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Serbian PM wants gay pride parade to proceed without attacks

Sept. 24, 2013 at 2:53 PM

BELGRADE, Serbia, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The prime minister of Serbia says the upcoming gay pride parade will help the country's standing with the European Union.

But Ivica Dacic said he does not plan to attend the Belgrade Pride parade scheduled for Saturday in the nation's capital, the radio station B92 reported.

"I am in favor of everybody's constitutional right to express their diversity, but it is my right not to go there. We shouldn't go to the other extreme and ingratiate ourselves with everybody. What am I supposed to do now, become gay, so that everything's pro-European," Dacic said.

Dacic also warned that a repeat of the violence aimed at the parade in 2010 would hurt Serbia, saying police and officials have a "great responsibility" to see everything goes smoothly.

"It's not merely a question of whether we're in favor of the parade, but whether we're in favor of the citizens' security," he said.

Serbia applied for membership in the EU in 2009 and was granted full candidate status last year. There have been a number of stumblng blocks, including the country's relationship with the breakaway Kosovo region, which declared independence in 2008 and has been recognized by a number of countries, including the United States, Britain and France.

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