Aleksandar Vucic said he would have been hanged in the West if he had said such things
The remarks by the ethnic Albanian leader of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, about Serbs are scandalous and alarming, but the US and EU seem to look the other way, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said on Friday.
"Imagine I said somewhere that 'Albanians have to suffer and pay'. Can you imagine how the world would react?" Vucic told reporters in Nis, where he was reviewing a weapons exhibit.
"What worries me is that no one seems to have noticed what Kurti said, or they're playing stupid. Had I said what he said in Brussels, I'd have been hanged in both Berlin and Washington. But such are the double standards and hypocrisy we have to deal with," Vucic added.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, insisting that the breakaway province under NATO control since 1999 is still its sovereign territory, guaranteed by the UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
The EU has tried to push Belgrade to "normalize relations" with Pristina, but Thursday's talks between Vucic and Kurti in Brussels ended in failure. According to the EU, Vucic was willing to accept the demands from the bloc, but Kurti refused.
After the meeting, Kurti answered a question from a Serbian outlet by accusing the Serbs in the north of Kosovo of acting as agents of Vucic and trying to subvert "our state," for which they "now have to suffer and pay."
Vucic pointed out that the EU and the US would have instantly jumped on such comments had they come from Serbia, because Belgrade is an "easy target." Instead, the US on Friday announced a $34.7 million grant to "advance Kosovo's democratic and economic development."
Vucic also blasted the recent comments by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in which he compared Germany's role in the 1999 NATO war over Kosovo to its current involvement in Ukraine. The Serbian president described Scholz's words as lacking both principles and logic.
"Well, what can you do? I am grateful to people in the EU who clearly spelled out who doesn't want stability and peace," Vucic added.
Vucic was in Nis to celebrate a recently established Serbian national holiday, recalling the 1918 victory over the Central Powers that led to the country's liberation in the First World War. The impromptu press conference came as he visited a military exhibit, showcasing the latest weapons and armor of the Serbian armed forces.