Peace in the Balkans is not in as much danger as it was in the 1990s but there are risks of instability, dissatisfaction and minor conflicts, Johns Hopkins University professor Daniel Serwer told regional broadcaster N1 on Tuesday.
He believes there is no direct threat to peace in the region, adding that Kosovo has had Security Forces for a while and that it will take 10 years to turn those forces into a military.
“Even then it will be a small army, a fraction of what the Army of Serbia is,” he said and added that this is not a threat to Serbia or anyone. He dismissed the fuss in the Serbian media about a possible war as nonsense.
According to Serwer, the people of Kosovo, not just Albanians, would never agree not to have an army. “NATO won’t be there forever,” he said.
Commenting Belgrade’s view that the forming of an army in Kosovo runs counter to UN Security Council resolution 1244, Serwer said there are different interpretations of that document.
“Pristina and Washington believe that the purpose of the resolution has been met. That 1244 is old news and the Kosovo is a sovereign and independent state now. That is not Belgrade’s view which is why we have a Belgrade-Pristina dialogue,” he said.
Serwer said that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s request for greater UN involvement in the dialogue is not desirable in Pristina because it believes the UN will be biased in favor of UN member Serbia.
“It’s time to sit down and say that we have to solve the problem or Serbia won’t be able to advance quickly to the European Union and Kosovo’s relations with the EU will be upset. I think there is room for another UN SC resolution, but it needs to respect the basic fact that Belgrade will never again govern Kosovo. I think most Serbians accept that. This is about the Serbian authorities who are continuing a war which has just ended,” he said.
He said the tariffs problem should be resolved within CEFTA.
Serwer believes that “someone told Vucic that he can get what he wants in northern Kosovo and that Thaci can’t get what he wants in southern Serbia. Someone else told Thaci that he can get what he wants in southern Serbia without giving away anything in northern Kosovo. That is not true,” he said.
According to him, the dialogue was undermined by failure to reach an agreement on an exchange of territories which he feels is a bad idea.