At the beginning, Vučić said that it was an honor for him to speak on behalf of the Republic of Serbia, but also that due to the limited time, he would skip the formalities.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, speaking to world leaders gathered in New York yesterday at the UN General Assembly session, spoke of the double standards applied to Ukraine and Serbia because “just as Russia has violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine, Western forces attacked Serbia, which did not attack anyone, violate its territorial integrity and then, despite UN resolutions, recognize Kosovo,” the Serbian president said, reports serbianmonitor.com.
– I am here for the umpteenth time. The seriousness of the moment we are in obliges me to share with you some hard words, but true ones. All that we do today seems impotent and pale. The reality is that nobody really listens to anyone here, nobody strives for real agreements and problem-solving, and almost everyone only cares about satisfying their own interests, often trampling in the process the basic principles of international law, throwing under their feet the UN Charter and other documents on which is this organization based. Neither Antonio Guterres nor anyone from the UN is to blame for that, but those forces who do not take into account anything except the satisfaction of their own political, economic and, unfortunately, military goals – he said.
Vučić points out that we are witnessing that the era in which we live is characterized by the complexity of the global geopolitical situation.
– This general debate is being held in conditions of disturbed world peace, to an extent not seen since the Second World War and since the founding of the United Nations. The global challenges we face threaten to fundamentally change the security architecture of the world and threaten the established international legal order. Such difficult times require a lot of wisdom and unity in order to preserve peace as the absolute most important asset woven into the very foundations of the United Nations organization – said the president.
Five key challenges
The President of Serbia then presented Serbia’s view on five key challenges facing the world.
– Under one – Return to peace and preservation of global stability. Under two is the preservation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of internationally recognized states, members of this organization, as a key principle of international public law and relations between states, then under three is energy security in conditions of a world crisis, four – financial security of the poor and developing countries, and finally under five: food supply in conditions of global supply lines cut by war – he added.
The President of Serbia said that the current conditions in the world remind us more and more often that the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes has no alternative.
– This principle is more relevant today than ever and is best described in the preamble of the Charter of the United Nations in which it is called: “Let us be tolerant and live together in peace with each other as good neighbors”. Renunciation of the use of force and peaceful settlement of disputes are the pillars on which world stability is based, but they must be accompanied by principles such as non-selective respect for the Charter of the United Nations, the application of binding resolutions of the UN Security Council and the basic principles of valid international public law – he emphasized.
Vučić added that Serbia supports the territorial integrity of all UN member states, including the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
– This is serious, responsible behavior in this home. From many speakers we heard stories about aggression and violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, many say that it is the first conflict on European soil since the Second World War. It is true that for the first time the integrity of a country in Europe was violated when Serbia was attacked, without attacking any other sovereign country. It is persistently kept silent.
We are looking for a clear answer to the question that I have been asking my interlocutors, the leaders of many countries, for years – what is the difference between the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia, which has been grossly violated, and to which many of you give international recognition and legitimacy? I have never received a rational answer to that question from anyone – said President Vučić.
He reminds that Serbia has never attacked someone else’s territory, nor threatened the territorial integrity of any country.
– That did not prevent NATO from attacking a sovereign country without the decision of the United Nations Security Council. The fact that, after the end of the armed conflict, an agreement was signed with NATO, the provisions of which provided for the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, which confirmed and guaranteed Serbia’s partial sovereignty and complete territorial integrity, did not prevent many Western countries from recognizing the unilaterally declared independence of “Kosovo”. they repeatedly trample on the territorial integrity of our country.
He also says that regardless of the fact that Serbia itself is feeling the consequences of a gross violation of the basic provisions of international public law, it will not give up on the fundamental principles of the United Nations.
– We will continue to advocate for consistent respect for the principle of inviolability of borders, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all other member states of the United Nations. Despite our position, many in this room still have a problem with respecting the territorial integrity of Serbia. Are you wondering why? Because they have the power and we are small and weak in their eyes. However, as you could hear, we still have the strength to present the truth in this place – the president emphasized.
Precisely because of this experience that Serbia went through and is still going through, I am convinced that I have every right to quote the words of the great Martin Luther King in this place – “Injustice committed anywhere is at the same time a threat to justice everywhere” – said the president, to which greeted with applause.
Withdrawal of recognition of Kosovo
Vučić says that we owe special thanks to the members of the UN, who support the territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia, especially in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. He also said that he was encouraged by the fact that the number of countries supporting Serbia’s positions increased in the period between the two sessions, which is a trend that must continue.
