Why Is The Trepca Issue Taking Precedence Over The Brussels Agreement? – OpEd


A year earlier, with a publicly inexplicable urgency, American national security advisers met with their French counterparts.

US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with the French President’s adviser, Emmanuel Bonn, in Washington, on June 3. The topics of discussion were: NATO, Russia, China and Iran, said the spokeswoman for the National Security Council of the White House, Emily Horn, in a written statement.

“They discussed the upcoming meeting of the G7 leaders and the NATO summit. Actions aimed at strengthening and modernizing NATO, as well as challenges related to malicious activities in cyberspace and terrorism, were also the subject of treatment. In addition, they discussed Russia, China, Iran and the Sahel region, “Horn said categorically.

Just a day before, American national security advisers had met with their German counterparts. Unlike the June 2 meeting of counterparts American-German, where the topic of discussion was also the Balkans, in the second, as it became known that day, the Balkans were left aside.

Not by chance, France was signaled by the USA for the fact that they did not agree with the behind-the-scenes of French diplomacy in relation to the Western Balkans.

These behind-the-scenes, however, have continued under the rug, as was done during the KLA war. It is now a public secret that near the General Headquarters of the KLA in the mountains of Berisha, when American intelligence was trying to attach itself to it, it had long since been brought under the control of the French military intelligence [Directorate of Military Intelligence – DRM). The consequences are already known. This fact will give priority to this service to be decisive for the division of Mitrovica and the promotion of the gray area in the north of the Republic…

The Military Service of France and Kosovo, with the leadership that was catapulted into the pyramid of power, continue to cultivate deep cooperation even after June 1999, even continuous and “successful” in many areas of security and defense.

There have been regular exchanges of visits between French and Kosovar military officials and security officers, including ongoing training, development of military capacities, respectively keeping the Kosovo Defense Forces and then the Kosovo Security Forces in the long deployment stage. and the complete interdependence of Kosovo in the fields of intelligence and security.

France was de facto the most important “partner”, even in the name of assistance for the formation and development of Kosovo’s Security and Defense Capacities, it managed to put essential segments of the State under complete control.

These behind the scenes not only of French diplomacy have continued and are present even today. Their product was the imposition of the meeting of our president, Her Excellency Vjosa Osmani, on the sidelines of the second summit of the European Policy Committee organized in the capital of Moldova, with the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the product of these behind the scenes is also the exclusive document that talks about the Association of Municipalities with a Serbian majority, which the portal published Albanian Post,[1] according to which the Association will also have administrative authority, with a distinct legal identity, but which does not form a third power.

This document, it was learned, was first published by the spokesperson of these circles of Serbian-French diplomacy, Albanian Post. For this end, they probably created it. But that’s another topic.

By justifying the insistence on the establishment of the Association with powers of this nature as soon as possible, as seen in the published document, it, that is, the Association, can be a mechanism that functions with power separated from the legislative and governmental bodies, but in the same time he was not forming the third level of power!

To clarify this idea, the document brings as an illustration, respectively a reference “the case with the Sami Parliament in Sweden” and its functioning “as an institutional mix”.

Of course, the drafters of the document did not even bother to consider the historical fact that the Sami Parliament is an institution of an indigenous population, while the Serbs in Kosovo are mainly settlers brought after 1913 and even those who came during the butchery period of the Balkans, Slobodan Milosevic. While the absurdity is even greater, the rapid change of the demographic map of the north that was made after the liberation of Kosovo, in the eyes of the French KFOR, on the night of February 3 and 4, 2000, in which case 12 citizens were killed and About 15,000 people were expelled from the north of the city of Mitrovica.

After the end of the war, Serbian forces and militias began an organized and violent campaign to expel the Albanian population from the northern part of Mitrovica and other Albanian-majority areas.

The expulsion of 15,000 Albanian citizens from the northern part of Mitrovica was the continuation of the exercise of Serbian genocide in peaceful surroundings and in the eyes of the UNMIK administration and the elite units of the French KFOR.

This fact proves that the determination that the French area of control should be precisely the north was well calculated and in coordination with Serbia.

Belgrade maximizes hostility towards Albanians

The protests organized by the Serbian president these days in the north of Kosovo, especially those centered on Zvecan and the violence perpetrated against KFOR troops by the Serbian fascist police, cannot be separated from these behind-the-scenes games coordinated by French diplomacy. , of course in cooperation with their Serbian counterparts and fascist phalanxes who also used violence against KFOR forces.

