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"Serbia must make no more concessions to Kosovo separatists"

A few days ago, the Serb List party of Kosovo Serbs decided to break away from the “government” of Kosovo and to form a Community of Serb Municipalities in line with the Brussels Agreement signed in 2013. The “president” and the “prime minister” of Kosovo Hasim Taci and Ramush Haradinaj reacted by deciding to form a group that would draft the charter of the community. In an interview with EADaily , member of the Serbian Zavetnici party Danijel Igrec has explained what risks the Kosovan leaders’ decision implies.

First of all, we need to understand what the Community of Serb Municipalities is, what structure it has and what it can give to the Serbs living in Kosovo.

The agreement to form such a community was signed in 2015 and is based on the Brussels Agreement of 2013. It says that all mostly Serb municipalities of Kosovo should have the right to unite into a community that will have own legal authority within Kosovo and will exercise control over health care, social security, urban construction and education in its member municipalities. But all the provisions in this agreement are ambiguous and imply that all the legal and executive powers should remain in the hands of the “central authorities” in Pristina.

This enables the Pristina authorities to impose their own terms. In their opinion, the Community of Serb Municipalities should be established by their “Constitutional Court,” should have no significant powers and should be under their feet. In other words, they see it as some “folk group,” a kind of an NGO within their “independent state.” You can find the same in Martti Ahtisaari’s plan, a document that underpinned the so-called constitution of “independent” Kosovo.

If implemented, this plan would push forward the proposals rejected by Serbia and the UN Security Council in 2007 and would give the Kosovo Albanians full control over the north part of Kosovo and Metohija. The Kosovo Serbs would be granted some “fake” self-governance but in reality would lose their last chance to govern their own territory.

So, the last statement by the Kosovo leaders means nothing but an attempt to deceive the Serbs: to offer Belgrade a good bait in glossy packs and to get two benefits as a result: their “own” initiative to create a community of Serb municipalities would devaluate the Kosovo Serbs’ project and would present them as a party ready for concessions. In exchange, they would force Serbia to agree to Kosovo’s membership to the UN – something that would legalize Kosovo’s “independence.”

For six years already, Serbia has been a hostage to Kosovo and its western patrons. We have been implementing the Brussels Agreement unlike the Kosovo separatists, who have been reluctant to form the community. Their last steps against Serbian officials in the north of Kosovo have shown that they have no wish to comply with the agreement. Their goal is not to reach a compromise with Serbia but to force it to de jure recognize their independence. Here they enjoy full support from the EU, who does not seem to be ready to be impartial in this process and to guarantee the Kosovo Serbs peace and security.

So, the only way for Serbia is to stop making concessions and to insist that Kosovo should have no more authority to negotiate in Brussels. The Kosovo authorities have proved their separatist and terrorist nature, so, it would be a treason on Belgrade’s part to continue any talks with them.

Instead, we must put this issue on a global level and must try to strengthen our negotiating position.

For this purpose, we should involve in the negotiating process our strategic allies, Russia and China, as UN SC permanent members, and also the countries that share our position that the Kosovo problem cannot be solved unless the interests of Serbia are respected. The Serbs are ready to support any new format of the talks provided that it is based on the international law and the UN SC’s Resolution 1244 on Kosovo. Only this format can produce a solution that would serve Serbia’s state and national interests.

In this light, the Community of Serb Municipalities may become Serbia’s new argument in its fight against the pseudo state of Kosovo and its attempts to occupy the north of the region. But the final goal of Serbia must be to restore its sovereignty over the whole territory of Kosovo and Metohija and the Community will be just the first step towards this end.

Nobody can prohibit Serbia from regarding the Community as an autonomy within the autonomy of Kosovo and Metohija. It is important that the Kosovo Serbs should form that community on their own initiative in compliance with Resolution 1244. This will be a guarantee that in future the Community will be able to become independent from the self-proclaimed Kosovo and to transform into a legal political entity, an administrative-territorial unit with wide executive and legislative powers and close institutional ties with Serbia.

In fact, this is the only chance for Serbia to get back Serbian state institutions (administrative, legal and law enforcement) in Kosovo and Metohija. The Community must become the first step in the process to destroy the pseudo state of Kosovo and to place that region back under the jurisdiction of Belgrade. This is not a chance but a duty for Serbia.

We must decide whether we want to resist this pressure or to celebrate one more “Brussels victory,” which in fact will be one more national defeat for us now that we must allow no more defeats.

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