By Muhamet Brajshori
Senior Kosovo officials have voiced the need for a peace treaty with Serbia to regulate relations between the two countries and end the longstanding regional conflict. So far, dialogue on the regulation of interstate technicalities, such as the free movement of people and electricity, has occurred, but has hit a stumbling block over the recent unrest in northern Kosovo.
“We will hold meetings that govern relations between Kosovo and Serbia, and from this we can’t escape,” Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci said, according to Kosova sot.
He explained that the current dialogue should bring a peace treaty between Kosovo and Serbia.
“A peace treaty would indicate a completion of all preliminary issues, which would conclude a chapter of conflict and open up co-operation. Kosovo could do it, but maintain national identity, territorial integrity, and the position it holds,” Kuci said.
He said that not only Kosovo wants a treaty, but also Serbia, the region and the entire democratic world.
“We worked hard for freedom and independence of the country, and will continue to work for permanent peace in the region. For us, Kosovo’s EU integration would lead to establishing permanent peace in the region,” Kuci said.
Kuci’s statements, however, come at a time when the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade is on hold and its future is still unclear. During the Vienna-Kosovo status talks, the Pristina Unity Team proposed a Friendship and Neighbourhood Treaty with Serbia that would officially end the conflict and regulate relations between the two countries, a proposal rejected by Belgrade.
Granit Kastrati, a political scientist, told SETimes that a peace treaty is welcomed as it would end the conflict mentality on both sides.
“Peace treaties always have a positive purpose to end a conflict and regulate state-to-state relations; in the case of Kosovo and Serbia, such a treaty will end the conflict attitude that exists on both sides,” said Kastrati.
Kastrati added that a treaty might regulate Belgrade and Pristina relations.
“Pristina and the international community voiced the need for better relations; we never thought Serbia would recognise Kosovo soon. For this reason, a peace treaty should regulate Pristina-Belgrade co-operation through innovative models, like the East -West Germany model,” said Kastrati.
Dragan Krstic, a northern Kosovo journalist, says that parties to a peace treaty can only be states, which Kosovo is not.
“Historically, peace treaties were signed by sovereign and recognised states, which Kosovo is not, and if Belgrade signs such a treaty it would mean that Kosovo is recognised as a state by Belgrade,” Krstic said.
He adds that “the current technical talk agreement is sustainable for Pristina and Belgrade, and any attempt to change it would mean breaking the status-quo position of the talks.”
Members of the public differ on the regulation of Kosovo and Serbia talks.
Ahmet Berisha, a Pristina doctor, told SETimes that before Pristina signs a peace treaty, Serbia should apologise for the crimes committed in Kosovo.
“If a treaty is signed without an official apology from Serbia, the treaty has no meaning because peace cannot be made without forgiveness. Serbia apologised to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, but never to Kosovo,” says Berisha.
Jelena Bogdanovic, a student from Gracanica, said that Serbia should find a way to respect its citizens in Kosovo but not recognise Kosovo as a state.
Fatlum Sadiku, a political commentator, doubts that such a treaty will be achieved.
“A peace treaty is a good idea in general, but a bad one at this time. Kosovo and Serbia see each other as enemies; this is the reality, and the dialogue on basic issues is not moving ahead, giving no hope for a peace treaty. Next year Kosovo and Serbia will enter an election year and no politician will talk about such an idea, but mainly patriotism and nationalism to gain votes.”