Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has refused to rebuke his interior minister’s call for unification of all Serbs in the Balkans under one state.
“It’s important for people to know Serbia’s official policy, which says that Serbia’s borders are untouchable and that we are not interested in the borders of others,” Vučić told Serbia’s Pink TV on Monday.
He failed to condemn Minister of Interior Aleksandar Vulin’s repeated calls for the unification of all Serbs in the region under a “Serbian World”, a term reminiscent of Serbia’s policy of a “Greater Serbia”, which most recently motivated the country’s wars against Bosniaks, Croats, and Kosovo Albanians during the ‘90s.
“The task for this generation of politicians is to form a Serbian World, that is to unite Serbs wherever they live,” Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said on Sunday, during celebrations of his party’s anniversary.
“For the ‘Serbian World’ to form, Serbia needs to be economically successful, well-led, and have an army that is able to protect Serbia and Serbs, wherever they live,” he added during his speech in the presence of President Vučić.
The repeated call of Minister Vulin to unite Serb minorities living in all countries in the Western Balkans this time drew backlash from several politicians in the region, who saw similarities with Serbia’s policy under President Slobodan Milosevic, the so-called Butcher of the Balkans, under whose lead Aleksandar Vučić acted as Minister of Information during the war against Bosniaks.
Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turković called on Vučić to rebuke his minister. She said that failure to do so would mean that Serbia’s official policy is to destroy and annex the part of Bosnia and Herzegovina inhabited by Serbs.
“[It’s] an ominous threat to Bosnia and Herzegovina who suffered from aggression and genocide 26 years ago,” Turković concluded.
Serbia’s ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1992-1995 are recognized by the International Court of Justice.
A politician from neighboring Montenegro, Predrag Bosković expressed similar worries on Twitter: “Unfortunately, [Serbia’s] neighbors felt the consequences of these kinds of politics in the most brutal way – through huge human casualties, material destruction and with an economy lagging behind modern civilization.”
Jasmin Mujanović, a Bosnian political scientist, stressed that Vulin “Serbian World” is a reboot of Milosevic’s “Greater Serbia”.
“Serbia’s firebrand Interior Minister again reiterates that Belgrade’s “generational” objective is the “unification of all Serbs”. That is, rebooting Milosevic’s “Greater Serbia” as the “Serbian World”. Irredentism [is] now Serbia’s official foreign policy,” he tweeted.
In May, Vulin stated that the unification of Serbs under one state is the only way to solve the so-called “national question of Serbs”. Living under the roof of the European Union is not a solution for Serbs while they stay scattered in different countries, he said, while assuring Serbs that the process of unification has begun under President Vučić’s leadership and it cannot be stopped.
Serbia under President Aleksandar Vučić is working to enter the European Union and has made more progress than the rest of the region.
At the same time, the country has strengthened ties with Russia and China, as well as its military capability with supplies from both countries.
It recently held a major military exercise using heavy equipment purchased from Russia at the same time when NATO and its allies started a military exercise in the region.
Serbia has refused to join NATO, has refused to join EU sanctions against Russia, and claims to be strengthening its army in order to protect the country from invasion.
The Western Balkans were the stage for the most horrific atrocities committed in Europe since WWII when Serbia, under President Slobodan Milosevic, fought Bosniaks, Croats, and Albanians of Kosovo who wanted to create independent states upon breaking from Yugoslavia.