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Vucic-Dodik declaration important message to Serbs: expert says

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and President of Republica Srpska Milorad Dodik. Photo: balkaneu.com

Last week, President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic launched a second initiative important for the Serbian nation. After his July initiative to conduct an “internal dialogue on Kosovo,” the Serbian president jointly with President of Republica Srpska Milorad Dodik suggested a joint declaration to protect national interests of Serbs in all the territories they reside in.

As EADaily reported earlier, the idea to prepare the document was announced on August 4, Day of Commemoration of the Serbs killed in Operation Storm of 1995 in Croatia. The document shall be submitted to the parliaments of Serbia and Republica Srpska this autumn. Afterwards, Presidents Vucic and Dodik will present it to the people.

Little is known about the content of the declaration. In an interview with Belgrade-based Vecernje novosti newspaper, the president of Republica Srpska just said the document neither poses any threat to other nations nor represents any “greater Serbia project.” On August 8, Nikola Selaković, spokesperson of the Serbian president, told Radio Television of Serbia the declaration looks to preserve the Serbian language and culture. “Serbia is exemplary in terms protection of minority rights. We demand nothing more for Serbs residing in other countries in the region,” Selaković said.

EADaily asked Serbian philosopher and political analyst Milan Damjanac to comment the initiatives made by the two Serbian presidents – Aleksandar Vucic and Milorad Dodik.

The expert believes that the initiative as such is good news, since Serbian leaders met and prepared a joint program and action plan for the first time over a long period of time. At the same time, Damjanac says, it is a well-thought marketing step to respond to all speculations about Dodik-Vucic discrepancies in mass media.

The Serbian political analyst believes that the initiative can be used in both domestic and foreign policy. For instance, Vucic will need it to polarize voters in Serbia and to prove that he is a patriot, especially at the moment when he is required to make “concessions” on Kosovo and Metohija.

“As for the plan itself, I do believe that it will contain some common ideas i.e. the Serbian people and its interests are endangered, coordinated actions are needed to improve the status of Serbs in the region, to protect their rights,” the Serbian expert says. “At the same time, I fear that all those common ideas will remain common. For a long time already, Serbia has had problems with determination of its own national and cultural identity, national strategy and formation of the intellectual and political elite able to implement that plan. I have great doubts that this plan will not become an exception either.”

However, the Serbian expert is sure that the initiative will remain on paper, but it is still very important as a symbol, it inspires with hope that the Serbian identity will be preserved and restored both in Serbia and other countries of the FYR. It will hardly prompt any specific measures, but it is a message to the Serbs facing discrimination every day that someone sees their problems, thinks about them and prepares joint measures to protect the Serbian nation, Damjanac says.

He thinks that Serbs in the Balkan regions should come together independently and their leaders should pledge to support Serbian associations financially and in any other way. “It is very important to fund Serbian mass media and education, since assimilation of the Serbian population is underway in the region,” he says. Therefore, it will be good if this plan results in financing of Serbian schools and organizations in the region that would engage in preservation of the Serbian culture. Serbian government should ensure scholarships for the best students of other countries, trips to Serbia and much more. Anyway, announcement of the plan was good news, at least as a message, the expert says for conclusion.

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