Dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade in the focus of the political cricit/In an interview for IBNA, analyst and professor of political sciences, Gjon Culaj talks about the process of dialogue for the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade, the effect of the Special Tribunal in Kosovo’s political arena and the challenges of the country in the path toward NATO and EU integration. Prof. Culaj, who is also a doctor of political sciences, graduated in the University of Paris, France, also comments the process of international recognition
Interviewed by Muamer Mellova
IBNA: How do you consider the Brussels agreements that enable the establishment of the Association of Serb Communes in Kosovo?
This agreement has come as an international obligation for the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade. This is supposed to be a political compromise and in general, political compromises are painful. This association is also being created due to the fact that our political elites have failed in offering a political and economic integration policy for the Serbs of Kosovo. Therefore, Serbs sought their solutions from Belgrade and not Pristina. All the communes with a Serb majority are governed by the Serb List, a political project which was masterminded and controlled by the Serb government. Under no circumstances we must be scared of giving more rights to minorities. At the same time, we must be careful in order for these rights to comply with the best European practices, because the way this agreement was proposed, it could make the state dysfunctional in particular territories of the country. EU and Serbia benefit the most of the Agreement for the Association of Serb Communes: EU because it imposes itself as an important player in the international arena and affirms EU’s Foreign and Security Policy and Serbia, which through this agreement marks an important step toward EU integration path.
IBNA: What will be the impact of the Special Tribunal in Kosovo’s political arena?
The Special Tribunal is also being established as a result of the failure of our justice system, which would hardly have the necessary capacities and be able to handle all the cases that this tribunal will handle. As far as the impact of this tribunal in the Kosovo’s political arena is concerned, it depends on the profile of the eventual defendants. If we have high profile defendants, then we may have early elections, reconfiguration of the political arena and a “purification” of Kosovo’s image in the international arena.
IBNA: What are Kosovo’s challenges in the NATO’s accession path?
The challenges are many, but two are the main ones: the creation of the Army of Kosovo and the recognition of Kosovo by all NATO member countries. Besides the challenges, we as a country also have advantages in this aspect: Our clear orientation as far as integration in this military-political organization is concerned and NATO’s open door for each country, which is democratic and embraces Euro Atlantic values. Kosovo’s accession and the accession of other Western Balkan countries in the NATO, has an extraordinary importance for regional security. Therefore, the current fragile security would turn into permanent security which would eventually generate cooperation and economic development. What’s more, Kosovo’s destiny is closely linked to NATO. Our achievements as a country are attributed to a large extent to NATO.
IBNA: What do you think Kosovo’s peace priorities should be in the aspect of European integration?
Kosovo and all Western Balkan countries have a clear European perspective. Recently, Kosovo too has marked concrete steps with the signing SAA or recommendation of the liberalization of visas. However, EU integration is a process which requires deep reforms in all sectors. The good thing about these reforms is that we are delivering them. We are getting closer to the EU and at the same time, we are establishing a functional and developed state. Thus, EU integration doesn’t happen in the meetings of our political elites in European capitals, but it happens when we, as a society, create establish a rule of law with a developed economy, which guarantees and defends human rights and liberties.
IBNA: Do you also think that Kosovo has come to a gridlock in the process of new recognitions by world states? What is it that Kosovo must do?
Yes, there’s a gridlock in the process of Kosovo’s recognition by countries which have not yet done such thing. All of those who are in charge of the foreign policy, must be engaged in order to increase the number of countries that recognize our country as much as possible and they must use our partners into convincing those EU and NATO member countries which haven’t yet recognized Kosovo, to recognize it as an independent country. Our priority must be accession in these two international organizations, therefore Kosovo’s positioning in the international arena would be strengthened a great deal. As far as Kosovo’s accession in the UN is concerned, new recognitions contribute in this aspect, but they are not sufficient in spite of their number for as long as Russia or China are permanent members of the Security Council, as they can use their veto against Kosovo’s accession in this organization. Kosovo’s recognition by Serbia and vice versa, as a result of international pressure and as a condition in the EU integration path, would eventually create a new situation, which could lead to a new wave of recognitions and would increase Kosovo’s chances to become a UN member. /balkaneu.com/