BELGRADE – Serbian President Vucic appears to have outmaneuvered the Euro-Atlantic effort to push Serbia into an unacceptable deal regarding any recognition of Kosovo as an independent country. The achievement of a “comprehensive agreement on the full normalization of relations” between the Serbian authorities and the Kosovo separatists has been apparently postponed indefinitely.
On March 7th, the “Kosovo Parliament” adopted a platform for negotiations with Belgrade, in which Serbia is actually required to recognize Kosovo’s independence within existing borders and not to hinder its entry into international organizations, including the United Nations. The document also provides for the formation of a court that will consider “Serbian crimes in Kosovo”. According to the Serbian leadership, the adoption of such a platform was entirely unacceptable and therefore put an end to the negotiation process, since the provisions of the document leave no room for any kind of compromise.
This comes amid escalation tensions and a quiet but growing arms race between Serbia and its NATO and EU, Euro-Altantic integrated neighbors. Serbia, a veritable land-locked island in a sea of EU and NATO vassal states, has only Russia and China as firm developmental and military allies. Meanwhile, German capital investments continue to grow in Serbia, undermining whatever degree of economic autonomy it still retains.
Immediately after the exchange of statements of principle to Pristina and Belgrade, which were unacceptable to Belgrade, Pristina – the self-declared capital of the Serbian break-away province of Kosovo – militarized their border with Serbia, moved paramilitary divisions from the Macedonian border where they work to facilitate the unchecked migration of Albanians into Macedonia – and began to round-up, arrest, and interrogate Serbian and pro-Serbian activists.
Then representatives of the world community hurried in an attempt to persuade the “Prime Minister of Kosovo” Ramos Haradinaj , responsible for accepting the controversial negotiation platform, to abandon confrontational actions and abolish the 100% import duties from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In their opinion, this “goodwill gesture” towards Belgrade should be enough to unblock the talks and open the way for reaching a final agreement on Kosovo and Metohija. At the same time, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale during his visit to Pristina on March 11, he said that the mutual recognition of Kosovo and Serbia should be a key component of this agreement.
As FRN explained, the recent series of problems began when the US pushed its vassal administration in Pristina to create an alternate document, misleadingly titled the ‘Platform’, which led to confusion within the EU and even Belgrade. FRN’s full report detailing the two Platforms and the related controversy can be read here:
Read More: Flores – War In The Balkans? ‘Redrawing Borders’ Fight Shows Major Conflict On Horizon – U.S Interferes in EU Attempts to Broker ‘Win-Win’ Kosovo Recognition by Serbia – ‘Provocative Ultimatums’
Meanwhile, Serbian President Alexander Vucic , who held talks in Belgrade with representatives of German Chancellor Angela Merkel , said that in April he expects the EU to take action to unblock the dialogue. According to him, it’s impossible to carry on with the frozen conflict in Kosovo, as in the case of violent actions against the Kosovo Serbs, Belgrade will be in a situation where he can no longer protect them without engaging in direct military action.
Under UNSC Resolution 1244, the declaration of Kosovo as an independent state was an illegal action. In practical terms, what keeps Kosovo under US and Albanian administration is the deployment of NATO forces, called KFOR, operating primarily from Kosovo-based Camp Bondsteel.
FRN has learned from Russian and Serbian experts about the current situation around the Kosovo settlement.According to the Russian historian, director of the Institute of Slavonic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Konstantin Nikiforov , when it comes to negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, it seems that everyone is bluffing – from Kosovo Albanians to Serbian authorities who, through the words of Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic , have alleged that they are several years ago agreed with Vladimir Putin on the “delimitation” of the region. Delimitation refers to the changing of the existing borders of states, in this case.
“The Serbian elite would very much like to shift the responsibility for the decision on Kosovo to Russia. But this is hardly possible. We will have to solve everything ourselves, and solve it quickly, not postponing it until tomorrow, ” Nikiforov explained.
