BELGRADE — Both EU and Kosovo policy has not become meaningless except in the minds of those who only focus on territories, Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac has said.

“I will remind you that we have not had control over those hectares since 1999, we did not even have control of a good part of hectares inside Serbia until 2001,” he told daily Politika.

“In my value system people are most important, territories lose every meaning without them,” Šutanovac was quoted as saying.

“If we focus on life, those are still two separate tracks. Nobody can stop us from taking care of the people living in Kosovo and Metohija,” he added.

“We need to be realistic. It is unbelievable that some only realized in 2011 that Serbia lost its sovereignty in Kosovo and Metohija in 1999. Still, we all agree on one thing, we will not recognize the independence. Even those who are trying to present its U-Turn policy do not say that the independent Kosovo should be recognized,” the defence minister stressed.

He explained that the government was trying to concentrate on people.

“Serbian holiness are Serbs, our cultural, historical and religious monuments come next. If there are no Serbs those monuments will vanish just like some civilizations have vanished. We primarily must make sure that the Serbs in enclaves have guaranteed safety and that they have jobs. On the other hand, the fact is that Priština cannot establish its regime in northern Kosovo and that is why both Europe and the world seek solutions through the dialogue. We believe that the north has to have specificity compared to other parts because it is a region that functions independently from Priština,” the minister pointed out.

When asked whether that was in fact tacit recognition of Kosovo’s independence, he explained:

“Absolutely not. Everybody who today is unsuccessfully trying to convince the citizens that the government and the president are inching toward the recognition of independence are those who did most for the independence in the 90s, regardless of whether they were in power or supported them by sharing the same value system,” Šutanovac concluded.

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