Don’t Break the Principles

With the ongoing Balkan Summit in Albania #MiniSchengen, as we wait for the dialogue with Pristina to be resumed, please check out the latest report issued by the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) in Belgrade regarding the relations between Belgrade and Pristina and possible ways towards their formalization - Don't Break the Principles.

This report comes in the wake of unexpectedly strong feedback and demands for more updated facts and comparative analysis we received after the recently published open letter by Jelena Milic, CEAS Director, to Albin Kurti, likely the new Kosovo Prime Minister. The letter was inspired by a series of Mr. Kurti’s  statements insisting that “the genocide, massacres and mass graves are the truths about Serbia that Vučić (Aleksandar Vučić, Serbian President) needs to start addressing”.

In the report Don’t Break the Principles, CEAS  among other things, reminds the readers of the following facts regarding the past cooperation with international courts and their key rulings:

"Even after the assassination of the Prime Minister Đinđić (killed by anti ICTY structures), Serbia continued its cooperation with The Hague Tribunal, through the mandate of the Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica. Six active army and police generals and two former presidents had been extradited to The Hague, mostly for the crimes committed against Albanian civilians in Kosovo. They were followed by Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić, respectively the military and political head of Republika Srpska – an entity which is a part of another state, Bosnia and Herzegovina, not Serbia, responsible for the siege of Sarajevo and the genocide in Srebrenica. According to decision of the Permanent Court of Justice, Serbia was found guilty of the failure to prevent, and not of committing the genocide in Srebrenica."

CEAS holds that the Kosovo leaders are now those who actually deviate from the principles (of facing the recent criminal past) and lack political courage and leadership:

"Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić offered peaceful cooperation to NATO in order to calm down the rebellion of the Liberation Army of Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa in southern Serbia and at the same time released Albanian political prisoners from Serbian prisons, including yourself, in spite of facing almost impossible political circumstances at home…Goran Svilanović, who was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Government at the time, also contributed significantly to these processes and he also paid a high political price for sticking to this policy, just like the late Prime Minister Đinđić. This is what it means to uphold good principles and be a true leader. Aleksandar Vučić, the current president of Serbia, also finds himself in a tough position when it comes to maintaining the political majority while seeking a compromise with Pristina that could be democratically validated, and nonetheless he is pushing for it. We do not see any of this in Kosovo 2019-2020….. Mr. Kurti, if you take power in Kosovo, you will have to cooperate with the Specialist Chambers, which already have conducted a considerable number of interviews. The indictments and extraditions will follow soon. You will have a chance to see what it means to extradite while you oppose strong resistance against enforcement of the accepted obligations and have to deal with a conspiracy of silence within the security system and lack of support of the general public. Only then will you face the challenges that Serbia is beginning to leave behind."

CEAS maintains that the recent "debate" launched by Kosovo leaders about the mass graves of the past is full of inaccuracies and false analogies. Other actions of theirs also could lead to a stalemate in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and have a number of serious downsides, including the following:

"At this moment it is not the position of official Belgrade but your radical stance that is clearing the way for  Russia’s malignant influence and obstruction of stabilization and democratization of the entire region."

In this report CEAS reiterated:

"We strongly  believe that the deal (between Belgrade and Pristina) is a matter of greatest urgency because continuation of the unresolved status is draining enormous energy from the Serbian society and depriving it not only of energy but also media space, for which reason some other issues of crucial importance for the state of democracy in Serbia and the EU accession process cannot receive much needed attention. The same goes for Kosovo. People there also have voted for a change and expect that the new government will combat corruption and strive to develop economy. However, as long as there is no agreement with Belgrade and the status is not resolved, the new Kosovo government will not be in position to focus on these issues either. Continuation of the talks and reaching of a compromise agreement between Belgrade and Pristina through dialogue are the matter of highest urgency for both sides."

Belgrade, December 2019

Dont Break the Principles CEAS Report

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