Open Letter 'Implores' EU, US, to Reject Partition

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.

Intellectuals, experts and organisations from the Balkans and abroad have signed an open letter calling for the rejection of proposals to resolve the Kosovo-Serbia dispute through a “border correction”.

“We implore the EU, its member states, and the United States to reconsider – including through their legislative bodies – their position on such a return to ethnification of polities and frontiers,” the letter reads.

Among the 51 signatories are Balkan experts, scholars and former diplomats, including Florian Bieber, Wolfgang Ischinger, Erwan Fouéré, Adriatik Kelmendi, Marko Attila Hoare, Jasmin Mujanovic, Veton Surroi, Toby Vogel, Bodo Weber and others.

Organisations that have signed the appeal include the Humanitarian Law Centre of Kosovo, the election watchdog GONG from Croatia, the Foreign Policy Initiative BH from Bosnia and the Pristina-based youth organisation TOKA.

The letter says the effect of border changes in the direction of ethnic homogeneity will have a damaging impact on Kosovo, its immediate neighborhood, and the wider region.

“Furthermore, it will be seen as giving international license to a brand of ‘big man’ politics that should have long since been banished from the region. The citizens of the entire region will suffer the impact of such a deal, whatever its modalities,” the signatories warn.

Serbia's President, Aleksandar Vucic, is thought to be pushing for a territorial swap as a way to finally resolve the dispute and so move on with Serbia's EU membership aspirations.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci recently said that he would raise the issue of “border correction” in negotiations with Serbia.

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.