There was never a talk with representatives of the international community about what Serbia would like as an outcome in the negotiations with Pristina, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said in an interview for Sunday’s edition of the Belgrade based daily Politika, answering the question of whether in the past the issue of the Serbian position has been raised in discussions with influential Western officials.
“These issues did not come up. Whenever there was an opportunity to go to compromise, there were always incidents. These are not just doubting, there are claims that some European countries do not want this to end fast,” Ivica Dacic underlined.
You said these days that Great Britain and Germany are not for division. Did Richard Moore , the political director of Foreign Office, told you this when he was in Belgrade couple of days ago?
Yes, but they justify that they do not support Haradinaj, they are against the tariffs. You have a German position where they say that they are not for the abolishment of tariffs and the launch a dialogue before the European elections. Why would someone from Washington receive the Nobel Prize when it can be someone from Berlin? I’m speaking symbolically. This is a geopolitical struggle, but not anymore with Moscow, but between western partners. It is a multi-layered political geography that intertwines with us.
So, nothing until the end of this year?
This already belongs to the field of political science fiction.
What is the procedure after reaching an agreement?
If an agreement is reached, it would have to come to the Security Council session, to live through verification, and then to make decisions eventually based on that. Of course, and the corresponding resolutions.
So, the new UN resolution is made based on a legally binding agreement?
It does not have to mean. The new resolution should in fact contain what we have agreed on.
So that’s the legally binding agreement?
The question is what they mean by it.
When a new resolution is adopted, Kosovo becomes a member of the UN?
It depends on the agreement, if there is any agreement at all. No one can say what it will be because we are very far from the deal. And if the final solution goes to the UN Security Council, that does not mean that the format of the previous talks is changing.
Can this process be completed without Kosovo being a member of the UN?
As far as we are concerned, it can. Now, nothing should be said separately about this when we do not know the perspective of that. In the end, an appropriate legal framework must be adopted for all that we agree on. As in the end, the bombing of Serbia was completed by Resolution 1244, and that resolution actually contained the Ahtisaari-Chernomyrdin plan.
Now there is no longer any dilemma about the need of all permanent members of the Security Council to agree to a solution?
That’s right. And so far, as far as Russia and China are concerned, they have the stance that they will support everything that Serbia considers to be right.
The obstacle to continuing the dialogue are the tariffs on goods from Serbia. What if they are abolished tomorrow, is the Pristina’s platform an obstacle to the continuation of the dialogue or not?
We have now come to the situation that they are trying every day to change the political reality, or the position they are negotiating from. The tariffs, this platform is used for it, the formation of the army also, only to avoid the fact of when the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) will be formed. Serbia did a good job of removing attacks for obstructing something. The tariffs must be abolished in order to continue the dialogue. However, the mere fact that they have brought this platform puts us in a new political position – that they do not want to compromise anymore. In fact, they want a dialogue that would be a monologue or an ultimatum that we must accept everything that they put there.
The platform would not be an obstacle for us if they abolish the tariffs?
We are not interested in the platform at all. What they have set as their goal is nothing to do with dialogue. You cannot remember the platform in the middle of the Brussels process, when you already had various agreements.
You have mentioned these days the platform of Serbia that was proposed once by Tomislav Nikolic?
We adopted it in the Assembly. In a way, it is still current. We do not have the need to bring the platform because we know what we want, what is constitutionally defined. Secondly, this is not a topic from yesterday, we have been proposing to the Albanians various types of autonomy for 20-30 years. Here is the problem that they do not want conversation and autonomy; they want separatism.
At this stage, can we talk about some red lines of Serbia?
We have two completely opposing positions – one is that Kosovo is autonomy within Serbia, the second is that Kosovo is an independent state within the borders that they themselves have presented themselves as interstate, which are in fact the borders between the province and central Serbia. Both positions are unacceptable for the other side. It is difficult to reach a compromise based on these two positions. Why did the Americans step out from their position? Because they realized that Serbia would never accept an independent Kosovo with these unilateral acts, without some compromise. Which compromise? They never said, this is the best solution. They themselves say let’s see what the proposals are.
How do you comment on criticism that the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZS) is under the constitution and laws of Kosovo?
Pristina went to the Constitutional Court, challenging the Brussels agreement as far as the ZSO is concerned. We have never talked to them from the aspect of bringing something into line with their laws and the constitution. There are many things that will have to be resolved in a way of mutual agreement. It is left to write the statute of the ZSO. It was part of the agreement to clarify what the powers are, what the ZSO should deal with, and this was obstructed by Pristina. They do not want any autonomy of Serbs, they do not want the Republika Srpska (RS).
They perceive it as the RS, and there are also those who understand this as municipal powers?
The truth is somewhere in the middle. It certainly does not have this authority, as the RS has, or would not have, but would be the initial form of Serbian organization in Kosovo. We never had any kind of Serbian forms of organization in Kosovo, we had municipalities, so we appointed managers. This is about establishing a kind of Serbian authority in Kosovo. And that is why this is a pioneering undertaking. You have no role model how it should look. It is like building a new government, because such a form did not exist. In a way, this will be the Serbian government. They resist so much because they think that this is part of a Kosovo disintegration. But we come to an unusual situation. We are negotiating now, we are exhausted in the mutual haggling on this, and this may never be implemented. For example, why should we discuss the ZSO in northern Mitrovica, perhaps an agreement is reached that northern Mitrovica should be part of Serbia.
Today is March 17th and anniversary of the pogrom of Serbs in Kosovo. Often, it can be heard that the new violent actions of Pristina are not excluded. You said that Serbia would not allow it. Can we stop this from happening?
By Resolution 1244, security was entrusted to international forces. If there really is an event that would look like March 17th, which would mean an attack on Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, and if there is no KFOR intervention, what is their obligation, Serbia has clearly warned that it will have to protect its people. The biggest problem is that in this period of political insanity in Pristina someone can think of that perhaps it would be a favourable moment for something like “Storm” to happen. The essence is that the Serbs are kicked out and many people think that they would solve the Kosovo issue by it. Demarcation will not drive away the Serbs, but the possibility that this process will prolong as much as this agony with Pristina, where we negotiate something that they no chance will accept, nor we.