ISSN 2330-717X

Serbia Still Grappling With Kosovo’s Independence Four Years Later

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By Bojana Milovanovic

Unresolved relations with Kosovo over its declaration of independence, made four years ago, remain the main hindrance for Serbia’s EU integration. The resolution of the dispute is the key to the Balkan country’s EU candidate status.

So far, Kosovo is recognised by more than 80 countries worldwide, and 22 out of the 27 EU member states, which are continued obstacles to Serbia’s efforts within the international community.

“Serbia will do everything to obtain EU candidate status, but not violate its constitution and the UN Security Council Resolution 1244 in the process, and we will take care of our national interests,” Borislav Stefanovic, the chief of the Belgrade negotiating team told SETimes concerning talks with Pristina.

He added that Serbia at no point was explicitly asked to recognise Kosovo independence.

Serbia is asked to engage in a dialogue and establish good relations with Pristina, with a key to finding a solution to the Kosovo representation problem at regional and international meetings.

Stefanovic announced forthcoming intense diplomatic activity in the coming period, “so as to create the best possible conditions for Serbia’s EU integration, and in finding an acceptable solution.”

“I don’t know how to solve the problem, that’s up to the politicians, I just know we must not give up on Kosovo, because if we do, we will give up on ourselves,” Milorad Trajkovic, a pensioner, told SETimes.

“We lost Kosovo a long time ago, only no one has the guts to admit it. They’re deceiving and lying to us. We lost it thanks to incompetent politicians and, unfortunately, there is no going back,” Darko Smiljanic, a physician, told SETimes.

Serbian State Secretary at the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija Oliver Ivanovic told SETimes in a statement that Kosovo independence is not a done deal for Serbia, but added that one could not overlook that over 80 countries acknowledged its status.

“Serbia must observe the constitution, which states that Kosovo is still part of Serbia. Serbia will continue to invest efforts into keeping Kosovo, in the political and territorial sense. That will not be easy, but Serbia has that obligation,” Ivanovic said.

He says that each time Serbia goes forward in the EU integration process Kosovo springs up as a problem and says Serbia should not be conditioned and blackmailed by anyone.

“It is a fact that 22 of the 27 EU member countries recognised that independence. I think it was hinted on several occasions that this would not affect Serbia. Our strategic goal is to be a member of the EU, but that goal cannot jeopardise the other objective of, in some way, preserving Kosovo within Serbia,” Ivanovic says.

He adds that the Cyprus model must be implemented in the case of Serbia and Kosovo.

“Serbia should join the EU with Kosovo as soon as possible, with the relations between Serbia and Kosovo, that is, with implementing EU legislation in the territory of Kosovo temporarily suspended. The moment the representatives of Kosovo Albanians change their political position, the negotiations will continue and lead to a permanent rather than a temporary solution. What we have now is a temporary solution,” Ivanovic said.

He adds that the Serbs in Kosovo are now living with a sense of fear and distrust in Kosovo institutions.

“We have a memory of history and remember very well that those institutions were an instrument in the hands of Albanian nationalists serving as additional pressure on the Serbs. That memory is still fresh and I fear that might happen again, I fear that Kosovo institutions, without international supervision, could just force the remaining Serbs to leave,” Ivanovic said.

SETimes

SETimes

The Southeast European Times Web site is a central source of news and information about Southeastern Europe in ten languages: Albanian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, English, Greek, Macedonian, Romanian, Serbian and Turkish. The Southeast European Times is sponsored by the US European Command, the joint military command responsible for US operations in 52 countries. EUCOM is committed to promoting stability, co-operation and prosperity in the region.

2 thoughts on “Serbia Still Grappling With Kosovo’s Independence Four Years Later

  • Avatar
    February 19, 2012 at 1:58 am
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    Those 80 countries that recognized Kosovo independence obviously have made a wrong decision and should correct it by reversing it back because Kosovo is incapable of running a state on its own.

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  • Avatar
    February 19, 2012 at 11:35 am
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    “Independent” Kosovo is a creation of American Imperialism in order to create the largest US AIR FORCE base outside the USA since the Viet Nam War. This base was deemed necessary in light of the (planned) US agression in the Mid East and South Asia.

    To “justify” this agression against a sovereign country and people with a strong democratic tradition and belief, it was necessary to create “ethinic” tension by alledging persecution of a (KOSOVAR) majority by the Serbs; who after accomodating refugees from the police state of Albania now consituted a minority in Kosovo but a majority in Serbia.

    This led to the UNBOMBER Bill Clinton inflicting massive damage to Serbian infrastructure in order to have his imperialist ambitions satisfied. Most if not all the “ethnic conflicts” occurred AFTER the work of the UNIBOMBER!

    Now there is an 11 foot (3.6 metre) statue of the UNIBOMBER (Clinton)in the Albanian Capital Tbilsi. I am not sure if it stands next to that of Enver Hoxa or whether it replaces the one of that paragon of (American) justice?

    Of course now after nearly 20 years of NATO orchestrated Ethinic violence (the Serbs have been more the victims than Abanians) reuniting Kosovo with Serbia is a non starter; rather the contemporary solution is to hive off the North of Kosovo where Serbs are still the ethnic majority, in much the same way Kosovo was hived off of Serbia. This north of Kosovo can then be asked whether it wishes to be part of Kosovo or Serbia?

    Reply

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