Serbia continues dialogue on Kosovo, seeks integration into EU; Prime Minister tells UN

22 September 2016

Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic today stressed that his country refuses to recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo and is committed to find a political settlement through the European Union-facilitated dialogue.

“I take this opportunity to underline that national priority of the Republic of Serbia is reaching political solution to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija,” said Mr. Vucic during the Assembly’s annual debate.

By defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity, Serbia defends not only international law, the UN Charter and the supreme authority of the UN Security Council in maintaining international peace and security, but also its national and historical identify, he added.

Unilateral actions seriously threaten to jeopardize international order and serve as a cautionary tale for other regions facing similar attempts of secession and change of internationally recognized state borders.

Economic and social development cannot be achieved without decisively confronting with security challenges of the modern world, he said, warning that Serbia is located in a region that has strong centres used for affirmation of aggressive ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist and extremist organizations, including recruitment and sending foreign terrorist fighters to crisis spots.

“Territory of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija is a particular challenge; foreign terrorist fighters’ phenomenon is very visible there. Observed in percentage compared to the number of inhabitants, Kosovo Albanians are the most represented in [ISIL],” he said.

Serbia gives special importance to activities of the UN Mission in Kosovo and Metohija, he said, underlining the status-neutral presence of the Mission. Creating the conditions for the sustainable return of those displaced from Kosovo and Metohija is a key element of the reconciliation process, he explained.

Unfortunately, he said, even 17 years after the end of conflict and despite many years of the international community’s presence, there are no conditions in Kosovo for undisturbed and sustainable return of internally displace persons. For the past 17 years, only 1.9 per cent managed to achieve sustainable return, and there are still about 204,000 displaced persons within Serbia, he added.

Serbia will continue the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina in the interest of regional stability and better Serbian-Albanian relations, he stressed.

Serbia attaches a significant importance to implementation of the 2030 Agenda and has formed interdepartmental working group in charge of implementation of the Agenda, and will start the process of updating national sustainable development strategy and its financing. Serbia is carrying out a series of reforms with an eye toward integration into the European Union, he said.

 

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