‘Mysterious’ non-paper on redrawing borders: Criticism, denial, support, and ignorance

Mapa nonpejper Slovenija
FOTO: News1.mk

„Mapping“, „redrawing borders“, „unification of territories“ – these are just some of the words that echoed throughout the region yesterday after the ‘mysterious’ non-paper on the separation of RS and its annexation to Serbia and the unification of Kosovo and Albania was published. According to the Slovenian-based portal „Necenzurisano,“ the document was reportedly sent from the office of the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa to Brussels. Reactions keep arriving. The Serbian member of the BiH presidency says that the „separation of Kosovo from Serbia is inseparable from the Bosnian state’s survival“. On the other hand, the Serbian president is cautious when it comes to the presented ideas, while also criticizing the „pseudo elite“ because „they think that every time anyone thinks that Serbs should get something, even if it is not true and it does not exist, that they should be beheaded“.

The Macedonians – to whom the non-paper practically does not relate – say they have no knowledge of the redrawing of borders, while the US underlines it respects the territorial integrity of BiH. Bosniak politicians claim Jansa, who was a symbol of the breakup of first Yugoslavia, will provoke a new war and that the ideas from the non-paper will never be realized. Denials are coming from Slovenia, but also the announcement of the cabinet of the Prime Minister of this country that Jansa refuses to comment on anything related to this document „until further notice“.

Yesterday morning, the Slovenian-based portal “Necenzurisano” published the alleged non-paper: „Western Balkans – the road ahead,” reportedly sent in February to Brussels, allegedly by the office of the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa. The paper reportedly reveals ideas for the partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the annexation of the Republika Srpska to Serbia, and the unification of Kosovo with Albania.
“In Kosovo, 95% of the population want to unite with the original Albanian nation. The situation is similar in Albania. The border between Albania (a NATO member) and Kosovo is practically non-existent,“ the document reads.

It adds that the Serbian part of Kosovo would get a special status, following the example of South Tyrol.

“The Serb national issue can be largely solved by annexing part of the Republika Srpska to Serbia. In this case, Serbia is willing to agree to the unification of Kosovo and Albania,“ the document further reads.

Other proposals presented in the document include resolving the Croat issue, the Bosniak issue, and what the European Union needs to do.

The document also envisions steps to implement the plan, including two „already underway“:

„In a silent procedure, the possibilities for implementing the plan are verified with decision-makers in the region“ and „in a silent procedure, support for the plan is verified with decision-makers in the international community“.

After these steps are completed, a comprehensive communication program must be drawn up to present the plan to the general public. The document underlines that the specifics of the Balkans, and the „different atmospheres“ in different parts of it, should be kept in mind.

In case the international partners agree to this, it is the EU that should formalize it and take steps to implement the plan, the document adds, noting that a process of communication with the public, to take bilateral steps, should then follow.
The document stresses that if during the implementation of the diplomacy steps behind closed doors it is determined that the agreement of regional and international decision-makers cannot be guaranteed, the non-paper will remain an informal document.

Immediately after it was published, the „mysterious“ non-player caused a real commotion in the EU, as well as the Western Balkan region.

Fajon: Slovenia is committed to the expansion of the Western Balkans, not separation

The MEP from Slovenia, Tanja Fajon, held a press conference in Ljubljana yesterday, underlining that the alleged author of the „non-paper“, Prime Minister Janez Jansa, should comment on it, bearing in mind that Slovenia will soon take over the presidency of the European Union.

„Slovenia’s role is to advocate for the expansion of the Western Balkans – not separation,“ she said.

Assessing that the Dayton Agreement ended every military conflict and that every problem should be resolved through dialogue, Fajon estimated that the idea of dismantling BiH is dangerous because BiH „has already paid a high price“.

Slovenian Foreign Minister, Anze Logar, previously denied the claims about the non-paper, saying that it was „a manipulation and an attempt to compromise the Government and the President of Slovenia.“

What does the European Union say?

N1 reported yesterday that the European Commission had previously denied the existence of the said document, adding that it was not stated that the non-paper was sent to this Commission, but to the European Council, whose members include all heads of state and government.

The leading European institutions, the Council of the EU, the European Commission, and the European External Action Service (EEAS) refused to comment or confirm the existence of non-paper, the Beta news agency reports today.

The spokesman of the President of the European Council Charles Michel, when asked by the Brussels-based EURACTIV portal whether such a document had reached Michel’s office, either through official or unofficial channels, replied: „I cannot give any comment.“

The European Commission and the EEAS Common Foreign and Security Policy Service, headed by Josep Borrell, said that they knew nothing about the alleged document on redrawing of the Balkan borders.

Changing borders: A dangerous path

A reaction also arrived from Germany this morning. The Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, said that redrawing the borders of the Western Balkans represents a „dangerous path“.

