In an interview for the German daily Die Welt, Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj spoke about the recent summit in Berlin saying that the initiative of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Emmanuel Macron managed to bring the Kosovo and Serbia sides back at the table of talks and both sides committed to continuing the dialogue.
“There were setbacks in the relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Belgrade asked other countries to stop recognising Kosovo and prevented our membership in Interpol. We responded to these threats with our actions, such as the introduction of the 100-percent tariff on Serbian goods. The good mediation of Chancellor Merkel and President Macron brought us back at the talks and in fact we pledged to resume dialogue. This was not clear at the beginning. These were not easy talks but as of last night, our problems are back under control and the region is more sustainable. I feel we have preserved stability in the region,” Haradinaj said.
Speaking about the upcoming meeting in Paris, Haradinaj said it will be between Kosovo and Serbia but that President Macron and Chancellor Merkel will also take part. “I argued it would be good if the U.S. were invited too, as a guarantee for an agreement, if we reach one,” he said.
Haradinaj said that the dialogue facilitated by the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini which, he said, should have concluded with Serbia’s recognition of Kosovo, “unfortunately raised new questions, such as territorial exchange or border changes.” “As a result, unfortunately the situation in the region has worsened further. We lost a whole year. We are now back at the table – without the presence of topics like territorial exchange or border changes.”
“It will be even more difficult to reach an agreement on Kosovo’s recognition if there are other debates on territories on both sides. Land swap is a solution from another century,” Haradinaj said warning that “revival of the border issue in our region is a call for tragedies of the past.”
Haradinaj said that Kosovo’s position is that the dialogue should not be conditioned with the lifting of the tax on Serbian goods. “We are no longer ready for small agreements, small gestures one after the other… Now is the time to resolve everything,” he said adding that recognition is the starting point for normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
Asked about the EU’s role in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Haradinaj replied: “Merkel and Macron have taken on a personal commitment for the cause. This is new. These are completely different parametres that make the process more serious and more trustworthy.”
Asked about visa liberalization for Kosovo, Haradinaj said “everyone knows we have all the 95 requirements. The border agreement with Montenegro was especially not easy. Now it is up to the EU and its member states to do their share of the job … I hope that after the European elections, the respective governments will find the time to address this matter. We are open to monitor our activities in the borders. Visa liberalization for Kosovo could be beneficial for countries such as Germany – for clients, students, athletes, business people and more. We can assure you that criminals will not go there”.
On the fight against organized crime and corruption, Haradinaj said “Kosovo authorities have made two important steps: there was a lack of laws which we have already adopted, and we have also doubled the salaries of judges”.
Haradinaj said “normalization of relations with Serbia implies mutual recognition in the existing borders, and guaranteeing the rights of ethnic communities in both countries. This is the only possible solution. If U.S. President Donald Trump is engaged in the process, then it should happen with this premise”.