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Serbian President Boris Tadic said Tuesday that a compromising solution acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina can be reached through dialogue only.

“I think that dialogue is very important. Dialogue can bring some solutions. We have a confrontation between Serbs and Albanians, not between Serbia and Kosovo, because we don’t recognize Kosovo’s independence,” Tadic said in an interview with Russia’s TV channel Russia Today.

Speaking about Serbia’s priorities – Kosovo or membership in the EU, Tadic said: “The first time I was elected president of Serbia I had two main strategic goals in mind: to become a member state of the European Union and to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of my country. I’m going to continue my efforts in that direction.”

When Russia Today’s journalist observed that he has always strongly promoted the pro-American image of the Serbian government and when the Kosovo issue emerged it turned out that Russia was Serbia’s only true ally, Tadic said: “I’m a pro-Serbian president. This government is always going to be pro-Serbian. We want to have the best possible relations with the US, even though we’re facing a real challenge, especially because of Kosovo.”

We, however, do not wish to become a member state of the United States of America, we want to become a member state of the EU, said Tadic. “We are living in Southeast Europe and we are going to continue our efforts in that direction. But, no one can set strange and artificial conditions in terms of Kosovo’s recognition because of our intention to become a member state of the EU. I appreciate that approach of EU countries very much,” said Tadic.

In regards to the relations with Russia, the Serbian president said that Serbia will remain Russia’s close partner in the future. Asked whether the Serbian-Russian brotherhood still exists today in 2010, Tadic replied: “Of course it does, and this cannot be changed,” noting that he maintains rather close relations with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

He warned that the Kosovo problem is not the problem between Serbs and Albanians only, but also of the regional policy, having in mind a possible precedent that can create much turmoil around the world. The fact that only 60 out of the 191 member states of the United Nations have recognized the unilaterally declared independence by Kosovo confirms that Kosovo is a global issue, Tadic said.

Responding to the Russia Today journalist’s observation that two years after the recognition of Kosovo’s independence the region remained stable and there was no domino effect, Tadic said: “The domino effect still exists as a threat for everybody, not only in the south-east region of Europe but everywhere. For that reason, I have real concerns. But, taking into consideration the way we reacted to the unilateral declaration of independence, I think we were trying to prevent problems.”

Serbia has a consistent policy, which means that we are totally against partition of all countries that are member states of the UN. That means we are also against partition of the countries existing in the region, underscored Tadic.

“In that respect, we fully support the integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, for example, and other countries, and in that respect, we are contributing to the stability even though we are very much affected by Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence,” he said.

Speaking about the coexistence of Serbs and Bosniaks, Tadic said that it is a very important religious issue and that Bosniaks have been living in a part of Serbia for centuries. Asked about how he sees the settlement of the problem of living side by side with Muslims in Serbia, President Tadic said that the religious issue is a very important issue and that Bosniaks have been living in Serbia for centuries.

“They are friends. I appreciate very much the achievements of the Muslim and Bosniak cultures in my country and in regional policy. In that respect, we fully respect the rights of all religious communities and ethnic minorities, and we are going to continue this kind of policy.”

Pointing out that Europe is facing a challenge of how to define themselves in terms of the influence of the Muslim culture, Tadic warned that focus emphasis should be placed on extreme religious groups that we have in all religions now.

“As Serbian president, I face radicals that very often insist on their Christian identity. Very strong and extreme religious organizations are becoming a problem across the globe,” concluded Tadic.

November 25, 2010

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