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FER monitors Serbian President initiative on internal dialogue on Kosovo (KoSSev portal)

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The period from June initiative of the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to launch an internal dialogue on Kosovo until the organization of the first roundtable on 31 October 2017, was marked with two tendencies: frozen conflict and delineation, KoSSev portal reported today.

This is according to the Forum of Ethnic Relations Director, Dusan Janjic who presented the first out of five reports, his organization would dedicate to the internal dialogue on Kosovo. The report is also focused on the impact the initiative has in Kosovo.

According to the report, Vucic’s initiative made a strong echo in the public, with a clear division being noticeable, on one side it is complexity and significance of the Kosovo issue and on another site arguments of the stances expressed so far and expertise on this topic, KoSSEv further reported.

When it comes to the political support, the division into two groups is also clear, those of the governing coalition are supporting the initiative, while opposition parties, movements and associations are divided into those fully rejecting Vucic’s proposal and those who are disputing the initiative but are taking part in it or wish to take part in the internal dialogue.

Meanwhile, Kosovo Serbs are also divided through political parties, inactive civil sector, while the Serb citizens in general have a negative attitude toward it.

Srpska Lista supports the initiative, the report further said, while opposition has two different stances. The first one welcomes the dialogue and requests to be part of it, while the second one rejects anything that comes from Vucic, including the initiative on internal dialogue, which is perceived as dishonest and would end with recognition of independence of Kosovo.

Serbian civil society organizations and experts in Kosovo were part of the internal dialogue to a small extent, and this involvement is not satisfactory. Reactions of Serb citizens are negative, KoSSev portal further reported.

Most of Kosovo Serbs interpret the announcement of the internal dialogue on Kosovo “as a final surrender of Kosovo and Metohija into the hands of Pristina,” “concluding phase of retreat of the Serbian state from Kosovo and a full integration in Kosovo system,” and as “a dishonest initiative”.

Tatjana Vehovec from Libera organization that monitors trends in the social media, said that over 70 percent of people active on social networks do not support the internal dialogue, 12 percent support it, while 10 percent remain indecisive.

“When we monitor the total relations of negative and positive discourses through narratives, negative stances are marked with comments where most of them are characterized with narratives speaking about treason, sale of Kosovo, deceptions, KoSSEv portal reported.

The next report is due at the end of January. The research of the Forum for Ethnic Relations is supported by the Open Society Foundation.

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