Aleksander Vucic vowed to protect Kosovo as an integral part of Serbia’s territorial integrity as he was sworn in for a second term as President of Serbia.
The oath read by Vucic is enshrined in the Constitution of Serbia and lays out that the President must “dedicate all [his] efforts to preserving the sovereignty and the entire territory of the Republic of Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohija as its integral part.”
In a speech to Parliament following the ceremony, Vucic added that “Since Kosovo’s case in tied to the crisis in Ukraine, it will be even harder for us to solve,” without elaborating further.
Vucic touched on the subject of Kosovo even before the ceremony, as he addressed a crowd of supporters gathered in front of Parliament.
“I will not act in a way that satisfies [people’s] interests, but I will work in their interests, which means that you will not agree with my decisions sometimes, but it also means that we will preserve peace and stability, Kosovo and Metohija and the future of our country and our children,” he said.
According to local media, Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija had joined the crowds celebrating and supporting President Vucic, which he acknowledged in his speech to the crowds.
Vucic was reelected in April, after serving a first five-year term that started in May 2017.
He said that his new cabinet will be ready by July, as they will need to work on “sanctions and other surprises that may harm us.”
Serbia has been under pressure as the only country besides Belarus not to impose sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
On the contrary, Vucic has ramped up his collaboration with Putin, recently agreeing to a comprehensive gas deal, just as the European Union voted to cut ties with Russian oil.
Vucic’s statement with regards to Kosovo spells trouble for the now frozen EU-facilitated dialogue which Kosovo has made clear must end in mutual recognition.