A Second Report on Monitoring the Internal Dialogue on Kosovo was presented at the Media Center Belgrade, on Monday, January 29, 2018. The report, which is one of the outputs of the project “Monitoring and Reporting on Internal Dialogue on Kosovo“ , covers the period from November 1, 2017 to January 15, 2018.
After a moment of silence in memory of the murdered Oliver Ivanović, the president of the Board of Forum for Ethnic Relations, Dusan Janjić, recalled the words of Oliver Ivanović: “Division is the so-called easy solution existing on the map only. In real life, this solution is not possible without the so-called limited war, which means new victims. Certain individuals are pushing for this idea because they observe it “from the comfort of the armchair”. They do not see that the map, if enlarged, shows the heads of people who may suffer by it. So, I do not support “cutting of the Kosovo knot”, because all these ideas – division, recognition, war are easy solutions that will not bring stability and peace.”
Janjić said that judging by the number of actors involved and the influence on the public, the internal dialogue has made progress, contributed by roundtables organized by the Working Group for Support to Internal Dialogue, established by the Government of the Republic of Serbia. In his view, this shows that the First Phase of Institutional Dialogue has been completed. “This mostly a focused debate influenced by the selection of participants, because there were directors discussing at the round tables, not researchers who deal with these issues,” Janjić said, adding that the dialogue did not produce enough realistic proposals for resolving the Kosovo issue. According to him, the overall result is that in the future it is necessary to involve experts who are able to provide solutions.
President of the Board of Forum explained that at that time the Serbian Orthodox Church became actively involved in the dialogue, adding that the statement by Metropolitan Amfilohije produced a kind of political propaganda storm in the political life of Serbia. “In this reporting period, the trend of reviving chauvinism, ethnic nationalism and abuse of the Kosovo issue in the struggle for power and authority in Serbia has continued. Scornful, offensive, and disdainful attitude towards opponents is on the rise. Qualifications such as “traitor”, “foreign agent” have become part of hate speech. This trend threatens to nullify the very idea of dialogue, “ Janjić said, adding that in this period advocates of “military” and “war” options have also publicly voiced their opinions. “Oliver Ivanović was not the first victim, but even if there was one victim, is it not the last moment to face this phenomenon,” Janjic asked.
Regarding the present state and future of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, and between Serbs and Albanians in this reporting period the advocacy of demarcation and status quo policy is prevailing. Janjić also stated that it is interesting that in this period Serbia’s European integrations are “non-existent”.
“For the vast majority of participants in the institutionalized and general dialogue, resolving the issue of Kosovo through normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, as well as EU integrations of Serbia is not an acceptable solution. On the other hand, there is a small number of proponents of European integrations who believe that joining EU is possible without full normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations, but it should be kept in mind that this is contrary to the requirements of the European Commission and the fulfillment of conditions under Chapter 35, because these involve achieving a comprehensive agreement between Belgrade and Pristina,” Janjić explained.
A survey of social networks conducted by the Libera organization showed that 1 in 4 citizens believes that resolving the Kosovo issue is a reality. Tatjana Vehovec from the Libera organization also stated that trends vary between Facebook and Twitter, and that right-wingers are much more active on Facebook. The next report will be presented at the end of February.