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Debate on future of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia (media)

By   /  24/05/2019  /  Comments Off on Debate on future of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia (media)

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Several news websites cover an UNMIK-funded debate in Jeta ne Kosove on the future of the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia dialogue, broadcast on Thursday evening. The town hall debates are funded by UNMIK to support local media holding debates and providing a space for dialogue among communities across Kosovo. The panel included Sonja Biserko, human rights campaigner from Serbia, Vjosa Osmani, member of the Kosovo Assembly, Rada Trajkovic, Kosovo Serb politician, Ardian Arifaj, advisor to Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, and Haki Abazi, a Kosovo-based regional analyst. Arifaj ruled out rumors that Kosovo and Serbia Presidents, Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic, have held secret meetings or that a secret agreement has been reached. He also said any agreement would have to be ratified by 2/3 of votes in the Kosovo Assembly. Arifaj said “every option is on the table” and denied that President Thaci ever mentioned partition or the exchange of territories. Abazi said the recent Berlin Summit marked a turning point in the process and argued that the process should be referred to as talks between Kosovo and Serbia instead of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. Abazi claimed it was dangerous to leave the process in the hands of what he called modern monarchs of the Balkans, in reference to Presidents Thaci and Vucic. He called for a change of concept in governance in both Kosovo and Serbia and said that there can be no reconciliation without addressing what has happened in the past. Osmani criticized the lack of guiding principles in the process of negotiations and said that Kosovo’s statehood was being contested in Brussels. “Dialogue has been for the leaders and not for the people. Therefore, it should return to its initial objective,” she said. Osmani argued that “Kosovo’s allies have officially told us that maps were indeed opened in some of the meetings”. She said there can be no peace or agreement without justice for all victims in Kosovo regardless of their ethnic background. Biserko said that the Berlin Summit was successful in removing Kosovo’s eventual partition from the agenda and argued that border changes could lead to instability in Serbia too. She said the only way forward is to continue with the dialogue on the normalization of relations, implement the agreements signed so far and move towards mutual recognition. She argued it is dangerous to have division along ethnic lines and stressed that multiethnicity is very important. Biserko also highlighted the importance of language to reconciliation. According to her, Serbs living south of the Ibar River are marginalized. Trajkovic said the two peoples cannot continue toward the future without acknowledging what has happened in the past. “We must look toward the future,” she said. “Co-existence is always possible”. She also referred to North Macedonia as an example that resolution can come after many years. Kallxo quotes Arifaj as saying that the border correction idea has not been removed from the table at the Berlin Summit. “No idea was closed in Berlin. The dialogue has entered its final phase. The two Presidents have held three meetings. Now there is also the state delegation on dialogue, and we don’t know what the final agreement will be,” he said. The news website quotes Trajkovic as saying that are powerful circles in Belgrade that would support the division of Kosovo between Albania and Serbia. “This division would mean that the state of Kosovo would no longer exist,” she argued. Gazeta Express quotes Biserko as saying that President Thaci and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, from the beginning, were the originators of the land swap between Kosovo and Serbia. “Rama, Thaci and Vucic started this behind the scenes, and then together with Mogherini and certain people in the international community, lobbied for this opinion. They started agreeing on border changes and at one point they were on the eve of success because this international lobbying group consists of famous and powerful people from the international community,” Biserko argued. Germany-based publicist Enver Robelli took to Facebook today to say that Biserko
“told a great truth at the debate”. Citing Biserko’s remarks, Robelli writes that “Serbia always tried to include Albania in negotiations for Kosovo. This was an old idea of Dobrica Cosis. Albanians can unite, but then so should the Serbs. Edi Rama and Hashim Thaci were involved this dangerous game. Rama used Kosovo to blackmail the European Union: ‘if Albania doesn’t get the green light to enter the EU, then we will unite with Kosovo’. Whoever embarks on such adventures, can get burned. Russia’s penetration in the region is apparent in Serbia and the Republika Srpska. This has alarmed Germany and France. The Black Sea is the last line. Evidence of this is Montenegro’s fast membership of NATO. Thaci, Vucic and Rama are supported by lobbyists such as Wolfgang Petritsch, Cameron Manter Alexander Soros. Thaci was also under great pressure from certain circles in Belgrade”. Link to the full debate: https://youtu.be/npDHIKFlsIs.

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