Pros and cons of the talks between Kosovo and Serbia

Pros and cons of the talks between Kosovo and Serbia

Pristina, March 3, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Elton Tota

Talks between prime minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci and his Serb counterpart, Ivica Dacic have started for a while now, while the next meeting of the two prime ministers is expected to take place in the month of March. Experts of political issues in Kosovo offer their pros and const about the process of talks between Kosovo and Pristina. Some of them believe that the process of talks has been successful, necessary, but also restricted, while others say that these talks have only been in the interest of Serbia.

American analyst on Balkan issues, Daniel Server says for IBNA that the process of talks has been successful, but also restricted.

“I would like to see what will happen in the end, if the diplomatic recognition and the exchange of ambassadors will take place. Serbia has now accepted territorial integrity of Kosovo and the application of the Constitution of Kosovo throughout the entire territory. Serbia has also exchanged liaison offices under a moderate oversight of the EU. These are steps in the right direction”, says Server.

A similar opinion is also shared by the Kosovar analyst, Nexhmedin Spahiu. According to him, the process of talks has been unavoidable and necessary.

“What’s positive is the normalization of relations between institutions of Kosovo and Serbia, while on the other hand, what’s negative is that through this process, Serbia has managed to move forward with its agenda for the division of Kosovo into two entities, like it has done with Bosnia and Herzegovina before”, says Spahiu for IBNA.

Kurti: Talks have been on Serbia;s interest

Meanwhile, Self Determination Movement is the biggest critic of the process of talks.

Its leader, Albin Kurti told IBNA that talks between Kosovo and Serbia have served Serbia’s interests on two aspects.

“Through Kosovo’s participation in the talks, Serbia has been granted the ‘status’ of the good and constructive neighbor, and also the EU candidate status and the date for the launch of negotiations for EU accession. Meanwhile, the agreements needed for these negotiations have grown Serbia in quality and have formalized Serbia within Kosovo”, says Mr. Kurti for IBNA.

According to him, the talks have contributed for a Serb autonomous entity to be formed through the Serb Association of Communes.

“If Ahtisaari’s Plan introduced the separatist essence through the drawing of the territory with ethnic lines, this process has taken the same direction and has been shaped into an autonomous entity through the April 19, 2013 agreement for the formation of the Association of Serb Communes. If with the Ahtisaari Plan we had ethnic Serb communes with extended powers, with the April 19 agreement, we have an association which cannot be undone by none of the state institutions; with the Ahtisaari Plan we have a police commander who is elected by Serb communes, after the April 19 agreement northern communes have also elected the regional commander; with Ahtisaari Plan we have an ethnically divided first instance courts, the recent agreement has also divided the appellate level on an ethnic basis”, says Kurti for IBNA.

Delays in the implementation of the agreements?

The implementation of agreement between Pristina and Belgrade reached on April 19 in Brussels, is expected to be delayed by this year’s elections in Serbia and Kosovo. Baroness Catherine Ashton, in the quality of intermediary in the talks between prime minister Hashim Thaci and Ivica Dacic, is preparing another meeting between the two prime ministers in the month of March.

But, the departing government in Belgrade and that in Pristina, which has lost its majority in parliament, are being considered by Brussels as incapable of implementing the three points which act as the axis of the agreement.

The first one is that of the introduction and functioning of courts in the north. The second one relates to the constitution of the Association of Serb communes and thirdly, in spite of the April 19 Agreement, Serbia is yet to dismantle the “Civil Protection” illegal formation in the north.

Diplomatic sources in Pristina have told IBNA that in both Belgrade and Pristina, authorities believe that the solutions must be taken into account by the intermediary of talks, baroness Catherine Ashton. These sources stress that in Serbia, there’s a growing amount of objections for departing prime minister, Dacic to be engaged in the talks.

Starting from March 2011 until today, there have been several rounds of talks between representatives of the government of Kosovo and that of Serbia.

During this period, there have been agreements on customs stamps, university diplomas, freedom of movement, regional representation of Kosovo, cadastral notes, joint management of several border crossing points, creation of multi ethnic police to protect churches and Serb Orthodox monasteries in Kosovo, the exchange of officials, creation of the association of Serb communes in Kosovo and other agreements on issues of justice, courts, etc. The format of the agreement, followed by unclear implementation instruments has made the monitoring of the process very difficult.

The two governments have reported through declarations which have often been restricted and contradicting by both prime ministers.

In the case of EU reports, they have usually been in the format of press statements of the EU Foreign Representative. These declarations reach the public several days after the meeting. /ibna/