Dacic: Kosovo issue can be resolved by Serbia and Albania

ivica dacic
Foto: Mondo, Stefan Stojanović

“From the aspect of international law, an agreement between Serbia and Albania would be cleaner than the recognition of Pristina’s unilateral decisions,” Serbian Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic stated yesterday, adding that these two countries can solve the Kosovo issue with “compromise and in a mutually acceptable way.”

Dacic spoke about the regional cooperation between Serbia and Albania at a press conference held yesterday, during which he claimed that relations between Serbs and Albanians should be resolved in cooperation with the Republic of Albania and that the solution achieved in that way would be “cleaner in relation to international law.” Only a few days earlier, the minister shocked the public by announcing that delimitation was one of Belgrade’s official ideas for solving the Kosovo issue.

Dacic wrote in an op-ed for Belgrade-based Blic in July 2017 that the delimitation of “what is Serbian and what is Albanian is the only possible permanent compromise solution,” with churches and monasteries receiving a special status and with the Association of Serb municipalities in the south. Dacic’s op-ed was published only a week before the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic also wrote an op-ed for the same daily newspaper, calling for internal dialogue on Kosovo.

“My personal opinion is that all the problems between the Serbian and the Albanian people should have been resolved directly in talks with the Republic of Albania from the beginning. The Albanian national minority in Yugoslavia is the minority of Albania. That is why we found ourselves in bedlam today,” Dacic stated, adding that “they (official Pristina) will say that they are part of the official policy of the Albanian people at one point, while at some other point they will say that Albania has no right to interfere with Pristina’s decision.” He also emphasized that his last words, unlike the rest of his speech, “did not pass through the Foreign Ministry filter – they did not write it for me.”

The solutions reached between Serbia and Albania would be “cleaner in relation to the international law, rather than going through the line of recognition of Pristina’s 2008 unilateral decisions” – he claimed.

Dacic remarked that relations between Serbs and Albanians have been burdened by the issues of Kosovo for decades, as well as “the aspiration of the Albanian factor in the region as a whole.”

“We agree to disagree about the most difficult open issue but we can also agree that we will discuss this in the future,” he said.

Dacic nevertheless sees room for co-operation, although, as he claimed, “the term divide and conquer, divide et impera, was nowhere else so well rooted as it was in the relations between the Serbs and Albanians during the Ottoman Empire, but also after the two nations gained independence, and today especially.”

“I do not think that the interests of the Serbian and Albanian people are opposed, a common denominator just needs to be found,” he said, adding that Kosovo is this common interest, but also other issues.

“I sincerely believe that we can successfully and with compromise, in a mutually acceptable and sustainable way, solve not only the issue in which we are very interested and which is currently burdening us but also that we will together solve all the challenges we face – the departure of young people and professionals, corruption and organized crime, terrorism, radicalism and extremism, migration, and the like,” he underlined.

The Foreign Minister emphasized that he came to the conference after a meeting of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Government of Republika Srpska.

“I came from a session of the two governments – the Republic of Serbia and the Republika Srpska. I do not mention it by chance, I also mentioned it because when we talk about Albania, we certainly should talk about Kosovo. Likewise, it is probably clear to everyone that when we talk about Serbia, we should talk about Republika Srpska. Our approach is not to destabilize Bosnia and Herzegovina, to preserve peace and stability, and I would be grateful if everyone had such an approach regarding some other regional issues,” Dacic stated.

After remarking that the countries of the region find too much joy in each other’s failures, he also mentioned the vote for Kosovo’s membership in INTERPOL, after which relations between Belgrade and Pristina rapidly deteriorated.

“I will go to a ball afterwards to reconcile with Strache about that INTERPOL vote,” Dacic said.

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