State Secretary Starović participated in the "Western Balkans 2021" summit

14. Oct 2021.
The State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Nemanja Starović, participated today in the "Western Balkans 2021 Summit", entitled "Promoting Europe's inclusiveness and solidarity", which is being held in Skopje, organized by the "Economist".

The State Secretary emphasized the importance of connecting the region within the Open Balkans initiative, as well as strengthening stability and cooperation in the region and its integration into the European Union.

He stressed, however, that Serbia will not limit its foreign policy options and will maintain its balanced foreign policy orientation until it earns full EU membership.

Starović especially referred to yesterday's events in the north of Kosovo and Metohija and pointed out that Serbia did nothing to provoke the latest tensions.

Commenting on the previous speech of the Prime Minister of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government in Pristina, Albin Kurti, Starović pointed out that it was an excessive use of force in order to intimidate the Serbian population.

"For the sake of truth and clarity, let me refer to something that was said here this morning. Yesterday's action of militarized parts of the Kosovo police in northern Kosovo and Metohija, carried out under the guise of the alleged fight against smuggling, is by definition a case of excessive use of force, with the sole aim of intimidating the Serbian people", Starović said.

He pointed out that Pristina police forces fired hundreds of bullets at unarmed Serb civilians, and that ten people were injured, including Srećko Sofronijević, who was shot in the back.

"Why was it done? In order to confiscate some drugs from pharmacies and cans of Coca-Cola? With all due respect, tons of cocaine and hundreds of tons of smuggled cigarettes circulating in the Balkans were discussed here today, so it is clear to everyone that in this case we are dealing with a deliberate display of force a few days before the local elections in Kosovo and Metohija", said Starović.

As he said, Serbia is grateful to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, for his support and appropriate reaction in this situation.

"We hope that everyone in the international community will follow his example. The Republic of Serbia and Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija do not bear the slightest responsibility for yesterday's escalation, as well as in the case of the previous crisis with license plates, because we did nothing to provoke such unilateral moves by Pristina", Starović concluded.