By Marjana Doda
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met on Thursday with the Ambassadors of Quint countries in Belgrade. He met with the ambassadors of the United States of America Anthony Godfrey, Shan McLeod of Great Britain, Jean-Louis Falconi of France, Carlo Lo Caso of Italy and Thomas Schieb of Germany, as well as the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi.
In this meeting, the Serbian President tried to play the role of a global leader through the "hide and seek" game in front of the ambassadors of the Quint countries.
Vucic told them that the Nagorni-Karabakh conflict has set an example of what a frozen conflict is like and that when someone melts it down, it could escalate into a real catastrophe.
He made such a statement by drawing parallels between the Kosovo-Serbia conflict and the Armenia-Azerbaijan one, despite the fact that they do not resemble at all between them. He then seemed to unveil Belgrade's strategy to the ambassadors.
"Belgrade must work to reach a solution through compromise with Kosovo. Serbia must continue to strengthen economically and militarily in order to be able to defend itself at any moment from possible aggressors," said the Serbian President.
"Déjà vu"! Vucic's statement to the ambassadors is reminiscent of Gazimestan's infamous speech by the late Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic in front of a large crowd amid strong ethnic tensions between ethnic Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo.
We recall that Milosevic's speech on June 28, 1989 in Gazimestan, the site of the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, an event considered a milestone in Serbian mythology, fueled nationalist rhetoric and aggravated inter-ethnic relations in Kosovo.
Milosevic spoke of the possibility of "armed battles" in the future of Serbia's national development. That speech would come after the vote to revoke the autonomy of Kosovo as a province of former Yugoslavia on March 23, 1989 and it was a decisive moment that sparked political resistance, ignited inter-ethnic clashes and paved the way for the armed conflict of the 1990s. The rest is the story witnessed by each of us 20 years ago.
Well, Vucic brought us back to 31 years ago reminding us that nothing has changed in the Serbian mentality. He spoke of a "frozen" conflict, openly threatening another war in the Balkans.
The Serbian President inadvertently spoke about his military strategy, a strategy that Kosovo has reported on from time to time. The constant purchases of weapons from Russia and China by Serbia speak for themselves.
"Recent weapons acquisitions pose a direct threat to the peace and stability of the Western Balkan states, a region pursuing the Euro-Atlantic path," Haradinaj wrote months ago.
Serbia is being heavily armed with modern weapons by its historic ally, Russia. In November last year, Russia supplied Serbia with a sophisticated missile system. This was opposed by the United States as it threatens the security of the region.
Serbia, on the other hand, still maintains a large defense budget amounting to 500m euros. Meanwhile, it continues to support a well-developed military industry, which exported $ 483 million worth of weapons and ammunition only last year.
So, Serbia, gets armed to the teeth, threatens with "flooding" due to the melting of the "ice" and finally talks about aggressors.
But who are the aggressors from whom Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic feels threatened?
Who is threatening the Serbian President only 2 months after the agreement in Washington (after kissing and hugging the Kosovo side in the oval office in the White House as the "witness" himself, President Trump, claims).
Is Vucic rejecting the September 4 agreement through this statement?
At the same meeting, the Serbian President said that the US Ambassador to Belgrade, Anthony Godfrey, stated that the United States remains committed to the implementation of the Washington Agreement. "Regardless of how this soap opera that we are watching will end," Vucic said, referring to the US presidential poll whose results have declared Joe Biden the winner.
Was this maybe also a message to the new American president, who is the protagonist for the bombing of Belgrade by NATO?
One thing is clear, however, that the definition of the Kosovo-Serbia situation as a "frozen conflict" by Vucic turns down:
- The agreement on the normalization of economic relations signed by him with the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti in the presence of the US President on September 4 this year.
-The process of European integration.
-The Balkan mini- Schengen.
Above all, such statements not only undermine all efforts to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia, but also pose a threat for the stability of the region itself.
A dangerous statement that does not freeze or melt but burns and scorches.