The Serbian intellectual Ljubomir Madžar, in his review recently published in the weekly Vreme, seems to be addressed not only to the current Serbian leadership, but also to Western diplomacy, writing that “it is high time that the leadership of Belgrade, but also the Serbs in Kosovo , understand that there is no safe and peaceful survival of the Serbs in Kosovo without reconciliation and without ensuring a permanent basis for coexistence with the Albanians of Kosovo. And Belgrade is doing everything to make the entire Albanian population its sworn enemies and, of course, the enemies of the Kosovo Serbs themselves…

Belgrade politics is doing everything to maximize hostility towards Kosovo Albanians: there is not a single act of goodwill towards this people. The numerous concessions, the Brussels agreement as well as those reached before and after it, were made under pressure from the West and not at all as an act of goodwill on the part of the local authorities. Such a repulsive and destructive policy towards the Kosovo authorities cannot fail to penetrate to a large extent on the population, therefore it is one of the key factors in the continuous deterioration of the position of the Serbs in Kosovo.”[2]

This colonialist-minded attitude, not only of Belgrade, but also of a good quarter of Western diplomacy, is why it is so counterproductive on a practical level. Especially when these political emissaries have a constellation of middle-aged Albanians in front of them, who have already proven that they are politically mature.

In this matter of the Serbian vozhd, why should this neighborhood of Western diplomacy and not a few of the dwarf leaders of Albanian politics unite?!

Positioning in favor of Vucic, i.e. automatically positioning in favor of the brutal fascist police, as we saw in Zveçan on May 29 in the face of KFOR forces.

March 2000 – On the 10th horizon in Trepça

On March 11, 2000, in the capacity of co-author and translator, I accompanied my friend Andrea Myller, editor of the well-known Swiss TV show DRS, long-time journalist of war zones, including Bosnia and Uganda, for a report on the Trepca mine. At the 10th horizon we went down with the engineers who had taken over the preparation of the mine for work. While we could not go down to the 11th horizon, as it was flooded with water and required time for cleaning, we visited special galleries of the 10th horizon.

Our engineers also brought us to one of the galleries where it was seen how the Serbian exploiters had abandoned the mine as fast as possible, leaving with the Serbian army in June 1999, leaving behind the ferocious mine bite and tools. jobs scattered all over the place. One of the engineers, when he explained to us this typical phenomenon of colonialists, two drops of tears fell, which deeply touched my heart.

While I was translating the body language and the reason why the tears flowed, my friend, Andy, asked me to repeat the sentence, since he was also badly affected and had lost his proper attention, while the cameraman did not hide his emotions at all as he approached the engineer comfort him. As he explained to me later, he had reenacted and watched several times the scenes that we had shot in that space of the restaurant in Trepça with skewers scattered everywhere and women’s underwear bleeding, those premises that were once considered to be part of one of the best restaurants in Kosovo, with the blood on the walls and the floor, and the bloody underwear of the raped women scattered everywhere… The Swiss friends seemed to have taken it with them, not only in the technical memory of the cameraman, but also in their spiritual feeling to remember it. always the fact that Kosovo has paid a high price for its freedom.

When we were reviewing the shooting later, in the premises of the hotel in Pristina, Andrea offered me a series of documents that he had with him, among which a list of the shareholders who had invested in Trepça during the time of Milosevic, even some of them even on the eve of war. The list was long, very long; a total of 35 subjects from all over Europe. However, the French and Greek shareholders headed the list.

The return of Trepça coincides with the return of geopolitics

In a special program of TV TANJUG these days, while answering the question why the protest was concentrated first of all in Zveçan, Dushan Janjiq, the director of the Forum for Ethnic Relations, a former officer of the Serbian secret services, inadvertently blurted out the name of Trepça and the interests around it, but he did not leave without emphasizing the fact that Vetëvendosja has won there and the resistance of the Kosovar side is also concentrated there.

By doing so, the government of Kosovo, it is important to note, has acted in accordance with national interests and constitutional obligations, which are expected to produce positive conceptual effects for political practice.

A quick look at this plane during the two post-war decades [1999–2021], without avoiding foreign relations in this context, would allow us to conclude that the best circumstances to act are right now.

