The wartime spokesman for Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic took power in Belgrade on Friday vowing peaceful reconciliation with its neighbors and measures to tackle the country's "very difficult" economic situation.
Ivica Dacic, head of the Socialist Party of Serbia, has said that as prime minister he will continue efforts to have Serbia join the EU and improve relations with neighboring countries, despite ending a political alliance with the nation's pro-Western Democratic Party, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Dacic's Socialists intend to form a government with a group of former ultranationalists allied with Serbia's newly elected president, Tomislav Nikolic, Nikolic, who according to the WSJ once declared that the 1995 killing of more than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys by ethnic Serb forces in Srebrenica did not qualify as genocide.
According to the Associated Press, Dacic himself had earned the nickname "Little Sloba" for his admiration of Milosevic, the late Yugoslav president blamed for fomenting the vicious 1990s Balkan civil wars that destroyed the Serbian economy.
However, the AP quoted Dacic as telling the parliament on Friday that: "There has been enough blood in the Balkans.
"Serbia is offering its hand. Let us turn to the future and not deal with the past."
According to the BBC, he continued:
"Our goal is the acceleration of the process of European integration with a maximum effort to get a date for the start of EU accession talks.
"Serbia wants to be a factor of peace and stability in the region... all outstanding issues should be resolved peacefully.
"Serbia is extending its hands in reconciliation with everyone. We will not concern ourselves with the past; let's concern ourselves with the future."
Having received EU candidate status in March, Serbia must show commitment to peaceful relations with its breakaway territory of Kosovo.
Dacic said while Serbia would not recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence, it would respect the outcome of EU-brokered talks with the ethnic Albanian authorities there, according to Bloomberg.
Better relations are a precondition for progress on Serbia's EU membership.
Meanwhile, Dacic took power with the dinar sitting at a record low, one in four Serbs out of work and the Balkan nation edging toward an economic recession.
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