This must sound as a non-starter. More than a decade ago, Serbia proclaimed itself military neutral, first in order to appease the more nationalist, Eurosceptic parties in the government. It has followed the course ever since, both as an aspect and asset of its policy to counter and contest Kosovo’s bid for statehood. Bosnia and Herzegovina lost eight years following its Presidency’s request to activate the Membership Action Plan (MAP). And even if it was reasonable and in line with NATO practice back then, the condition to have all military facilities owned by the state and not by its entities has effectively given Banja Luka an excuse to stall on the issue of membership. Finally in December last year, National Assembly of Republika Srpska (RS) adopted its own Resolution on (protection of constitutional order and) military neutrality. In art. 5 it is explicitly stated that “RS (…) will coordinate any future status with Republic of Serbia as signatory of Dayton Peace Agreement”.
I have been trying to avoid wasting time commenting on the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies call for partition of Kosovo in its ill-considered report ironically entitled “West Side Story.” But the partition idea never seems to die. Last week’s “fake news, wishful thinking” is the latest example of the Belgrade press spinning up the idea. And more than one friend has suggested to me in private that there must be something cooking.
A possible territory swap between Kosovo and Serbia within an agreement on normalisation of their relations would change nothing, said Wolfgang Petritsch, Austrian diplomat and former special envoy for Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
More than 50 organisations and experts on the Balkans have signed an open letter urging Europe and the US not to agree to any territorial swaps between Kosovo and Serbia.
Three former High Representatives for Bosnia and Herzegovina in an open letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini have urged EU member states not to agree to any plans for swapping territory between Serbia and Kosovo.