– Serbia and I, as its president, are very patiently and with a lot of good will looking for a compromise regarding Kosovo and Metohija, under the auspices of the European Union, and within the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. It is a difficult process, it has been going on for more than ten years, but we do not see an alternative – said Vučić, and added:
– It is better to negotiate for a hundred years than to fight for a day. I am convinced that we will reach a mutually acceptable solution, based on compromise, because this is absolutely the only way to achieve our goal, which is the establishment of long-term peace, as a prerequisite for a prosperous life for Serbs and Albanians in our region. We have already exhausted all other options and, at least as far as Serbia is concerned, we never dream of returning to the path of conflict, conflict and bloodshed.
“We don’t want war in the Balkans”
The President adds that the Balkans cannot bear another war, and hopes that in this effort we will have a better will and understanding of all countries.
– We are conducting this process in very complex circumstances in which there is a hybrid war and a dirty campaign on the part of the international public against our country in various fields. It is enough to remind you of the quotes and statements of the world media that Serbia will attack its neighbors and that it represents a threat to regional stability.
Of course, that never happened, and it was just one in a series of numerous lies against the Republic of Serbia. Serbia is characterized as a potential factor of destabilization in the region, only because it would not tell the truth – that the principle of inviolability of borders must apply equally to everyone. Serbia was and will be a factor of stability in the entire region – he added.
The president also said that Serbia supports the Dayton Peace Agreement, despite the untruths that could be heard.
– The policy of sanctions introduced today against the Russian Federation cannot bring good results to anyone. We are convinced that the peoples of the Balkans have the capacity to continue coexistence in the future as friends and partners who have a common vision of membership in a united Europe. I know that well, because we have already overcome many barriers that stood between our peoples for years and cost us thousands of lives and a wasted future. Serbia and Albania, for example, today have the closest and most friendly relations in their centuries-long shared history on the Balkan Peninsula – he said.
The president adds that it was only necessary to pragmatically discuss the future, not the past.
– To discuss how to solve the problems that plague our people, our companies, workers, students and entrepreneurs. We discussed a lot and came up with numerous solutions that have already removed the barriers that existed between us without any rational reason. First of all in the economy, trade and the flow of people and capital. For three years now, Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia have been implementing the “Open Balkans” project, which has a clear idea – to open the region for people, for goods, services, for capital and companies, in order to get an area that will be permanently free of tension, tension and conflict.
In addition to the unquestionable common economic benefit that this initiative brings, it also has a wider dimension, primarily in bringing people of different cultures together and promoting diversity, which certainly contributes to the general development of societies in this part of Europe. In this way, Serbia actually continues to contribute to peace, stability and the process of reconciliation in the region, and thus certainly makes a significant contribution to security at the global level – he said.
Vučić recalls the words of the famous UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld that this organization was not created to take the human race to heaven, but to save humanity from hell.
– As humanity, step by step, we have to rapidly advance technologically. Existential problems such as energy security, financial security of developing countries, and disruptions in the food supply chain have appeared before us. The solidarity that was necessary in the fight against the pandemic is even more needed today when people’s basic needs for food and energy are threatened – he says.
The President said that Serbia views its energy security as an inseparable part of national security and as a key precondition for continued economic development.
– We are trying to ensure the supply of energy, but we share the concern about the current geopolitical challenges that threaten world and European energy stability. We remain committed to finding solutions that could have transformative power in efforts to achieve regional and European energy security. I would like to emphasize that the Republic of Serbia managed to maintain continuity in the supply of energy during the current crisis. Nevertheless, we remain vitally interested in diversification of supply sources, additional investments in energy infrastructure, but also in the faster and more efficient development of capacities based on renewable sources of supply – says Vučić.
He adds that uneven development, as well as the financial vulnerability of developing countries, cause additional social stratification and inevitably lead to new crises.
– Equal development must not be limited, nor conditioned either geographically or politically, but must be made possible for all people regardless of race and religion. The theme of this year’s debate warns us, and the crises we face remind us of the importance of open communication. It does not take wisdom to conclude that challenges can be overcome successfully only if the causes are correctly identified.
We are witnessing that any ignoring of problems and lack of communication between countries only consolidates and complicates the situation. Serbia believes that it is imperative that the current challenges must not in any way deepen the divisions in the world, and that the already obvious and tendentious polarization on the global level should give way to the principles of multilateralism – said the president.
Vučić reminded that today we heard 23 times that different leaders refer to the UN Charter.
– But when we come to Serbia, we see that 17 of those 23 violate international law and do not respect UN rules. I hope we will overcome all difficulties. Long live Serbia – said the president.
Vučić is the ninth speaker, and before him, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, spoke via video link.
The main theme of this year’s session of the UN General Assembly, which began on September 13, is “The Watershed Moment: Transformative Solutions for Interrelated Challenges.” The UN General Assembly will be in session until September 26.