The Franco-German tandem has lost its unity, its innovative and integrative power, as well as its support. The eastward expansion of the EU did not necessarily put an end to the division of the continent, on the contrary, it also revealed the deep marks that had been left after half a century by various developments in society and politics. Instead of being able to deepen integration further, the EU had to accept the departure of its third largest member state – Great Britain. Europe’s prosperity returned to the level before 2007 by the financial market, the euro crisis and the one caused by the Corona virus, but even the European peace order was deeply shaken by Russia’s military actions in Georgia and Ukraine. Recently, the rise of populism has shown that the liberal model of democracy, the rule of law, tolerance and openness is being questioned even in its historical countries of origin, Europe and the US — and not only there: populists are also popular in Central and South America.[3]

The world community’s prospects for mastering global challenges have declined significantly. The division into blocks is already evident. The attempt to benefit Serbia by making concessions in Bosnia and Montenegro and anchoring the possibility of long-term action in the defunctionalization of the Republic of Kosovo, either through a territorial autonomy or through an association with as many powers as possible, without sparing even those that repeat the effects of Republika Srpska in Bosnia, are evident.

The end of the story has not materialized; on the contrary, it threatens the return of geopolitics with its conflicts in our region and with this the expected clash between the great global powers. As shown by currents with an international character such as: “the US-China trade conflict, geostrategic projects such as the BRI and the discussion on economic disengagement, this rivalry, unlike the Cold War, is fought less with military and diplomatic means than with economic and technological means”. [4]

This constitutes a challenge and an opportunity for Kosovo. The challenge is not to remain an object of competition of great powers, but to position ourselves as a subject as clearly and always in line with our geostrategic interests. In this regard, Kosovo and the Albanian Nation have no dilemmas. It is Serbia that has its own doubts and is pretending to benefit by calculating the benefit in case it succeeds in changing sides.

The possibility lies in the fact that Kosovo and our Nation will gain relative power if the competition between the great powers completely moves into the military sphere. The war in Ukraine, see for that, has given Poland an advantage in relation to Germany and France. Why don’t we also use this ideal opportunity that the political momentum offers us.


The north of Kosovo has been a neuralgic point for the geopolitical interests of many actors throughout modern political history, including the USA and France. This area has been the subject of considerable rivalry and strategic competition in the region. Some factors that have influenced their interests are:

  1. Security and regional stability;

     2. Natural resources: Trepça, Ujmani…

     3. The rivalry between them: The USA and France have had a marked rivalry in international politics. These two states are part of the largest political-military alliance in the world, such as NATO, but they continue to have their own special interests in the region. The north of Kosovo has been one of the areas where these rivalries have been most visible.

While the geopolitical interests are intertwined in the North of Kosovo, even between the USA and France, it is important to note that each of the parties has separate positions and strategies. Rivalry and competition between them, but also cooperation and coordination, when interests coincide, are elements that have marked both the period during the war and the state building period after the liberation of Kosovo.

The prestigious British “Financial Times” published a behind-the-scenes line of diplomacy of Serbia’s allies within powerful Western states. Meanwhile, she has devoted an article to the sale of weapons from Serbia to Ukraine, asserting what had meanwhile become a public secret with the very behavior of a good quarter of Western diplomacy: the real reasons for the change in attitude towards Serbia after the outbreak of tensions in north of Kosovo.

According to three Western diplomats in the region, the supply line that carries Serbian munitions to the Ukrainian front has been a decisive factor in an apparent turnaround since the US, NATO and the EU recently backed Serbia after a flare-up of tensions in Kosovo.

Asked if it was a deliberate step to win the approval of Western capitals, Vucic claimed that Belgrade tried to act in a “neutral way”[5], but without denying the fact that Serbia has sold ammunition to Ukraine.


The behind-the-scenes of French diplomacy is always connected with the battle for Trepca, but no less for Ujman and Maja e Panciqi.[6]

French diplomacy has shown special interest in the case of Trepca, which is known as one of the world’s largest mines of rare metals, even after the Serbian occupation of Kosovo. This recent interest stems from the fact that France’s mining assets company, Eramet, has shown considerable interest in a possible partnership with Trepça.

French diplomats aim to encourage dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia in order to impose a solution that would mean the division of Trepca and ensuring the inheritance of shares held by French companies even from the time of Milosevic. One of their goals is to ensure a favorable agreement for Serbia, which also means the management of mineral resources in order to ensure a significant benefit for the Serbian side as well.

French diplomacy has therefore been put into action to impose additional powers on the Association, which also means the management of underground assets or the imposition of an extra agreement for Trepça. Such an imposed agreement would require the agreement of both parties and would involve the sharing of benefits in an orderly manner.

