A dialogue simulation is taking place in Brussels and all participants are aware of this. The Brussels dialogue has hit a dead end. On one hand, there is a virtual image of media-political reality, while on the other it is contrasted to the reality in the field. The disassembly of the virtual image, of the normalization of the relationship is at work, KoSSev editor Tatjana Lazarevic, assessed during the Day Live (Dan Uživo) political talk-show on TV N1.
„Diplomats will say that we are now witnessing the epilogue and denouement, while there is an entirely opposite situation in the field. When one enters the final phase of a dialogue and agreement, there has to be a set of preconditions clearly indicating the approach to the final solution. Here we have two sides that have never been farther apart, deeply polarized and destabilized societies, two delegations exercising a negative approach towards each other. This does not resemble negotiation. There is a non-normalization in the field in essence, while, at the same time we discuss the so-called normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, or Serbia and Kosovo, as Pristina says,“ Lazarevic explained.
Kosovo Serbs perceive the situation realistically but are disoriented
„For the last two decades, Kosovo Serbs have been very realistic in their perception of the situation in the field. I’m not saying that’s good. In addition to the pessimism they show, they are currently very confused, I would even say, genuinely disoriented. While seeing one reality with their own eyes, they get a completely different message from TV (media). They fully acknowledge that the situation in the field is far from a satisfactory legally binding agreement – or whatever it is called, but at the same time they are not ruling out the possibility that such an epilogue will soon come and they will be the ones to suffer further.”
The biggest fear – an ad-hoc violent solution
„What the Kosovo Serb community is most afraid of is an ad hoc violent solution, or a repetition of the tragic events that took place on January 16th, which might speed up the solution of the so-called final agreement. They are certainly terribly worried about a series of alarming warnings coming from state leadership in Belgrade. I recall a series of shocking warnings by our President, as Serbs from Kosovo interpret it – that violence is imminent and it is these types of messages that discourage them from thinking of any positive results from the final agreement.”
Lazarevic added, that in her opinion the Serbian side seems to be in need of additional time, while, at the same time, there is impatience by the international interlocutors; i.e., the manner in which the Brussels process has been lead to date, will not be tolerated for long.
Every normal man will welcome the dialogue. Every dialogue is better than the absence of discussion
The Brussels process so far – harmful to Serbs from Kosovo and other citizens
Responding to the question, how much such incitement could hurt Serbian interests?, Lazarevic said that from the point of view of the Serbs from Kosovo, the Brussels process so far is seen as having „direct damage“ inflicted on Serbs and other citizens in Kosovo.
„I essentially mean something that could fit in one sentence: the Serbian state, after its return and a century of existence in Kosovo and Metohija, through the First Framework Agreement on the normalization of relations and the set of the so-called technical agreements abolished itself formally and de facto from Kosovo. You will find it hard to find any Serbian citizen from Kosovo who will say that the Brussels process has protected Serbia’s interest,“ said Lazarevic.
It is also questionable that neither Belgrade nor Pristina have achieved a broad national consensus in their societies:
„Both Pristina and Belgrade negotiating delegations are currently facing strong criticism that no broad national consensus has been reached – either in Kosovo or in central Serbia – for high-level national and state interests, as well as geopolitical interests which the two delegations have negotiated. From that point of view the interests are questionable; therefore, it is debatable what state interest is Serbia defending in Brussels,“ she pointed out.
The absence of a broad consensus as a visible obstacle has surfaced only after the announcement of the so-called legally binding agreement, while Kosovo Serbs and other communities were aware of it from the start of the Brussels process, explained Lazarevic, adding:
„Serbs and other communities were not de facto and substantially involved in the consensus to achieve a package of agreements that were presented ‘in the best spirit to normalize the relations between the two nations’, which would be the first sign that Serbia truly wanted to reach a compromise.“
Kosovo authorities have failed the test in the protection of Serbs
She also had the same criticism for Pristina:
„Since the 1990s, the Kosovo authorities have been failing the test in convincing the Serbian community that they are creating a society where there is room for a significant Serb minority. They failed the test in showing true tolerance and their desire to achieve a genuine compromise with the Serb community.“
The term „compromise“ is alienated, thus, to Kosovo Serbs, due to the fact that „a high-level political agenda is being realized exclusively between the Belgrade and Pristina delegations with the essential absence of Serbian citizens from Kosovo, she said.
The Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) – less for more. Now – the last space for maneuver
Responding to the question, how important the topic of the CSM is to citizens in everyday life?, Lazarevic said that it is „a clash of realities“.
On the one hand, the process was formally unblocked after the Kosovo government formed a Management Team. It „meets every once in a while“ for photo opportunities – an „anemic image“ and press releases written in the future tense.
„This story is nowhere near a reality,“ KoSSev editor said.
„It will never, even if and when it is formed, for Kosovo Serbs be no more than – less for more. It is something that needs to replace the dismantling of Serbian institutions, while, on the other hand, there may still be some maneuvering space created,“ was Lazarevic’s take on reality.
„If such an organisation (Community) is truly formed, which will, on one hand, defend the interests of Kosovo Serbs from a quite likely marginalisation by, an often intolerant majority Albanian population, and, on the other hand, while imposing itself in Kosovo central and local institutions as a true partner, and build a partnership with them, it seems to me that this may be the last chance, in these times, where the Serbian negotiating delegation can find its last maneuvering space.“
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