Vucic: I don’t see why Kosovan boxers, as AIBA members, shouldn’t participate in the championship in Belgrade; they made a spectacle at the border

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„It was so nice of the German ambassador not to react when the Red Star footballers and our junior team, who just wanted to play football, were prevented from doing so,“ the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, said today when asked to comment on today’s statement by the German ambassador to Pristina, Jorn Rohde, that politicizing sports is never a good idea.

In the last couple of days, official Pristina and Belgrade traded accusations and presented contradictory claims about the reason why boxers from Kosovo are not participating in the World Boxing Championship which is being held in the Serbian capital.

The German diplomat reacted on the occasion on Twitter today.

“Preventing Kosovo’s boxers from participating in the AIBA championships goes in the opposite direction. This is sadly an example of closed not open Balkans. As an EU-spokesperson said yesterday „lasting reconciliation between societies begins with intellectual, cultural, sporting and artistic exchanges. Such exchanges are essential to building mutual understanding,” Rohde tweeted earlier today.

While Pristina and the boxers claim that they were not allowed to cross Konculj and Merdare crossings on three occasions as per a decision of the Serbian government, the president of the Serbian Boxing Federation, Nenad Borovcanin, stated that the Kosovan boxers have not even applied to participate.

At a press conference held in Belgrade today, the Serbian president revealed that he does not know what this issue is about, noting however that the Kosovan boxers „made a spectacle at the border.“ He also underlined that he „does not care“ if they participate in the championship, especially keeping in mind that Kosovo is a member of the AIBA.

„If I understood the gentlemen from the Boxing Federation well, they did not apply. They just made a spectacle at the border, I don’t care either way. If they had asked me, I would have said that I don’t see why they couldn’t participate in that competition, especially since they were recognized by the AIBA.“

„It would mean that if we wanted to behave differently, we would not participate in the Olympics if we were to argue every issue to the bitter end. Therefore, I can’t go into every technical detail every time, but I thank the German ambassador for warning us, so we will be even more insistent on the Open Balkans, although some ambassadors from Pristina would prefer to have a Closed Balkans here,“ the President of Serbia said.

If you told me that this was about judo, I would have told you that Albanians are an international superpower, but things are a little different when it comes to boxing

In his words, Rohde’s statement shows how “little it takes for someone to show their political devotion to someone, or dislike for someone else – over small unimportant things“.

Vucic also announced an upcoming meeting with his partners in the Open Balkans initiative – Zoran Zaev and Edi Rama, once he returns from the World Leaders Summit in Glasgow.

At the same press conference, the president also commented on the „threats“ of Kosovo Albanians that they will not be forming the ASM and plans to seize Valac. Read more:

Vucic: They plan to seize Valac – that would be terrible news for us, we are only making forced moves, I’m not sure it would be good news for them either

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