According to Nikiforov, at first glance, the best solution was to postpone the decision, since the Serbs were in a stalemate when any step was unprofitable for them.
“Let there be a frozen conflict in anticipation of better times. For this stands and the opposition. But it seems that Vucic has already promised a lot of things to Western curators and cannot just give it back, ”the historian noted.
According to the expert, the Serbian President wants to justify the surrender of the positions, firstly, with Russia’s consent, and, secondly, with at least some compensation. Hence all the talk about the distinction, Nikiforov suggested.
“But even here, Vucic’s approach is overly narrow. This distinction applies only to the north of Kosovo, and nothing is said about the south, where even more Serbs live in enclaves. They seem to have been forgotten and said nothing, although it is harder for them. And the situation with them must also be introduced into the negotiation process. For them, for example, the option for the exchange of territories would not be suitable for them, but only with an exchange of populations (when conducted unilaterally, this is also termed ‘ethnic cleansing’ – ed. J. Flores). And, of course, extraterritoriality should be introduced for Serbian religious monuments. However the latter as such, is still being discussed,” explained Konstantin Nikiforov.
Dejan Mirovich, a professor of international law at the University of Kosovska’s Mitrovica Law School, and a critic of Vucic’s various diplomatic moves, believes that the platform for negotiations with Belgrade, which was adopted by the “parliament” of the separatist Kosovo and which drove the negotiation process into another deadlock, clearly shows that the Brussels Agreement, signed in 2013, is out of line with UNSCR 1244 on Kosovo and Metohija.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin, during his visit to Belgrade in January, insisted on compliance with Resolution 1244, and it seems that he was right. Why do I think so? We must first ask what UNMIK (the UN mission in Kosovo – .ed ) has been doing for 20 years? Which during this time did not return even one percent of Serbs who were expelled from Kosovo, not to mention returning property, missing people, and protecting human rights. Unfortunately, Serbia has found itself in a position where it is necessary to respond to political platforms of an obviously provocative nature, together with talking about legal facts, or rather, about the implementation of the main international document on Kosovo and Metohija, behind which stands the UN Security Council,”said Mirovich.
According to the expert, it is time for the authorities in Belgrade to abandon statements in the spirit of “we have nothing in Kosovo and Metohija” and to talk about transferring not only Kosovo’s lands, but also the south and central Kosovo from the Albanians back to Serbia. As he believes, it is time to recall the principle of reciprocity as one of the fundamental principles of international law.
“What exactly do I mean? I believe that the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Serbia should adopt the same type of document that the Separatist Kosovo’s “Constitutional Court” previously adopted – this decision that the Brussels Agreement is inherently unconstitutional, or rather, it contradicts the Serbian constitution, ” the expert explained.
Also, continued Mirovich, the Serbian authorities must “explain first to themselves and then to the citizens of Serbia” how it could happen that their coalition partners in Pristina accepted such a frankly provocative negotiation platform. “I’ll remind you that in the ‘government’ od Ramush Haradinaj there is a ‘deputy prime minister’ – a Serb from the party ‘Serbian list’, which is supported by Belgrade. Believe me, this is a very strange legal situation,” he said.
Commenting on the words of Serbian President Alexander Vucic that preserving the status quo in Kosovo is impossible, and that every effort should be made to unblock the negotiation process, Dejan Mirovich said that “a bit hypocritical on the part of President Vucic or Foreign Minister Dacic to talk about a frozen conflict “. “I would like to remind you that Vucic and Dacic signed the Brussels Agreement, which led to a change in the status quo. Before the Brussels Agreement in the north of Kosovo, 1,200 armed men controlled by Belgrade were in the ranks of territorial defense and police. All these people after the signing of the Brussels Agreement on the recommendation of the Serbian authorities went to the “Kosovo police”. So do not talk about the security of the Serbs in the north of the region, ” concluded Mirovich.