Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic thinks Serbia has “a big hole in diplomatic relations, because it underestimates some countries” – that are her friends.
Speaking for TV Pink, Dacic said this concerns those countries to whom “(Yugoslav president) Tito still means something,” and who have “great positive memories from past relations with Yugoslavia.”
“If you never go to Bangladesh in 20 years, then they lose the understanding that some issues are important for you,” the minister said.
He said that from 2008 to 2012, Kosovo was recognized by 85 countries, but that from the moment he became the minister of foreign affairs, Kosovo was recognized by five states, one of which in the meantime revoked that decision.
Dacic also said that Pristina’s decision to postpone the application for Kosovo’s admission to UNESCO was Serbia’s big victory.
“There was a plan of the (US) State Department about who would vote in what way in UNESCO, it is our big victory, we defeated the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia – not Hashim Thaci or Behgjet Pacolli,” Dacic said.
He added that Serbia achieved this victory “by talking, persuading, being dedicated.”
Dacic also said that Ukraine’s allegations of concern over “Serbian mercenaries taking part in the fighting in Donbass on the Russian side” are designed to additionally pressure Serbia into distancing itself from Russia.
“We’re supposed to become a victim of the conflict in Ukraine, and the problems that exist in relations between the West and Russia,” Dacic said, adding that Serbia wants good relations with Ukraine, but would not be “a victim of some other international relations.”
He added that US official Brian Hoyt Yee was unable to scare Serbia, “let alone the ambassador of Ukraine.”
Dacic said that for Serbia takes it as a great commendation that both the West and the East, Washington and Moscow, agreed that Belgrade is the place to conduct peace talks on Ukraine.”
“I am not sure that Ukraine is too pleased with this and that it is satisfied with the positions in those talks… They do not like such a position of Serbia,” Dacic said and added that the next meeting of the special envoys of the US and Russia for Ukraine, Kurt Volker and Vladislav Surkov, will be held on November 13 in Belgrade.
Commenting on Ukraine’s announcement that it will continue to work with European partners on the issue of Serbian officials who have links to Crimea, Dacic said that the question is whether this was a bilateral problem between Serbia and Ukraine, or if Serbia should pay for international relations that have nothing to do with it.
He added that Serbia has prosecuted dozens of people for participation in the fighting in Crimea and in Donbass, while Ukraine did not prosecute its mercenaries who participated in the persecution of Serbs in Croatia in the 1990s.
Dacic also said that Ukraine’s ambassador, Oleksandr Aleksandrovych, said he was going to Kiev for consultations, and that he received information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine that Aleksandrovych would be out of the country.
Dacic remarked that his decision to summon Serbia’s ambassador in Kiev to Belgrade for consultations was “news number 50” in Serbian media – while it was actually “very important news.”