Former Deputy Envoy during the Vienna discussions, Ambassador Albert Rohan, told autonomia.info that Kosovo’s independence is an irreversible fact and that Serbia and Russia should accept this reality.
The Austrian diplomat expects from Belgrade and Prsitina to resume with negotiations “because they have to resolve their relations and because there is no alternative process.”
“It seems to me that the most visible scenario is normalization of the relations without formal recognition. There was a German-German agreement from the seventies as a model for Kosovo in 2007 but Belgrade rejected it. The model can now be acceptable for both parties,” Rohan said referring to the 1972 agreement which led to normalization of the relations between the then Eastern and Western Germanies. Both Germanies at that time recognized one another as sovereign states and opened diplomatic missions, however they did not establish formal diplomatic relations at the level of ambassadors. The agreement opened way to the other countries to recognize them and in 1973 both Germanies became members of the United Nations.
According to Rohan, the Association of the Serb-majority Municipalities will not be special. “Vucic is forgetting that Ahtisaari’s Plan was based on a compromise. Kosovo has won its independence and Serbia won its solution to ensure survival of the Serb community in Kosovo. No other country has such extensive minority rights as in Kosovo. Their aim is to protect Serb minority. In addition, the Serbian Orthodox Church enjoys privileges and immunities in protected areas around the major religious sites. Kosovo agreed on major concessions when it adopted the Ahtisaari plan, Serbia has not done anything so far. The right of municipalities to cooperate in the form of the Community is in line with the European Charter of Local Self-Government of the Council of Europe. Such associations exist in many countries, including Austria and Germany, and they have a useful advisory role, they have no executive power, Rohan said.
He also added that eventual recognition of Kosovo by Serbia would not have an automatic impact on Moscow.
“It is not impossible to think that at a certain moment Serbia would accept Kosovo’s membership at the UN and for Russia to continue to block it for other reasons. As far as the U.S. are concerned, they do not play a leading role in Balkans, but they mainly support what EU does,” Rohan said.