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June 6, 1998
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 348
Interview: Vojislav Seselj

You won’t alienate us

by Natasa B. Odalovic

“The government of the Coalition of National Unity doesn’t depend on how we attacked and fought amongst ourselves earlier.  This government won’t depend on that which others think about it, even your paper and others like it in Belgrade.  This government won’t depend upon what kind of attitude the opposition political parties have toward it.  This government will or will not survive based upon whether or not it will be successful in the tasks it undertakes.  The destiny of the government is in the hands of the three coalition partners.  No one can alienate us by launching different intrigues or reminding us what we said about each other in the past.  When we fought we didn’t have limits--we fought to the extreme limit of insults,”  stated Vojislav Seselj, vice-president of the Serbian government in an interview with Vreme.

Vreme:  It is interesting that with so many infantile doses of persistence, everyday you repeat how no one will alienate you from your new political friends.  One gets the impression that the Socialists and the JULies do not glorify their collaboration with you to such an extent.

Vojislav Seselj:  I don’t say up front that this government will never quarrel.  I don’t say up front that these coalition partners will never quarrel.  Perhaps they will.  I don’t know how the government will function further.  The way it functions up until now exceeds my most optimistic expectations because up until now everything has been exceptionally good.  How it will be in the future?  I don’t know.

It’s interesting that you’ve revised your attitude about Mirko Marijanovic the most.

I attacked Mirko Marijanovic as one of the key figures in the regime.  I must admit that I had a certain amount of prejudice.  I had a negative attitude to the end even regarding his expert talents, everything until I didn’t get to know him.  I think that as an economist he’s very competent.  Many politicians don’t have a clue about economics.  With Mirko Marijanovic,  I recognized that nerve, that sense for engagement in the economy.

Have you perhaps discovered an understanding with Mira Markovic in regards to the university?

She is a professor of the university, why shouldn’t she have an inclination for involvement with the university?  I am competent to judge this as a man who finished the Law Faculty in little over two and a half years and who became a Phd at the age of 25.

Well, have you revised your attitude about Mira Markovic such that you would still speak positively about her in the case that speculation about the university law is true—that it is devised by those remaining in order to prepare the position of rector for Mira Markovic?

That isn’t true.  No one has mentioned one word concerning that, and I personally don’t believe that she has pretensions in that direction.  Secondly, I just recently met Mira Markovic.  During that period when I most often attacked her, we were really never in some immediate proximity.  I personally didn’t know her.  I attacked her as a political leader just as she attacked me in the same way.  But, since we’ve met, and that was some time ago when we began to collaborate in the government of the Coalition of National Unity, we’ve had correct relations.

Were there reciprocal apologies?

No, that would be senseless.  It was demonstrated that none of us cares about what we said earlier.  But, I’m sure that you from the outside aren’t some serious factor capable of provoking discord in the government.

“We from the outside”

You from the outside.  Above all the media.

Aren’t we the people?

No, no. You aren’t the people.  That’s stupidity.  You aren’t the people.  You are the media.  In western political theory the media is defined as the fourth branch of government.  As the media expressly oppisitional in disposition toward the government, you know very well what I’m referring to.
I don’t know...

Therefore, you media of opposition orientation, opposition parities, or outside influences, can’t alienate us or destroy this government.  Will the government be weak internally because of these obstacles or not, that is another question.

Due to your collaboration with JUL, has the Chinese solution for defiant students become acceptable or am I mistaken?  What kind of position would you take as a professor of the university if it came to massive student demonstrations?

No none in Serbia ever wanted to apply the Tiannamen solution, but China is a very close state to us.  I admire and respect China, not mixing with the form of China’s regime.  In regard to the students, everyone must respect the law.  Students, politicians, workers, everyone.  No one can be an exception.  Students should ponder honestly from their side that they are holding police detachments here in Belgrade and in that way police forces in Kosovo are weak.
Don’t you think that since you became a part of the governing coalition there’s an important difference in  your previous attacks on the question of Kosovo and those of the present?

Our stance has in essence been the same, as is today.  I personally am for the abolition of provincial autonomy as is the Serbian Radical Party.  Secondly, I am for all Albanians who aren’t our citizens and who are of separatist influence to be deported from our country.  It isn’t strange that today I support what I didn’t support earlier.  Remember that in 1992 I said in the Parliament that we will have to take best possible care of 10,000 Albanians who signed a loyalty petition.  Those who are loyal to Serbia have nothing to worry about.  That is the way I behave toward all national minorities.  In SRS alone we have a lot of members of national minorities.  Recently we had an incident in Pozarevac.  We threw out some people from the party because of their chauvinistic beliefs.  They brought into question some members who are of Albanian and Romany nationality in the party.  We had Albanian volunteers .

