World
Pyotr Iskenderov
April 18, 2013
© Photo: Public domain

The issue of achieving an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina is growing beyond the European boundaries to become part of global agenda. According to the sources in the European Union’s headquarters, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, has made it a key issue of her urgent Balkans tour… 

The European Union and Mrs. Ashton appear to focus their efforts on what they think will be a decisive concession on the part of Kosovo. To be precise, they want Pristina to say yes to the Serbia’s proposals related to the formation of police units and courts in northern Kosovo, and to give a promise that the so-called «Kosovo security force» will not be deployed there «for a certain period of time». According to the Brussels advocated scenario, the concessions on these issues are exactly what could make Belgrade sign the document, something the West strives for. It could also lead to the «normalization of bilateral relations», which will allow the European Union and the United States to call it a day and declare the mission in Kosovo to be successfully accomplished. 

We view it as a palliative approach, which deliberately steers away from the main thing. And the main thing is not the way northern Kosovo police units and courts are formed and function. By far, it’s not the time of «Kosovo security force» deployment, which is unacceptable for Serbs. The core issue is the comprehensive pattern of bilateral relations between Serbia and its mutinous province, which is not recognized as an independent state by Belgrade. 

Agim Çeku is the Minister of Security Forces for the Republic of Kosovo, he has been Prime Minister of Kosovo and a chief of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). It’s important to note, his powers may be expanded vastly and pretty soon. According to Kosovo Albanian sources, Agim Çeku became the main Washington’s proxy as far back as 2006. Tribuna, a Pristina newspaper, said the United States had plans to make him Prime Minister, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, it was Hashim Thaci who took the office. If the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina fails, it’s quite probable the West will do its best to get rid of Thaci and get back to banking on the right hand man who is tried and tested… This is the Pristina’s dimension of negotiation process; any concession to Serbia is construed as an encroachment upon Kosovo’s «sovereignty» and «territorial integrity», something to boost the pre-election standing of Self-determination, a radical nationalistic political movement in the Kosovo. Talking about the «Serbian dimension», it all boils down to the ongoing internal split. 

The talks with Pristina are actually the only way to promote the goal of joining the European Union, while it means nothing for Kosovo Serbs. What they do care about is making the accords match the broader pattern of self – rule structures. The matter is any formal agreement on broader authority for Serbs municipalities reached under the aegis of Brussels simultaneously means their subjugation by central powers in Pristina. In other words – the Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo will become part of de-facto independent Kosovo, but this time with Belgrade’s consent. 

This is crucial for getting grasp of the situation, but do they realize it in Serbia? Probably they do to some extent. It is confirmed by the fact that Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic applies intensive efforts to exchange southern Serbian provinces Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac for Kosovo territories. At that, the idea of European integration continues to dominate the Serbian political elite’s mindset, leaving aside all other considerations. Dacic himself said the goal is to reach an agreement meaning first of all the status of Serbian municipalities in the north of Kosovo. 

Some things are going to come to surface, and, may even have a sobering effect, on April 22. This day the EU's Foreign Policy Chief Baroness Catherine Ashton is due to report to EU foreign ministers on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, the state of negotiation process and chances for the talks based on «compromises». The report will highlight the prospects for Serbia’s European integration. In case the assessment of the prospects is negative, Belgrade may be pushed to reshape its approaches to the Kosovo and other issues, including those related to the ties with the United Sates, the European Union and Russia. Until then, the only thing left is to agree with the information coming from the sources in Brussels, which are saying that the chances for achieving an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo look dimmer now.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.
Northern Kosovo in the Heat of Geopolitical Battle

The issue of achieving an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina is growing beyond the European boundaries to become part of global agenda. According to the sources in the European Union’s headquarters, Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, has made it a key issue of her urgent Balkans tour… 

The European Union and Mrs. Ashton appear to focus their efforts on what they think will be a decisive concession on the part of Kosovo. To be precise, they want Pristina to say yes to the Serbia’s proposals related to the formation of police units and courts in northern Kosovo, and to give a promise that the so-called «Kosovo security force» will not be deployed there «for a certain period of time». According to the Brussels advocated scenario, the concessions on these issues are exactly what could make Belgrade sign the document, something the West strives for. It could also lead to the «normalization of bilateral relations», which will allow the European Union and the United States to call it a day and declare the mission in Kosovo to be successfully accomplished. 

We view it as a palliative approach, which deliberately steers away from the main thing. And the main thing is not the way northern Kosovo police units and courts are formed and function. By far, it’s not the time of «Kosovo security force» deployment, which is unacceptable for Serbs. The core issue is the comprehensive pattern of bilateral relations between Serbia and its mutinous province, which is not recognized as an independent state by Belgrade. 

Agim Çeku is the Minister of Security Forces for the Republic of Kosovo, he has been Prime Minister of Kosovo and a chief of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). It’s important to note, his powers may be expanded vastly and pretty soon. According to Kosovo Albanian sources, Agim Çeku became the main Washington’s proxy as far back as 2006. Tribuna, a Pristina newspaper, said the United States had plans to make him Prime Minister, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, it was Hashim Thaci who took the office. If the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina fails, it’s quite probable the West will do its best to get rid of Thaci and get back to banking on the right hand man who is tried and tested… This is the Pristina’s dimension of negotiation process; any concession to Serbia is construed as an encroachment upon Kosovo’s «sovereignty» and «territorial integrity», something to boost the pre-election standing of Self-determination, a radical nationalistic political movement in the Kosovo. Talking about the «Serbian dimension», it all boils down to the ongoing internal split. 

The talks with Pristina are actually the only way to promote the goal of joining the European Union, while it means nothing for Kosovo Serbs. What they do care about is making the accords match the broader pattern of self – rule structures. The matter is any formal agreement on broader authority for Serbs municipalities reached under the aegis of Brussels simultaneously means their subjugation by central powers in Pristina. In other words – the Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo will become part of de-facto independent Kosovo, but this time with Belgrade’s consent. 

This is crucial for getting grasp of the situation, but do they realize it in Serbia? Probably they do to some extent. It is confirmed by the fact that Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic applies intensive efforts to exchange southern Serbian provinces Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac for Kosovo territories. At that, the idea of European integration continues to dominate the Serbian political elite’s mindset, leaving aside all other considerations. Dacic himself said the goal is to reach an agreement meaning first of all the status of Serbian municipalities in the north of Kosovo. 

Some things are going to come to surface, and, may even have a sobering effect, on April 22. This day the EU's Foreign Policy Chief Baroness Catherine Ashton is due to report to EU foreign ministers on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, the state of negotiation process and chances for the talks based on «compromises». The report will highlight the prospects for Serbia’s European integration. In case the assessment of the prospects is negative, Belgrade may be pushed to reshape its approaches to the Kosovo and other issues, including those related to the ties with the United Sates, the European Union and Russia. Until then, the only thing left is to agree with the information coming from the sources in Brussels, which are saying that the chances for achieving an agreement between Serbia and Kosovo look dimmer now.