In a short speech to Serbian members of Parliament after reading the oath, Nikolic said that he was in favour of Serbia's European Union integration, but claimed that he would not give up on Kosovo. "I hope for a Serbia integrated within the EU, but one that will never give up on its territorial integrity and on Kosovo," Nikolic said.
The 60 year-old nationalist conservative, who surprisingly defeated the outgoing President Boris Tadic, a reformist and staunch pro-European, in the run-off of May 20, read out the oath before the 250 members of the country's new Parliament, the inaugural session of which was chaired by the doyen of MPs, 86 year-old Zaharije Trnavcevic. "I swear that all of my efforts will be aimed at the defence of Serbia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, with Kosovo included as an integral part of the country, and at the respect of human rights, minorities and liberties, in the respect of the Constitution and laws, in favour of peace and the wellbeing of all citizens," Nikolic read. The oath was followed by the airing of Serbia's national anthem.
The new President's five-year term officially begins today. A formal swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for June 11. The ceremony in the Skupstina Parliament hall was attended, among others, by the outgoing President, Boris Tadic, with whom Nikolic exchanged a very cordial greeting, the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej, the Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetkovic and other members of the government, diplomats and leading figures from economic and cultural circles.(ANSAmed).