Translation provided by KoSSev
At present, it is not the time to continue the dialogue, while Serbia certainly should not be trusted in this process. Germany’s position that a comprehensive agreement implies mutual recognition should be adopted by official Brussels instead of it referring to the process as „normalization“ – the acting president of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani said on the topic of the Brussels negotiation process. In an interview with Deutsche Welle in Albanian, Osmani spoke about the Special Court, alleging that it was adopted because the alternative was „more frightening“ as it involved an „attack on Kosovo’s statehood.“
The President of the Kosovo Assembly, Vjosa Osmani took over the duty of President of Kosovo on November 5, when the then President, Hashim Thaci resigned and surrendered to EULEX, acting on an arrest warrant issued by the Specialist War Crimes Chambers in The Hague.
She will hold this post until the Kosovo Assembly elects a new president, but no longer than a period of 6 months.
Together with Thaci, Kadri Veseli and Rexhep Selimi traveled to The Hague on the same day over the indictments of war crimes and crimes against humanity issued against them, while Jakup Krasniqi did the same the day earlier.
Veer away from the dialogue, especially because Lajcak demanded constitutional changes
In an interview with DW, Osmani emphasized that Kosovo had not been left without institutions, but that the situation is different and that it is not the time to continue the dialogue bearing in mind the current circumstances.
“I think that due to the current events, now is not the time to continue the dialogue immediately. Kosovo institutions should take some time, consult with each other, create a much more unified position on dialogue, because it is necessary that everyone who negotiates on behalf of Kosovo, for the fate of Kosovo, presents a more unified stance of the political spectrum than just the coalition it represents,” she said.
She also called for a revision of the current negotiation process – review of what was negotiated, how it was negotiated, what was achieved. The acting Kosovo president added that finding out via Brussels what is being negotiated should be avoided.
Osmani recalled that the Kosovo Assembly „made it clear what the red lines“ of the dialogue are – „sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state and the internal organization of Kosovo.“
No one is allowed to negotiate the creation of a third force. The government must also be extremely careful not to fall into such traps that Serbia is setting by opening these topics in Brussels, ostensibly only formally, but which then turn into new compromises for the Republic of Kosovo. We who have been following the dialogue for a long time have seen how they got here. But mistakes must not be repeated
On the contrary, she warned that one should not go to Brussels just for the sake of signing and formalities and called for a departure from the process.
„Unity is necessary, but we must take a step back in the dialogue process, especially after the recent statements of Mr. Lajcak, who asked Kosovo to push through the amendment of the Constitution because of the Association (ASM). Therefore, the political and institutional leaders of Kosovo should sit down to confirm in detail their views on these topics, and not just say that the Constitution is the guide. The constitution has always been the guiding principle. So far, we have signed 33 agreements, many of which have violated the Constitution, especially the document signed in Brussels on the Association from 2015,“ she told DW.
According to Osmani, she will personally support any document „which is in the best interest of Kosovo and which promotes the international subjectivity of Kosovo, but does not diminish our statehood or internal regulations.“
Osmani alleged that Kosovo has made enough compromises since Ahtisaari’s package, while Serbia has not made any concessions.
„We are making endless concessions in the hope that they will allegedly recognize us and in the end, they will behave with these latest agreements like they did in 2007, 2008. I believe that is the wrong approach. Serbia simply cannot be trusted. Anyone who has historically monitored the way they behave in foreign policy, how they sign agreements, regardless of who they sign them with, should know that the main characteristic of Serbia is that they cannot be trusted. They do not possess credibility, as the institutions I am talking about, as political leaders, they do not keep their word and they do not respect what they signed. That is why nothing else should be expected from Serbia in this case.“
When asked about the expectations from the future president of the USA, Joe Biden, regarding the dialogue, she replied that the dynamics were never the problem of the dialogue, but the attitudes and the fact that the dialogue would possibly be accelerated would not mean much if it goes in the wrong direction again.
„During the Trump administration, Mr. Bolton was a national security adviser. He supported the idea of border changes – one of the most dangerous ideas historically for our region, and not just for Kosovo. It created a situation in which the entire political scene in the country had mistrust in the dialogue. This idea was even postponed for two years, but it brought Kosovo into a very precarious position, when former Prime Minister Haradinaj was forced to introduce a tax on Serb goods, to create an additional obstacle to stop this topic.“
On the other hand, while Joe Biden was the vice president of the USA, the US approach was very clear, said Osmani, adding that the US side did not insist on discussing the borders at the time.
„Therefore, I expect this again from the new administration, the Biden administration, because Mr. Biden knows the past in Kosovo very well. He knows the context. He knows that it is not possible to equate what Serbia did in Kosovo and what individuals may have done. He knows full well that Serbia has committed the most heinous crimes against humanity in the country, including genocide, and he was one of those people who stood by Kosovo when few diplomats or politicians were our voice. He was our voice at a time when we didn’t have one.“
Osmani also sees the position of Germany, which expects a comprehensive agreement to resolve the issue of recognition, as a necessary part of the process.
„Although Germany put it clearly, there are states and certain officials who do not call it by its true name – mutual recognition, but are instead calling it normalization. Of course, Kosovo is in a dialogue for mutual recognition, but not just mutual recognition, but mutual recognition within the current borders and with the internal state regulations we have with the current constitution of Kosovo without any changes,“ she said, adding that it was important for Germany’s stance to be adopted by other EU countries, especially the institutions of the European Union, i.e. Brussels.
She also expressed gratitude to Germany because, in her words, „it played a crucial role in preventing dangerous ideas and dangerous adventures of border change.“
The court is an international obligation, Kosovo had only adopted it
Speaking about the numerous criticisms of the Specialist Chambers coming from the Kosovo public, related to what is seen as one-sidedness, i.e. „monoethnicity“ of the court and the fact that there is no justice for the crimes committed by Serbia in Kosovo, Osmani underlined that all these points have been discussed in the Assembly, but that the Special Court was nevertheless adopted as it is.
„In the end, at the insistence of the then government – the government of LDK and PDK, or more precisely a coalition between Mr. Thaci and Mr. Mustafa, both of them as the leaders of the coalition were the ones who insisted that a Special Court should be formed at any cost. Because, as we were told then as MPs, the second option would be much more horrifying, and that would be the establishment of a Special Court by the United Nations, where the laws of Kosovo would not be recognized, we would go back to the time of UNMIK, whereby the United Nations would be given additional powers in the field of justice and foreign policy,“ she told DW.
Osmani described this alternative as an „attack on Kosovo’s statehood“ and the reason why two-thirds of the MPs decided to support the establishment of Specialist Chambers and the amendment of the Constitution.
„Despite the arguments being presented now, this Court is an international obligation that Kosovo undertook by ratifying the international agreement at the time between President Jahjaga and the European Union,“ she said.
Addressing the criticism of the fact that the Special Court only investigates Albanians, she emphasized that the mandate of the court is conditioned by the period in which the crimes were committed.
„We will see what we can expect in the future from the Specialist Chambers, but I would not like to comment on the issues that were completed at the time when this court was formed. Because Kosovo formed it by its own will, it became a part of the Constitution with our will, a part of the legal system with our will.“
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