Prior to continuing the dialog with Pristina, Belgrade announces intensive diplomatic battle for Kosmet and asks for the participation of the UN in the negotiations, along with the EU. It is more than a clear signal that Serbia will never recognize the independence of Kosmet, but expressing readiness to discuss the possible solutions. Ivana Subasic has more on the subject.
President Tomislav Nikolic has announced a resolute struggle for Kosmet. He asks that a representative of the UN be included in the continuation of the dialog with Pristina. That request was the foundation of Nikolic’s meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who visited Belgrade within his six-day tour of the West Balkans. According to that idea, the dialog would still be run under the auspices of the EU, but with participation of a special UN envoy, to be appointed by Ban himself. That way, analysts assess that Serbia would have the counter balance to those EU countries that support the independence of Kosmet, and whose stances have impact on the dialog, for the benefit of Pristina. In the context of formal and informal requests that relate to Kosmet, and are set before Belgrade by Washington and Brussels, it is understandable what Serbia is asking for – a wider, political format of the dialog and inclusion of the UN, because in that organizations also making decisions are the states that do not accept the independence of Kosmet, i.e. Russia and China, as well as the Non-Aligned countries.
Although he did not offer any concrete plan for Kosmet, the Serbian President says he is ready to suggest solutions that have been already implemented, such as the “Belgian” model that defines the status of the Germans in that country, and that of South Tyrol. The analysts believe those models can only be discussed with the starting assumption of Kosmet’s autonomy within Serbia. In vie of that, they remind that after 2008, when Pristina declared its unilateral independence, in discord with Security Council’s Resolution 1244, the situation in the Province has changed considerably. And Pristina, although declaratively in favor of continuing the dialog, is trying to put Serbia before the final act, thanking to the support of the leading western countries, i.e. attempting to establish the control over the entire territory of Kosmet. Therefore, the analysts stress that it should be clarified at the soonest whether any of the models suggested by Nikolic would apply to the entire province, or only to northern Kosmet.
“Throughout history, especially after two world wars, may models have been used in Europe to solve ethnic and territorial disputes, but each was autochthonous and specific for the environment in which it had been implemented”, reminds professor Predrag Simic from the Faculty of Political Science, and a former diplomat. He says that if the issue of opened, the north of Kosmet will also require an authentic, and maybe unusual solution – some sort of condominium between Belgrade and Pristina. “The disputes regarding Andorra, Lichtenstein and Aland Islands were resolved in a similar manner. The Aland autonomy has been in place since 1921, initiated by then League of Nations, and in 1995, when Finland and Sweden were joining the EU, it was updated. According to that solution, the Aland Islands are a specific area, formally under the sovereignty of Finland, but in fact without any major influence from Helsinki”, underlines Simic.
With current balance of forces in mind, both in the EU and UN Security Council, it seems that Nikolic will have to provide much wider political support, regardless of whether his suggestions relate to the entire Kosmet or just its northern part. And it means the support in the Serbian Government and the national parliament. As he said himself, “only that way we can reach a unified platform for Kosovo and Metohija, which will not be contrary to the Constitution and interests of the Serbian citizens”.