Wednesday, 12 June 2013. PDF Print E-mail
Mrkic: Never have so many praises been forthcoming
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Ivan MrkicSerbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic said that, throughout his long career, Serbia had never received so many praises as in the last few weeks and expressed his expectation that the country would get a date for the opening of its accession negotiations with the EU.
"Ever since we embarked upon reaching the goal of getting a date for the commencement of negotiations on EU membership, things have been getting better and better and, in the last few weeks, this goal has become so close at hand that I cannot compare it with anything I experienced in the past, and I have been doing this job for 35 years," said Mrkic in an interview for "Novi Magazin". 
Commenting on the speculations that Serbia would be given the "green light" in June, but no date for starting the negotiations with the EU, Mrkic expressed his regret that the story about the date had become "a phenomenon of sorts", while "the bottom line is hardly understood by anyone".
"In my own opinion, everything will turn out well for us and we will ultimately get the date for opening the negotiations. However, I constantly repeat that this does not depend on us. I expect that the EU will make a positive decision on all we have done so far," he added.
In his words, European officials have realized that the current leadership is saying only what they are able to deliver, which is very important in building confidence.
"Serbia is gaining in significance on a daily basis aleady, because of its serious and responsible approach as a credible partner, which everyone has noted."
Responding to the assertion that it seemed that the Government had chosen Germany as its main strategic partner and that it was exactly Berlin which put the breaks to it the most, Mrkic said that this was not his impression and that "we can definitely have productive discussions and agreements with the Germans."
"There are also other countries that matter to us. Germany is a very important factor, because, together with France, Britain, Spain and Italy, they are the pillar of the European Union to which we aspire. It is normal that we communicate with them on a daily basis," explained the Minister.
He also pointed out that the relations with the United States had been on an ascending line.
"We are grateful that Hillary Clinton, at the end of her term, took the time to deal with us and did a couple of good things for Serbia. Former Senator and current Secretary of State Kerry already had talks with our President, on two occasions," said Mrkic, recalling that President Nikolic and Prime Minister Dacic also had talks with US Vice President Biden, and only very few can have such a record.
"On the other hand, we have signed a strategic agreement with the Russian President, and, at the same time, have excellent relations with China," added the Foreign Minister, concluding that Serbia was doing what every country wished for – it was building the best possible relations with major players in order to fit best into the international arena.
Asked why he wasn't on the Serbian delegation during the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Mrkic recalled that, under the Constitution, Kosovo is a part of the territory of Serbia.
"I was in Brussels occasionally when it was really pertinent and when I could be of any assistance."
The Minister added that he was not the right person to speak about Cabinet reshuffle, bearing in mind that there was a coalition agreement and that the coalition partners, forming the pivot of the Government, would decide on it.
"I joined the Government as an expert. I am serving the country, making sure that I do the job the best I can. As for the work of my Ministry, Serbia has taken great steps in the right direction, but it is for others to make such an assessment," he said.
Commenting on the dismissal of the Serbian Ambassador to Turkey, the Minister reiterated that Dusan Spasojevic was recalled before the end of his tenure solely on account of his work and not because he was a member of the Democratic Party.
He was a member of the Democratic Party even at the time the DS party was in Government and was reprimanded when no one else was reprimanded, but that is something everyone seems to forget. He was reprimanded because of his lack of discipline and violation of regulations," he said.
As Minister Mrkic put it, one cannot hold such a high position, particularly in a very sensitive country which is currently going through a crisis, and "act that way".
"You have to be totally subordinated to the Service and the country you are serving, and there is no need for any exhibitionism to get the better of you. Unfortunately, this hasn't been Dusan's case," he said.
"I heard that Djilas refers to him as the best ambassador. Imagine me going to him, saying things about his assistants. I'd never dare meddle into something I am not familiar with," added Mrkic.