However, it is important to note that the issue of Trepca remains very complex and has great challenges. There are many different interests, backgrounds and legal challenges that are connected to this issue. Its division after the war into two units, however, was not accidental. Meanwhile, when Ujmani and Maja e Panciqi are added to this as a pure geostrategic and geoeconomic element, one can guess why this concentration of protests happens precisely in Zveçan. Therefore, the extension of the sovereignty of the Republic in the north and the raising of the flag in Zveçan, for the vital interests of Kosovo and the Nation, takes on the real dimensions it has.

As it seems, the direct commitment of the president of France, meanwhile, after the Serbian side has made it clear that it will not implement the Franco-German plan, already agreed as an agreement on February 24 in Brussels, sheds light on the real reasons why the Serbian side is gradually moving from the request for Association to that for Northern Territorial Autonomy.

This means that, both for the Serbian side, and probably also for the French diplomacy, the Trepca issue is taking precedence over the Brussels agreement and its annexes reached on March 18 in Ohrid, while the documents that are circulating in the meantime as a prerequisite for the Kosovar side, cast a shadow over the settlement of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

With this behavior, not only Serbia, but also France as a mediating party, and even land, are violating the independence of Kosovo, international law and respect for the sovereignty of the Republic Kosovo.

  1. https://albanianpost.com/dokumenti-ekskluziv-me-propozimin-nderkombetar-asociacioni-do-jete-edhe-autoritet-administrativ-me-identitet-te-dallueshem-juridik-por-qe-nuk-formon-pushtet-te-trete/
  2. https://www.vreme.com/vreme/zal-za-lucidnoscu-knjazevske-diplomatije/
  3. https://www.swp-berlin.org/10.18449/2020S18/#hd-d68634e573
  4. https://www.swp-berlin.org/10.18449/2020S18/#hd-d68634e573
  5. https://www.ft.com/content/204813e0-7006-4ec6-aa66-938c346ec70d

6. https://www.nzz.ch/schnittstelle_von_politik_und_wissenschaft-ld.693005?reduced=true

Dr. Sadri Ramabaja

Dr. Sadri Ramabaja was born on October 4th, 1961 in the Village of Gollak, in the town of Dardania, Republic of Kosovo. Dr. Ramabaja has been an active member of the National Albanian Union Party for over fifteen years (1990-2005) until this political party ceased to exist and later on actively participated in the Social Democratic Party of Kosovo. Since 2010 has emerged as one of the leaders of the Self Determination Movement while promoting the main principles of this alliance and is a member of the National Assembly of Prishtina for two terms. In 1983 he was arrested by the Serbian Secret Service for his active role in Kosovo’s quest for independence. Thereafter Dr. Ramabaja was jailed as a political disident for three years in the penitentiary of Vraja. During his residence in Switzerland (1987-2002) he continued his University studies in Tirana, and his postgraduate studies in the University of Basel, in the European Studies Institute. For three years in a row (1987-1990) Dr. Ramabaja was the editor of VOICE OF KOSOVO, a newspaper published in Switezerland. During the years 2001-2004 he was the professional collaborator for Communications Media at the OST Institute-West in Bern, Switzerland. In 2002 returned to Kosovo and continued with his post-graduate studies at the College of Law and International Relations, where he graduated with a Masters Degree in International Law Sciences. In 2004-2006 Dr. Ramabaja served as a Senior Political Adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo. In November 2008 was a PHD Student of Political Sciences and International Relations, in the European Center for Peace and Development (ECPD) at the Peace University of the United Nations. In 2012 was transferred at the Graduate School of the European University of Tirana, to continue with his postgraduate degree defended through the presentation of his dissertation: “Albanian Federation-Cohesion of a Nation-State and the European Union” Dr. Ramabaja, has been published abroad in many renowned newspapers and magazines; has published eleven scientific and research papers in the field of international affairs and geopolitical studies. He is a Fellow of the International Political Studies Institute of Skopie, Macedonia. Dr. Ramabaja is the author of four Books in Albanian Language: “Realizmi politik dhe çështja kombëtare” (Tiranë, 1998); “UE-ja shpresë apo ringjallje utopish” (Prishtinë, 2003); “Gazetaria” (one of four co-authors of this university text book- Tiranë,2002); “Feniksit ia gjeta çerdhen”(Poetry - Tiranë, 1993); “Federata Shqiptare – Kohezioni i shteti-komb në BE”(Ph.D. Dissertation).

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