Remarks by the President of the Republic of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi at the Berlin Summit related to the dialogue on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me once again say that I can not sufficiently emphasize the importance of today’s meeting, which is occurring at a very delicate period for the region, and especially of the very tense relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
Despite the fact that the process of normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia resembles a very difficult marathon and full of obstacles, I say that dialogue remains the only way to achieve peace and reconciliation.
Moreover, the 2013 agreement and all the other agreements reached afterwards have improved the lives of citizens of both states.
Unfortunately, not all the reached agreements have been fully implemented.
Serbia has failed to implement the Energy and Integrated Border Management (IBM) agreement and has made it impossible to open the bridge over the Ibër River in Mitrovica, which unites the divided city and the citizens.
Also, with its destructive actions, Serbia has made it impossible for Kosovo to implement in practice the Agreement for the Establishment of the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities in Kosovo in accordance with the 2013 Brussels Agreement and the Decision of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo.
The Management Team for the compilation of the draft statute of the Association, which consists of representatives of the Serb community living in Kosovo, in accordance with the instructions and recommendations of Serbia, has deliberately failed to perform its work in accordance with the Agreement.
Of course, Serbia continues to accuse Kosovo of not implementing this agreement in practice, but it should be clear to all that the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo are ready to implement it without any delay, but always in accordance with the Agreement and the Decision of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo.
I believe that it is clear to all of you why Serbia doesn’t want the Association to be established as foreseen by the Agreement and the Decision of the Constitutional Court.
The goal is clear, in the northern part of Kosovo, Serbia wants to establish an Association of Serbian Municipalities with executive powers, the same as the Republika Srpska model in Bosnia.
This can not happen in Kosovo and today I once again reiterate that there won’t be an Association with executive powers or a level of third power.
Now let me return to the current situation about the dialogue and the possibilities of reaching a final agreement.
We are all witnesses that the dialogue is currently blocked.
There are several factors that have brought this hopeless situation, but I’m just mentioning some of them.
Firstly, Serbia unilaterally conditioned the continuation of the dialogue with the abolition of the tax on Serbian products imposed by Kosovo.
This action is unacceptable and contrary to the leading principle of dialogue that has been respected since 2011, which implies that the dialogue is unconditional.
The imposition of the tax was an indispensable and legitimate decision in response to Serbia’s repeated and documented violations of CEFTA. As such, it remains in effect.
Secondly, let me say that our joint efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement have been undermined and opposed incomprehensibly in some ways.
Despite the will of the mediator of the dialogue, Ms. Federica Mogherini, and my willingness and the willingness of President Vućiq to work seriously towards a comprehensive final agreement, support lacked both internationally and regionally.
The international factor, specifically, the Quint states, the USA, England, Germany, France and Italy have not shown unity and support for our efforts for a comprehensive agreement.
This disunity has had very negative reflections on the political spectrum in Kosovo and as a result we have had controversial positions and great difficulties in establishing the Comprehensive Negotiating Team in Kosovo.
With all the greatest respect for you, Chancellor Merkel, President Macron, I am skeptical that a comprehensive final agreement can be reached if the Quint states aren’t united and if they do not speak with one voice.
Moreover, you all know that the agreement is impossible without the decisive role of the USA.
Thirdly, the neighboring states in the region, with any small exception, haven’t proved to be helpful at all to our efforts.
Thus, while in our bilateral meetings they have supported our efforts for an agreement, the bitter truth is that in the meetings they have held with the Quint states, including Germany and France, the states from the region have expressed contradiction (in my groundless view) towards reaching a comprehensive agreement.
The fundamental opposition of some Quint states against our efforts for comprehensive agreement (and of the aforementioned states from the Western Balkans) has been justified and focused on a single issue, the one of the border demarcation between Kosovo and Serbia, or in some cases of border correction.
This is done intentionally, to increase fears that we are allegedly trying to change the boundaries of the Balkans, that we are allegedly want borders along ethnic lines, etc.
Political opponents in Kosovo have accused me of allegedly being pro the partition of Kosovo, and some Western diplomats for allegedly creating new ethnic boundaries in the Balkans.
These claims have been and are completely wrong.
To the ones who have hurried to attack me so low by hiding behind some misguided principles I say that if today we are afraid of the truth and behave as if being principled without offering a solution, preferring to freeze the conflict instead of solving it tomorrow we can face extremely destructive options that lead to the separation or creation of a new Serb Republic in the north of Kosovo.
We have worked on a comprehensive agreement which among the many points I will address should also have a special point for the demarcation of the border, which should be done by experts of this field.
I am sure that regardless of the fact when and how an agreement will be reached between Kosovo and Serbia, the demarcation of the border between the two states is simply inevitable. We know this from our experience with Montenegro, but we also know from Croatia’s own experience with Slovenia or of Albania with Greece on the maritime boundary (and if I’m not wrong also on the land border).
However, I am afraid that the positive momentum that has existed only a few months ago is being lost and I am skeptical that it can come back quickly.
But Kosovo remains committed to this process and the Kosovar political spectrum is completely unified in its attitudes.
- We are constructive and ready for unconditional dialogue at any moment.
- The state sovereignty of Kosovo is and remains inviolable.
- Serbia must recognize Kosovo’s independence and renounce from the violation of our sovereignty.
- Kosovo will not compromise with Serbia in exchange for recognition.
- The Association of Serb-majority Municipalities in Kosovo should be established in accordance with the Brussels Agreement and the Decision of the Constitutional Court, respectively the laws of Kosovo.
- The claims or dreams of whomsoever that in the North of Kosovo an Association with executive powers, of the Republika Srpska model, can be established, will never be realized.
- There can be no solution of the German-German model and of a double sovereignty.
- Kosovo has completed all its compromises by accepting the Comprehensive Ahtisaari Plan.
- Kosovo responsibly and legitimately will be interested and support the aspirations of Albanians living in the Presheva Valley.
Kosovo is ready for a final comprehensive agreements for normalization and reconciliation with Serbia.
Thank you for Your attention!