Over the past two decades, the practice involving a partition of territory or delineation across displacement of people and deeper ethnic conflicts, instead of bringing resolution to conflict, peace and stability. For this reason, the Forum for Ethnic Relations reiterates to Aleksandar Vučić, President of the Republic of Serbia who launched the internal dialogue and to the Serbian public, the proposal to launch a public debate on all aspects of ethnic and territorial partition of Kosovo and the effect thereof on Kosovo itself, and on Serbia and the Balkans.
The Forum for Ethnic Relations presented its Third Report on Monitoring the Internal Dialogue on Kosovo at the Media Center Belgrade, on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The Third Report has been prepared within the project “Monitoring and Reporting on Internal Dialogue on Kosovo“, implemented with the support of the Open Society Foundation.
The Third Report covers the period from 16 January to 15 February 2018.
Until now, three roundtables have been organized by the Working Group of the Government of the Republic of Serbia for the Support to Internal Dialogue on Kosovo. The debate at all three roundtables was conducted in the spirit of verifying the current Serbia’s policy towards Kosovo, instead of seeking new ideas and solutions. The same trend noticed in the first and second report regarding the selection of round table participants (representatives of institutions, organizations, etc.) continued in this reporting period. This raises the question of rationality of the internal dialogue, and whether Serbia shall enter the new, yet qualitatively different and decisive, phase of the Brussels Dialogue with the same old policy.
Since the beginning of February 2018, the activities related to advocating for for Serbia’s EU membership, normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, and using a referendum to verify the solution, have been more intensive. There has been much speculation as to the motives behind the President’s decision to raise the issue of referendum. The only conclusive motive is the amendment of the Constitution, in accordance with the procedure envisaged for amending the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia.
However, the delineation along ethnic lines and reference to “military” options has significant public support, including some ministers in the Serbian government (Aleksandar Vulin and Ivica Dačić). Special attention should be paid to the fallacy of irrelevant conclusion by Minister Vulin, according to which “stopping the expansion of Greater Albania” as “the essential issue”, instead of the resolution of Kosovo’s status.
In this reporting period, the national and international public learned that the high level government officials from Serbia, Albania and Kosovo, and Albanian leaders from Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia, had talked about this issue. According to the same sources, some decision-makers in the international community were aware of the efforts made to reach agreement for the delineation of the borderline between Serbia and Kosovo.
The Forum for Ethnic Relations emphasizes that the interests and fears of Serbs in Kosovo should not be neglected. The following messages by Archimandrite Fr. Sava Janjić, Abbot of Visoki Dečani Monastery: “In partition scenario everyone would lose and gains will be poor. Serbs would dissapera from Kosovo and Metohija … What remains of ethnic Albanian, Muslim Kosovo will lose even a semblance of what’s left of multiethnicity…. and will be less liked by many in the EU……The Balkans will again become a powder-keg (BH, Macedonia). This will backfire on those who shortsightedly seek quick fixes and will affect EU stability … Dialogue must continue, be properly focused and measured by achievements in the rule of law, protection of minorities, heritage, return of refugees, private property guarantees, abandoning of hate speech. Reconciliation is a precondition to any durable solution and not vice-versa… Instead of playing with lives of dozens of thousands of innocent people, the solutions for the current problems in Kosovo and Metohija must be sought in a dialogue and on the basis of the international law, encouraging
cooperation, reconciliation, respect of human rights and heritage.”
Similar warnings were made by Oliver Ivanović, whose murder disclosed that the Serbian community is deeply destabilized and that “non-normalization” is present in the north of Kosovo.