Isn’t it a fact that you now throw light on that pathetic story about national minorities as if you were a member of JUL and not SRS?  That’s already some change for you.
That is not true.  I’ve always said the same.  Already in 1990 I wrote a letter that began with “Brother Muslims.”

That means Serbs aren’t your top priority?

Serbs are always my top priority.

Upon entering into the Serbian government, you said that SRS would leave the government if its work was “soiling to your honor.”  The Serbian government sits in Pristina, negotiations don’t progress further that the beginning while strange things occur in Kosovo.  Nothing is certain there.

Firstly, Serbs have complete protection.  They have a large and powerful protection of our soldiers on the border and our police on the territory of Kosovo and Metohija.

In that army, young men of 22 years of age are dying.

Easy, easy.  The army must defend the border.  While they protect the border, some will die.  There isn’t any army that works and no one dies.  Every loss is tragic.  Terrorism in Kosovo wouldn’t exist if they weren’t helped by Western forces.  Shiptar terrorists are being used completely by Western forces.  How do we accept someone who doesn’t defend us to be our mediator?

Bearing in mind recent experiences with war on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, do you think it is possible that in a few months Milosevic will understand that he isn’t in a situation to solve the Kosovo problem and call for foreign observers, even troops to put themselves between the opposing sides?

That possibility doesn’t exist.  They can’t put anyone’s troops on our territory.  This government of the Coalition of National Unity exists as long as it is in the condition to protect today’s territory of the Republic of Serbia.  It is impossible that this government will remain if foreign troops come onto our territory.

Who will prevent it?

That state which carries out aggression against our nation will be witness to a total response.  We will reply with all means and wage war without mercy.

How will we wage a war if you yourself say that the American military is helping the UCK who with that alone can become a powerful military force?

What kind of military force?  How can one terrorist organization become a military force.  They aren’t an army.

Let’s not banter semantics.

We have to because you call a terrorist organization a military force.

Fine, we’ll call them a ballet troop.  But, how do you plan to win a war with that ballet troop if it, as you state, has American military aid?  How many more lives will be sacrificed?
You know quite well why I won’t permit that terrorist organization to be called an army.  That simply hides deceit.  If they are an army that means they wage war.  Then there are conditions for outside interference according to the Charter of the United Nations.  There is absolutely no condition for outside interference.  There is no mercy for terrorism, and there is no negotiation with terrorists.

After the referendum how did Holbrook and Gelbard mediate, yet they weren’t mediators at the talks between Milosevic and Rugova?

Holbrook and Gelbard came here to feel out the regime in Belgrade, to feel out its good will, and to influence their own protectors.  They’ve done it.  In regard to us, we have deviated from one political viewpoint--there is no mediation but we accept dialogue.  The American ambassador from Skoplje came to the building where the dialogue was taking place and wanted to enter the room.  Members of our delegation opposed this.  He went into the next room.

Isn’t the argument that someone isn’t a mediator because they sit in the adjacent room and not at the negotiating table strange?

There’s nothing strange about that.  It’s a fact that the one who didn’t sit at the negotiating table didn’t participate in the talks.  It would be nice if he appeared at the same table where we directed talk with members of the Albanian parties.  Then he would be a participant in those talks, and a participant has the right to an opinion.  He would have the right to arbitrate.  If something didn’t please him, then he can introduce sanctions and order.  That didn’t happen, and it won’t happen.  It’s completely clear what mediation means according to international law.

What do you expect from the continued dialogue between representatives of the Serbian government and Albanian leaders in Kosovo?

This is just the beginning of the dialogue.  It is good that it has finally come to dialogue.  The dialogue must bring some solution that is based upon the Serbian constitution and be in harmony with all acts of international law in regard to the situation of national minorities.  That means, the solution can’t be the separation of Kosovo from Serbia, it can’t be an independent Kosovo, and it can’t be a special federal unit in Serbia.  That is absolutely out of the question.  What is possible?  It can be a constitutionally defined form of cultural autonomy belonging to the Albanian national minority.  Therefore, if the Albanians themselves want to organize and arrange pension insurance,  health insurance, education, information, and cultural activities, etc., that would be in harmony with our constitution and our law.

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