Bolton: Serbian and Kosovo leaders discussed land swap

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo discussed the possibility of a land swap as a solution to the Kosovo issue as early as 2018, the former White House security advisor, John Bolton told the FPA.

The former White House adviser spoke about the land swap idea and the solution to the Kosovo issue while talking about his new book „The Room Where it Happened“ for the FPA.

The discussion about Kosovo starts at the 21:30 mark.

“In the case of Kosovo and Serbia, there were indications as early as 2018 that the leaders wanted to get these questions resolved because they saw that they couldn’t really get a dependable economic growth and stability until their relations were normalized. This was very controversial inside both of these countries, but it seemed to me to be worth the effort. And one of the things they were discussing was the possibility of a land swap,” Bolton said.

He added that this idea was greeted with dismay by Germany, Western Europe, as well as in parts of the Balkans.

“In parts of the Balkans, in Germany, places in western Europe, that was greeted with dismay because they feared that a land swap there might lead to land swaps elsewhere. This happens in history.”

Bolton spoke about the desire of the governments in Belgrade and Pristina to „quietly negotiate“ on the land swap back in 2018, noting that the United States does not rule out this idea as a solution.

„The US policy is that if the two parties can work it out between themselves and reach agreement, we don’t exclude territorial adjustments,“ the then White House security advisor, John Bolton, said at the time.

 He also ruled out the possibility that anyone in Europe would try to „prevent this if the two sides in the dispute reach a mutually satisfactory solution.“

Bolton thus practically confirmed that ethnic partition, that is, ethnic delimitation or land swap between Serbs and Albanians is being discussed – something the two presidents have been denying all along.

At the same time, while denying land swap talks, both presidents made public statements confirming that they support such an outcome of the Kosovo issue.

For several years now, both Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci have been speaking in favor of the land swap idea – the so-called ​​“delimitation“ idea, according to Vucic or „border correction“, as Thaci calls it.

During the late spring, summer and autumn of 2018, Thaci had a series of public appearances during which he sent messages about the joining of three municipalities from south Serbia with Kosovo, on the other hand, the same period was marked with a lack of reaction from Serbian officials.

Thaci presented the latest series of such statements just before the scheduled meeting in Washington on June 27th, where the Belgrade and Pristina delegations were set to meet under the auspices of the US Special Envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Richard Grenell. In several interviews, Thaci stated that he „dreams of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja joining Kosovo“, but at the same time he denied that a land swap had ever been discussed, especially in Washington.

The meeting in Washington, however, was canceled two days before it was scheduled to take place, after the Special Prosecutor’s Office revealed that it had submitted a war crimes indictment with the Specialist Chambers against Thaci, the head of the PDK, Kadri Veseli and other persons.

Despite speaking in favor of „delimitation with the Albanians“, Vucic has also been persistently denying that there is any land swap agreement, as well as that it had ever been discussed.

He recently said that he had never received a land swap offer – to swap villages in the municipalities in northern Kosovo for municipalities in southern Serbia – Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac.

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