But, what about Serbia? I would like to ask the esteemed members of this distinguished body whether the need to implement the principles of the UN Charter applies only to some or all of its members? As a country that consistently respects international law and still suffers the consequences of it being violated, we believe that the UN Charter and international law, including the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states, should be respected by all and apply indiscriminately to all UN member states.
Pristina does not cease in its attempts to confiscate property, and, as is well-known, one of the targets is the Serbian Orthodox Church. By calling into question the return of property to the Dečani Monaster Pristina paradoxically does not execute the decisions of its own so-called Constitutional Court. Ladies and gentlemen, I thought for a long time how to best illustrate the true picture of everyday life of the non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija. I will mention only some of the facts.
The same also applies to the case of the increasingly frequent indications about Pristina's upcoming membership in international organizations. Will these moves help to create the necessary atmosphere for dialogue? Are we, in this way, rewarding Pristina's destructive behaviour and refusal of dialogue? Our view is that the attempts of the so-called Kosovo to join international organizations are an unacceptable act and Serbia will work decisively against such steps. During the last session in April this year, we could hear the calls of some members of the UN Security Council to reduce and even terminate UNMIK, with the explanation that Pristina has its own functional institutions. However, the circumstances I have presented to you and the situation on the ground remind us again that international presence in our southern province is still necessary.
Ladies and gentleman, It was this body that more than two decades ago adopted Resolution 1244, which confirmed the territorial integrity of Serbia. This fact did not prevent certain countries from recognizing the so-called “Kosovo” and thus violating the UN principles, but also the resolution that they adopted, by adjusting international law to their interests and goals. Precisely because of this, the more and more frequent mentioning of the case of "Kosovo" is an indication that the precedent made opened a Pandora's box, because the strength of each principle rests on its full and universal application and unconditional adherence. You will notice that I posed a lot of questions in my statement and I express hope that today we will hear answers to at least some of them from you, esteemed members of the UN Security Council and representatives of Pristina, because the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija, of any nationality, whether they are Serbs or Albanians deserve it.
Let me pose a question - are these the characteristics of a society that presents itself to the world as a fully fledged democracy and a factor of stability in the region? We are aware that the dialogue has a wider dimension and that it can affect the situation in the entire region. This is reflected in every statement given by Serbian officials, including the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić. "It is better to negotiate for a hundred years than to fight for a day" are the words of our President that best describe the policy of peace, reconciliation, and regional cooperation pursued by the Serbian leadership, which is guided by the vision of building a common and prosperous future of the Balkans.
Let me remind you again, there was no agreement on such measures in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. I believe, ladies and gentlemen, that even today we will hear from the representative of Pristina that their side has fulfilled all obligations, but the decision on re-registration of license plates shows that Pristina is not only failing to fulfill what has been agreed upon, but it nullifies the results of the dialogue, creating a new crisis all over again. The effect of such forcibly imposed measures is best illustrated by the fact that since the decision was made a single-digit number of re-registered vehicles with Serbian license plates has been recorded, of which only two are Serbs from the north of Kosovo and Metohija.
This is another indicator that Pristina does not enjoy full support, but that, on the other hand, it continuously provokes the natural reaction of the Serbian population, which cannot endlessly be subject to the arbitrariness of temporary institutions. I believe that even today we will hear already known narrative of representatives from Pristina who try to present every reaction of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija as an activity organized by Belgrade in alleged attempts at destabilization. Such claims are simply not true. Serbia, for its part, cannot in any way contain the revolt present among the non-Albanian population of Kosovo and Metohija. It is an undeniable fact that citizens' protests represent a voice against many years of institutional violence and the deprivation of rights of the non-Albanian population, which, in this case, is denied the right to peaceful enjoyment of private property acquired in a legal manner.
Dragica Gašić, the only Serbian returnee in Djakovica. Imagine that you are still not allowed to buy bread because of your origin and nationality, because you live in a municipality that the local Albanians proudly consider forbidden to non-Albanians. Imagine that as many as eleven Albanian civil society organizations demand your expulsion, as well as a ban on any non-Albanian ever returning to that town. Then you will realize the level of intimidation that Serb returnees are facing. It will be clear to you why the percentage of returnees is below 2% and why it is still one of the lowest in the world.
In this regard, we support the efforts made by UNMIK, KFOR, EULEX and OMIK within their mandates. The Serbian and other non-Albanian population in Kosovo and Metohija has the highest confidence in the international presence and considers it a guarantor of security, which additionally confirms that international missions need to remain engaged in an undiminished scope and capacity in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. In conclusion, I would like to point out that lately in all international forums we keep hearing calls for respect of the principles of the UN. We support the territorial integrity of all UN member states.
All the inhabitants of Kosovo and Metohija have every right to expect an improvement in the atmosphere and the reduction of tensions on the ethnic level, which are a prerequisite for a normal life. For such a step to be made, we need constructiveness, which is not lacking on the Serbian side, genuine support of international actors.
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