A comprehensive agreement on the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is necessary. It should guarantee the multiethnic character of Kosovo, and the future of relations between Serbs and Albanians depends on the discourses of Pristina and Belgrade. This was said at a conference on “The Future of the Relations between the Serbs and Albanians” held in North Mitrovica.
Surlić: If there is no agreement, we have a serious problem
Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, Stefan Surlić, believes in reaching an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina and points out that “if it does not happen, we will have a serious problem: at the international level, Kosovo will only increase its frustrations due to the absence of their membership in major international institutions and organizations.”
On the other side, as he explained, Serbian community would internally suffer in a political sense: it would be marginalized and its existence would ultimately be jeopardized.
“Serbia’s crucial interest would be to protect and preserve the Serbian community as a significant social and political element of Kosovo, whereas Pristina`s key interest would be to complete the matter of its sovereignty through membership in major international organizations,” – says Surlić.
According to him, Kosovo’s sovereignty will not be threatened if more rights and greater autonomy for Serbs in Kosovo are provided.
“On the contrary, they will become an integrative part of the society. Neither will Serbia lack sovereignty if the Albanian community in the south of Serbia connects more with Pristina or maybe use textbooks printed in Pristina, or if perhaps the Clinical Hospital Center in Mitrovica operates in full compliance with the health care system of Serbia,”- says Surlić.
“Let`s allow people to live normally and believe in the institutions they have shown trust in so far. It is up to Pristina and Belgrade only to turn that into a political agreement that would formalize cooperation as something desirable, appreciated and something that should provide permanent peace and stability”, said Surlić.
Hodza: I do not see a final solution with these political elites
Civil activist Teuta Hodza says she does not see final solution between Kosovo and Serbia with the existing political elites in Kosovo and Serbia.
“Simply, it is the fact that they are two elites who presented an ancient idea of the exchange of territory and the creation of nation-states: we give places with the Serb majority – we take with the Albanian and we are satisfied. I think that, at the very least, there should have been a change in the political elites”, – said Hodza.
She believes the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina is heading in the wrong direction, since neither side responded to the society needs, emphasizing that the future of the relationship between the Serbs and Albanians depends on the youth.
Sovrlic: The future of the relationship between the Serbs and Albanians depends on the discourse between Belgrade and Pristina
Editor of the “Crno-beli svet” platform, Sanja Sovrlic, says that the future of relations between Serbs and Albanians depends on the public discourse of Belgrade and Pristina.
“If someone has an interest for the relations to be bad, it will be so… If we had a better life, we would not be discussing these issues today, but the manipulation with citizens is much more easier when the society is poor; it is an ideal means of diverting attention from the real problems” – says Sovrlic.
She points out that political crises are often an excuse for the fact that institutions do not do their job and do not deal with the real problems of citizens.
“We continue to have crises that leave ordinary people’s life aside… I see the opportunity to improve the relationship between the Serbs and Albanians in improving the quality of life of citizens”, – says Sovrlic.
Beha: Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia should guarantee multiethnicity of Kosovo
Professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Pristina Adem Beha believes that Kosovo and Serbia should sign a peace agreement that will open a new chapter in relations between Kosovo and Serbia and between Albanians and Serbs.
“Above all, this agreement should guarantee the multiethnic character of the state of Kosovo. The partition and borders redrawing are in contrast to all the investments of the international community since 1999”, – he said.
Beha emphasizes that, if there was a such a project of border redrawing, resettlement, a territory exchange, etc., it would be one of the most disastrous projects in this century in the Balkans, and would automatically become the foundation of a new conflict between Serbs and Albanians, that is, Kosovo and Serbia.
Beha estimates the idea of territory exchange as dangerous for the Serbs themselves, because there is a number of Serbs who would have to leave Kosovo, which, according to him, would destroy all international investments and investments in multiethnic society.
“Mono-ethnic societies are societies that cannot be found anywhere in Europe, and projects of building mono-ethnic societies have always resulted in failures. That is why multiethnic societies exist throughout Europe and that should be the goal of both Serbian and Albanian political elites”, – says professor of FPS from Pristina.
He warns that, if the Ahtisaari plan fails and the “New Border Drawing Project” is applied, then the questions of authority decentralization and the fate of the five Serb municipalities that have received additional powers due to Ahtisaari plan will be raised.
“They (the five municipalities) can no longer be counted on; neither the right to language – which is the essential right for the Serbian community in Kosovo – can be counted on, nor the ten reserved seats in the Assembly of Kosovo”, – said Beha.
“In this situation“, Beha explains, “we are talking about a substantial modification of the framework that granted all these rights – the Ahtisaari Plan that had become the part of Kosovo Constitution and which, more or less, guarantees the multiethnic character of Kosovo.
All this was said at the conference Forum Future on “The Future of the Relations between the Serbs and Albanians” organized by the NGO “Aktiv” from North Mitrovica.
The conference was held within the framework of the project Center for Civic Energy, financially supported by Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (KFOS).