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President of Serbia: We can’t afford the policy of desires

Aleksandar Vucic. Photo: ria.ru

Appointment of Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko as Russia's ambassador to Serbia would send "an absolutely obvious signal," Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has said.

"Botsan-Kharchenko is an outstanding diplomat, astute and powerful, I would say -diplomatic special task forces of Russia," Vučić said in an interview with the state-run RTS channel on January 14.

The president of Serbia added that he was talking about the best expert in the region and in resolving conflict issues. Asked whether he discussed with Vladimir Putin the status of the Russian-Serbian humanitarian center in Niš during the December visit to Moscow, Vučić replied that he could not disclose what they were talking about privately.

According to Aleksandar Vučić, Serbia is an independent, sovereign country that tries to maintain good relations with Russia, China, the United States and other countries, among which he singled out the countries of the region - Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania. Answering the question how he assesses the Serbian-Montenegrin relations, Vučić called them "decent".

The president emphasized that it is very important for Serbia to establish good relations with Croatia, and added that there is an opportunity for him to meet with the President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

"I want this and I think that this could have a favorable effect on our relations that are now bad, but not for economic reasons, since we have a surplus of 70 million in trade turnover. It seems to me that this is another matter: when Croatia has some other problem, the Croats always help the Serbs out," the Serbian president suggested.

Asked whether it is possible to raise Serb-Croatian relations to the level of Serbs' relations with Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vučić said that it was another matter. "We have an excellent relationship with the member of the BiH Presidency from Bosnian Croats, Dragan Čović. In BiH, both Serbs and Croats consider themselves to be infringed. Čović sees that Croatian interests are being infringed, Milorad Dodik believes the same. Whether it is so or not, we do not need to comment from here, but they have a natural need to listen and understand each other," Vučić said.

Commenting on the words of the previous Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić, said by him at the demonstrations on the Day of Republika Srpska on 9 January in Banja Luka that he "wholeheartedly wishes the Republika Srpska independence", Vučić said that 90% of Serbs want the same. But at the same time he reminded that "we, who are at the head of the state, do not have the right to be guided by the policy of desires." "The policy of reality is serious and responsible, and the policy of desires is a good policy that brings votes. But I do not consider it always proportional to the level of responsibility," said Aleksandar Vučić.

As he stressed, Serbia supports and loves the Republika Srpska, but at the same time respects the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

To remind, from 2004 to 2008, now the director of the Fourth European Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko was a special representative of the Russian Foreign Minister for the Balkans. He participated in the work of the Peace Council, which carried out the implementation of the Dayton Agreement. From 2009 to 2014, he was the ambassador of Russia to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was awarded the Order of Friendship, the Medal of Merit for the Fatherland of the 2nd degree. In 2013, he was awarded the Order of the Flag of the Republika Srpska with a crown. In recent months, Serbian media circulate reports, according to which Botsan-Kharchenko will soon head the Russian diplomatic mission in Serbia. There is no official confirmation of this information.

At present, Russian Ambassador to Serbia is Alexander Chepurin, who prior to his appointment to this post was the head of the Department for Work with Compatriots Abroad of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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