„I call on the citizens to go to the polls in large numbers on Sunday,“ Srpska Lista chief and a minister in the Kosovan government, Goran Rakic, said from Belgrade today, even though Pristina has repeatedly insisted that it would not allow the Serbian referendum to be held in the territory of Kosovo. Rakic, however, says that he places his faith in the international community, noting that the European Union will show its true face on Sunday.
Goran Rakic and other representatives of Kosovo Serbs visited Belgrade today, where they met with the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic. The SL chief held a press conference after the meeting, which, as he reveals, lasted for more than an hour.
„We hope and still place our faith in the European Union in the first place and we do not want to lose confidence in it. We will see on Sunday whether they will fulfill their promise,“ Rakic said.
He recalled that the ambassadors of the EU and the Quint countries in Kosovo reacted this morning with a press release, urging Pristina to enable Kosovo Serbs to vote in the upcoming referendum organized by Serbia.
„The European Union, along with the Quint countries, gave a statement and clearly and loudly told everyone in Pristina that the Sunday referendum voting must be held in Kosovo as well,“ Rakic said.
Although uncertain whether the EU will fulfill its obligations, the SL chief stresses that this no longer concerns only the people who will vote in the referendum, as it also relates to „the path to joining the EU“.
„If someone in Pristina opposes the Balkan process, that is, the Open Balkans process, which is what President Vucic is advocating, we have a situation that is moving in a different direction, that is, moving toward the EU. This path, which the EU is asking of us to take, the opening of the cluster and the referendum will take place because the EU demands it,“ Rakic said.
He also urged the EU to match deeds to words.
„They talked and promised a lot, and we believed them – especially Serbs from the north of Kosovo. We participated in the elections in 2013 believing in a better future and that European path. On Sunday, the EU will show whether they are in favour of that path or it is just idle chatter,“ he said, underlining that the responsibility of the EU is thus even greater.
Rakic called on the citizens to go to the referendum on Sunday and thus exercise their basic human rights.
„We are ready to go to the referendum on Sunday and I call on the citizens to go to the polls in large numbers and vote as per their conscience and discretion. Because Serbs simply want their basic human rights – the right to vote, to elect and to be elected,“ he pointed out, adding that the rights that Serbs from the north seek are guaranteed by all international legal acts – which Albanians and any other ethnic group in Kosovo also have.
SL Vice-President and the mayor of Strpce, Dalibor Jevtic, also addressed the media after the meeting.
According to Jevtic, the impossibility of voting in the referendum on Sunday will further increase tensions for Serbs south of the Ibar.
„And what we have had on the ground lately is exactly that – unnecessary tensions raised in different ways,“ Jevtic alerted.
He shares Rakic’s view that the international community in Kosovo has a great responsibility, adding that they are waiting to see what they can do to ensure that all citizens who want to go to the polls on Sunday can do so without any problems.
As announced, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, met with representatives of Kosovo Serbs in Belgrade today.
The meeting was attended by the head of Srpska Lista Goran Rakic, Vice Presidents Igor Simic, Dalibor Jevtic, Milan Radoicic, as well as Aleksandar Spiric, Milan Radojevic, Dragisa Milovic, and Vucina Jankovic. The head of the Kosovo Office, Petar Petkovic, as well as the Serbian Minister of the Interior, Aleksandar Vulin, were also present.
The meeting was held just two days before the Serbian referendum on constitutional changes. It is still unknown whether Serbs in Kosovo will be able to vote in the referendum. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has repeatedly stated that the referendum voting will be carried out solely through the Liaison Office of Serbia in Kosovo or by mail.
The President of Serbia previously asked the Quint countries to call on Pristina to allow the referendum to be held on the territory of Kosovo, which they did via a joint statement this morning.
The ambassadors of the Quint countries and the EU in Kosovo urged Pristina to allow Kosovo Serbs to vote in the upcoming referendum „in accordance with established practice.“ They also met with Kosovo’s top officials later in the day.
On the other hand, both the government and the opposition in Pristina remain insistent that holding a referendum would „violate the sovereignty of Kosovo“, and that citizens will be able to vote only by mail and the Liaison Office in Pristina.
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