The process intended to normalize Belgrade-Pristina relations serves only the political elites and is not leading to improvements in the lives of ordinary citizens, the participants in a debate on Kosovo and Serbia said.
The war in Kosovo and the bombing of Serbia were tragedies but what is happening now is a farce, Bojan Elek of the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy told the debate on the second day of the Mirëdita, Dobar Dan festival.
The festival is organized as an exchange of ideas between artists and people involved in cultural activities in Belgrade and Pristina.
“The same political elites who were in office during the war are still in power and they benefit from being involved in the normalization of relations and the dialogue in order to remain in power,” the Kosovska Mitrovica native said, adding that the elites normalized their relations long ago but that the populations are nowhere near that point.
As proof of his claim he cited the ban on a women’s handball team from Kosovo playing in a major international tournament in Serbia proper while the Pristina and Belgrade delegations played a football match in Brussels.
Kosovo2.0 journalists Heraldin Fazlin said that “hypocrisy is present in both governments which is why we can’t have a true normalization of relations”.
“The final stage of the negotiations are being discussed in Kosovo and in Serbia and we don’t know how they got to the end,” he said and added that there is no discussion about the unresolved issue of 1,670 persons missing from the war.
The streets leading to the festival venue, the Center for Cultural Decontamination (CZKD) are closed with a strong police presence deployed. Mirëdita, Dobar Dan opened on Wednesday evening and will go on until June 2. The festival opened despite the protests of several ultra-nationalist organizations who gathered on the streets leading to the CZKD.
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