from Parteš, Pasjan, Kamenica, thank you from Metohija, who have tried to come, thank you from Sirinićka župa for always getting everywhere, from the heroic Gračanica. Thank you, dear friends, because just like it’s written on this wall here in Kosovska Mitrovica: “There’s no way back from here, and the strongest ones never step back”. 

Thank you all and please, knowing how little of us there are in Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija- and knowing how much heart we have- let’s stick together, let’s make our unity bigger than ever in order to preserve what can be preserved and what must be preserved, and to slowly, making firm steps we move forward towards safer and better future. 

Once we have something to tell you, about any solutions, anything, we will not announce that neither in Belgrade, nor in Brussels. We’ll tell it to you, here in Kosovska Mitrovica and Gračanica. And have no fears, not for a moment and not for a day because of that. 

To you and your families, dear friends, to you heroic miners safeguarding Serbian heart in Kosovo and Metohija, to all of you dear Serbs, to you dear villagers form Banje who are watching this now, and who were not able to meet your president, I wish all the best, many success, good health, many luck! I wish life, a good one and better one to the Serbian people, and exactly the same future. I salute you with the most beautiful and the unique salute-Long live Serbia!"