President Nikolic with German Ambassador
BELGRADE - EU accession is a matter of survival for Serbia, but its people would rather live in poverty than have someone recognize Kosovo-Metohija in their name, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said at a meeting with German Ambassador to Serbia Heinz Wilhelm on Monday.
"Serbia is committed to stabilization and peace in the region," said Nikolic, stressing that by raising the negotiations with Pristina to the highest level, and with the platform that was used as the basis for signing the Brussels agreement, the tide has turned towards overall political and economic stability.
The Serbian president stressed that he was surprised by the German ambassador's claim, published by a tabloid, as it was contrary to the statements he had made previously.
It is probably a misunderstanding caused by lack of communication, and it came as a great surprise for me as your statements are always well measured, Nikolic told the German ambassador.
You are right that at this point nobody is asking Serbia to recognize Kosovo, but little by little, we are doing things that will lead to de facto recognition, the Serbian president underlined.
Nikolic said that he wants to present to the citizens his view of what Belgrade should sign with Pristina.
"I do not need political marketing, but the solution to the problem,” the Serbian president said.
He said that EU accession is a matter of survival for Serbia, but stressed that its people would rather live in poverty than have someone recognize Kosovo-Metohija in their name.
"The question is why the European Union asks of us to sign a binding agreement with Kosovo as the condition for the accession, if it is not recognition that it demands. Also, are we signing that agreement with an independent state or an essential autonomy, and what if Pristina refuses to agree," Nikolic asks.
The German ambassador thanked Nikolic for receiving him and said that he had no intention of confronting him.
Whatever I said regarding your statement would have been misinterpreted, Wilhelm told the Serbian president.
He said that his statement that Germany will not ask of Serbia to recognize Kosovo was not met with positive response in Kosovo.
We are talking about the normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations and everybody has their own opinion of what this means. It is important to find a solution that would allow living as good neighbors, but I do not know what that solution should imply, said Wilhelm.
The German ambassador expressed his belief that the demand to recognize Kosovo would obstruct further negotiations with Pristina.
At this moment, it is not a condition, but nobody knows what will happen in 10 or 15 years, said Wilhelm.
Photo Tanjug, S. Radovanovic