„The countries of the Western Balkans have a future only as a multiethnic and multi-religious society. Regional reconciliation and cooperation is the key to peace, democracy, and prosperity,“ Roth said.

While some regional media claim that the Prime Minister of Slovenia himself denied the media allegations, others report that Jansa commented on the document on several occasions, but also that he never precisely confirmed or denied the claims of its existence.

Jansa, however, also reacted on Twitter last night. Commenting on the news article of the Croatian media „24 sata“ entitled: „Jansa’s plan for the final disintegration of BiH and the division of territories leaked,“ he wrote in English: „Fake map from fake ‘24 sata’“.

Afterward, in a statement for RFE, the office of the Prime Minister of Slovenia announced that Jansa would not be commenting on the so-called non-paper document on the Western Balkans until further notice.

And while the Prime Minister of Slovenia refuses to comment on the allegations about non-paper, the discussion about it spread into other countries of the Western Balkans.

Dodik: Separation of Kosovo from Serbia inseparable from the Bosnian state’s survival; Vucic: I know nothing about the document

The Serbian member of the presidency of BiH, Milorad Dodik, and the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic also commented on the document.

Dodik, who has been publicly advocating for Republika Srpska’s separation from BiH, said in Belgrade yesterday that the separation of Kosovo from Serbia is inseparable from the Bosnian state’s survival.

He says that the idea of a peaceful breakup of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not new and that is a response to BiH’s impossibility to function.

“Everyone is united in the fact that it cannot remain as it is and that if that is the case, then talking about a peaceful breakup is a good thing,“ Dodik said.
He revealed that he came to Belgrade to persuade Vucic of the “peaceful breakup” of BiH.

Unlike Dodik, the President of Serbia took a more cautious stance when commenting on the non-paper.

Vucic revealed that he has no information about this document. He told reporters yesterday that he observed “pronounced chauvinism“ among a part of the Serbian “pseudo-quasi“ elite because “they think that every time anyone thinks that Serbs should get something, even if it is not true and it does not exist, that they should be beheaded.“

“Every day they change our borders, tear Serbia apart and explain how we should accept it because it is wonderful, and when someone thinks to say – ‘let’s try to talk about comprehensive relations in the Balkans’, they say – look at the bastard, what’s he up to now,“ Vucic said.

„Playing with fire – a dangerous adventure“

The first reaction from Pristina also arrived today – from LDK official, Bajram Gecaj.

He wrote in a Facebook post that this plan came to light at the time when the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, was sending messages about unification with Albania.

Gecaj urged Kosovo institutions to react, stating that „playing with fire often proves to be a dangerous adventure.“

Bosniaks: The ideas from the „non-paper“ will never be realized

Bosniak politicians, on the other hand, alleged that Jansa will provoke a new war. BiH presidency members Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic revealed that on March 5th, Slovenian President Borut Pahor unofficially asked them if a peaceful breakup of BiH was possible, N1 reports.

The Vice-President of the House of Representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH and the former Chairman of the Council of Ministers of BiH, Denis Zvizdic (SDA), argued that the ideas from the „non-paper“ about the breakup of BiH will never be realized.

„We read in the media that there is a ‘non-paper’, which was allegedly made in the office of the current Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Jansa, and in which the breakup of BiH is proposed so that the RS entity belongs to Serbia and part of the canton to Croatia. That will be possible when the Slovenian region of Carinthia belongs to Austria, Goriska to Italy, and the entire Piran Bay to Croatia,“ Zvizdic tweeted.

He said that the inviolability of the borders of internationally recognized states is the foundation of the international order.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of BiH, Bisera Turkovic, emphasized that the territorial integrity of BiH is unquestionable.

Macedonians: We have no knowledge of any redrawing of borders in the Balkans

While the Western Balkans countries are debating whether this document came from the office of the Prime Minister of Slovenia, Northern Macedonia reveals that they have no knowledge of the plan to redraw the borders.

Any possible redrawing of borders in the Balkans was not discussed at any of the meetings between the President of Northern Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski and his Slovenian counterpart Borut Pahor in the past period, the Cabinet of the President of Northern Macedonia said in a statement for Radio Free Europe.
They say that, regardless of whether such a document exists or not, the president’s position has been clear for a long time.

„Any redrawing of borders in the Balkans will not contribute to the stabilization of the region. President Pendarovski is convinced that such ideas about redrawing borders in the Balkans will not get the support of the EU. The only path that leads forward to a better life and well-being of citizens and the state is through the fulfillment of necessary reforms, which are crucial for our joining the European family,“ the statement added.

The US supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of BiH established by the Dayton Agreement

The alleged non-paper also piqued the interest of the United States. The US underlined that they support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina – as established by the Dayton Peace Agreement.

A State Department spokesman said that the US values a long-term partnership with Bosnia and Herzegovina, while also noting that it strongly supports the path to EU membership of all interested countries in the Western Balkans, the Voice of America reports.

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