VIMINACIUM — President Boris Tadić expressed the conviction Friday that all regional conflicts in southeastern Europe can be resolved over the next five to ten years.
At a press conference after the 2011 UNESCO Summit of Heads of State of South East Europe held in the ancient Roman city of Viminacium near the town of Kostolac in eastern Serbia on Friday, Tadić said that only the policy of reconciliation could take the region into the EU.
“I believe that the reconciliation policy has no credible alternative – or we are to witness conflicts again. I never support clashes, I rather always seek rational solutions,” Tadić said, expressing the hope that other regional leaders will support his efforts.
He said that the leaders of the region all had excellent relations in between themselves, as confirmed by the Friday summit, but political sparks inevitably flied on occasions as, after all, the leaders had to defend the interests of the citizens that had voted for them.
“Today, we are also friends, and we are creating a new political reality in the Balkans – and this is not a farce. We are seeking solutions and have great chances of finding them,” the Serbian president said, noting as an example the relations between Serbia and Croatia, which, according to him, have never been better than now in the past twenty years.
“We are taking an issue at a time and our relations have never been better in the last 20 years. Are they good enough – no, but I see a positive trend there, and we should not fall into despair because certain issues sometimes make sparks fly and should follow the dominant trend instead,” Tadić said.
Certain reporters pointed to occasional personal misunderstandings between regional politicians and sore spots in bilateral relations among the states in the region, to which Tadić responded by saying that everyone should seek compromise and creative solutions that enabled both sides involved in an issue to preserve their dignity.
“After a summit such as the one we just had, it is important to create a political dialogue and get acquainted with the culture of the political dialogue, which implies respect for the interests of the other side,” Tadić said.
Applied to the issue of Kosovo and Metohija, according to Tadić, the policy means that Serbia will not abandon its people in the province, but will at the same time also strive to find a compromise and rational solution, since the interests of ethnic Albanians are equally legitimate as those of the Serbs.
Commenting on attempts by certain European politicians to persuade Serbia to dissolve some of its institutions in the north of Kosovo, Tadić said that Serbia’s refusal to do so should not be viewed in the same way as the refusals coming from Belgrade over the previous decade.