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Foreign minister claims Serbia achieved unexpected results in fighting Kosovo's independence

14. April 2011. | 11:22

Source: Tanjug

Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Wednesday that some powerful countries in the world were trying to solidify Kosovo's independence, but that Serbia was using its diplomacy to fight it and achieving results few had expected.

Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said Wednesday that some powerful countries in the world were trying to solidify Kosovo's independence, but that Serbia was using its diplomacy to fight it and achieving results few had expected.

Jeremic spoke at a Tanjug roundtable, entitled Serbia's Foreign Policy Challenges, where he stated that the foreign policy priorities were still the same and that cooperation with Brussels, Moscow, Beijing and Washington were still considered as the four pillars of that policy.

Serbia has held that course since the democratic changes and the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic October 5, 2000, he noted, adding that the situation now is less favourable because the EU is in the middle of an economic crisis, which threatens the pace of its enlargement.

The foreign policy priorities include EU accession, using diplomacy to defend the country's territorial integrity in Kosovo, regional cooperation and economic diplomacy, Jeremic explained. According to him, the relations in the region have not been better in the past 20 years.

Nikolic says Serbia should replace shuttle with career diplomats

Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) leader Tomislav Nikolic said Wednesday that Serbia should replace the shuttle diplomacy it has been using since October 5, 2000, with career diplomats.

"The downfall of Serbian diplomacy started after October 5, 2000, when Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia appointed as ambassadors the people who contributed to the changes," Nikolic said at a Tanjug round table 'Serbia's Foreign Policy Challenges.'

In his opinion, this is when the country started using shuttle democracy, a practice that continues until today.

The SNS leader said he is in favor of renewing diplomatic principles used by developed democratic countries.

"I am in favor of career diplomats - professionals - who should represent the country as ambassadors or consults... and not act as the country's representative until the president or the foreign minister come to address an important topic," Nikolic said.

Pointing out that a country like Serbia, in order to protect itself and its dignity, needs to pay attention to what the world centers of power think, Nikolic warned that for almost eight years, the Serbian diplomacy only cared about Brussels and Washington - while Moscow and Beijing were added to the pillars of foreign policy "only later, when the so-called state of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence."

Nikolic reiterated that he supports Serbia's EU accession, adding that "this is an achievable goal."

The SNS leader also believes that the foreign minster should not be accountable to the president, but to the prime minister, and that the foreign policy goals and the methods for achieving those goals should be determined by the government and not the president.

President of the Serbian Progressive Party Tomislav Nikolic, Socialist Party of Serbia - United Serbia parliamentary whip Branko Ruzic and Liberal Democratic Party parliament member Zoran Ostojic are also taking part in the roundtable.

Ruzic: It would be good to have consensus on Serbia's foreign policy

Socialist Party of Serbia - United Serbia (SPS-JS) whip Branko Ruzic stated in Belgrade Wednesday that it would be good if there was a consensus on four pillars of Serbia's foreign policy, noting, however, that this not always the case.

Participating in a roundtable dubbed 'Serbia's Foreign Policy Challenges' organized by Tanjug news agency, Ruzic pointed out that a foreign policy consensus would be particularly important when state officials, politicians and MPs go abroad.

Responding to the comment that politicians' opinions differ "when they cross the state border," Ruzic said that one should be careful not to jeopardize what was formatted as the country's foreign policy, as this would make the process of achieving established goals more complicated.

Ruzic believes that any future government will maintain the four foreign policy priorities - the EU integration, diplomatic solving of problems of Kosovo-Metohija, good neighborly relations and regional cooperation, and economic diplomacy.

LDP parliament member Zoran Ostojic criticizes foreign minister's policy

Serbia's foreign policy should be rational, independent and serving the country's top priority, which is EU accession, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) parliament member Zoran Ostojic said Wednesday, adding that Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic's policy was bad.

Ostojic spoke at a Tanjug roundtable, entitled Serbia's Foreign Policy Challenges, where he criticized Jeremic for running a balanced policy. Balance means that all priorities are equally important, and that is a mistake, he argued.

"Serbia's entire foreign policy should be aimed towards EU and NATO integration, not because we like NATO, but because it is our interest," Ostojic stressed.

The foreign policy is not independent either, which was proven by the recent visit by Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who was welcomed by President Boris Tadic instead of Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, said Ostojic.

It is normal in independent countries for a prime minister to be welcomed by another prime minister, while the ambassador is the second most important person in the delegation. With us, the head of the delegation was not the prime minister, but the president, while the ambassador to Russia was ranked fifth," Ostojic stated.

The LDP also believes Jeremic's policy is irrational.

"We should not support the North Korean regime or other regimes that violate human rights for the sake of one vote in the UN. The act goes against Japan and South Korea, which is irrational," he underlined.

Ostojic also commented on the International Court of Justice opinion that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence was not against international law. Serbia would not have such an opinion on paper had it begun its talks with Kosovo sooner, he thinks.

Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, Serbian Progressive Party President Tomislav Nikolic and Socialist Party of Serbia - United Serbia parliamentary whip Branko Ruzic also took part in the debate.


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