Former Bosnia Governors Condemn Kosovo-Serbia Land Swap

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.

Carl Bildt, Paddy Ashdown, and Christian Schwarz-Schilling on a Wednesday in an open letter expressed deep concern about suggestions made by EU officials that they may be willing to support an agreement between Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci, that involves the transfer of territory between Serbia and Kosovo through “border corrections”.

According to the three former High Representatives for Bosnia and Herzegovina, this solution will not solve divisions but would deepen them instead.

“We know the EU and Europe well enough to know that ... sustainable peace can only come when we learn to live in multi-ethnic communities, rather than re-drawing borders to create mono-ethnic ones," the letter notes.

The former international governors of Bosnia stress that while comparisons between Bosnia and Kosovo are not suitable, they are worried about the possible effects of a Kosovo deal on Bosnia.

"This will give comfort and support to those who would break up the country, who are already calling for a return to the status quo ante Dayton [the 1995 peace agreement ending the 1992-5 war in Bosnia], unraveling all we and our Bosnian partners have worked for over more than two decades," the letter says.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci, said on Saturday that it was time to make a new history with a deal between Kosovo and Serbia, underlining the importance of EU integration for both countries.

“It is time for us to make a new history,” Thaci said, speaking on a panel with Vucic at the European Alpbach political forum in Austria.

Territorial swaps between Kosovo and Serbia have not been raised officially in talks but would potentially concern the northern, mainly Serbian part of Kosovo and some majority-Albanian districts of southern Serbia.

Donald Trump adviser John Bolton recently said the US would not stand in the way of such an agreement, and advised Europe to do so either.