Home Page
news 21 Nov 12

Kosovo and Serbia Must Reconcile, Panel Says

Debate in Pristina hears calls for rediscovery of trust and a degree of compromise between the two estranged neighbours.

Edona Peci BIRN Pristina

The normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia is essential for transforming the hostile relations of the last 20 years, a debate organized by the Kosovar Institute for Peace agreed on Tuesday.

Representatives of the Institute said negotiations between both parties should be based on “reciprocity and mutual trust, compliance mechanisms, time limitation, historical compromise and international assurances and monitoring”.

Bajram Kosumi, a former prime minister of Kosovo who chairs the board of the Institute, said reconciliation between Serbs and Albanians, “be it in the context of Kosovo or Southeast Europe will help the process of normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia”.

Kosovo declared independence from 2008 in 2008, which Serbia has vowed never to recognise. However, Kosovo and Serbia are engaged in a political dialogue facilitated by the European Union, which started in March 2011.

The process has resulted so far in agreements on freedom of movement, regional representation, mutual recognition of university diplomas and integrated border management, IBM. But not all agreements have been fully implemented.

On October 19, fresh talks, now conducted at a higher level than before, were held in the office of the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Catherine Ashton, where Hashim Thaci, Kosovo’s Prime Minister met his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic.

Talks are expected to resume in December, but no agenda is officially set.

Natasa Kandic, director of the Humanitarian Law Centre and one of the founders and leaders of a coalition of NGOs, the Coalition for RECOM, said resolving the issue of missing people from the 1999 conflict is “the start of accepting the past.

“The admission of this by one party and the acceptance of this admission by the other party is a start for another relationship,” Kandic said.

“We haven’t arrived there yet. There are still discussions on missing persons that are not in line with the facts,” she added.

The Humanitarian Law Center believes 13,421 persons died, were killed or went missing during the conflict in Kosovo in 1998-1999.

Most of those still missing are considered to be Albanian, while some 2,000–2,500 were Serbs, Roma, Bosnians and ethnic Albanians who were loyal to Serbia.

Thirteen years after the end of the war in Kosovo uncertainties regarding the victims’ identities remain.

“We all know the figures... but names are important, because in the Balkans there have always been battles about numbers,” Kandic noted.

Issues linked to missing persons have been discussed between governmental commissions of both parties led by the International Red Cross but with no concrete result.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

new-momentum-is-needed-in-kosovo-serbia-dialogue News 22 Oct 14 Kosovo-Serbia Talks Need Reviving, Report Says

New momentum is needed in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue after the timeout caused by elections in both countries, a report by Kosovo and Slovak think tanks suggests.

serbia-misspends-millions-aimed-to-help-kosovo News 23 Sep 14 Millions Earmarked For Kosovo Serbs 'Wasted'

Hundreds of millions of euros from the Serbian budget that is supposed to help the Serbs in Kosovo have been misspent, a new TV investigation claims.

 

kosovo-nationalist-party-might-run-belgrade-pristina-dialogue-1 News 10 Sep 14 Kosovo Opposition Hand Serbia Talks to Nationalists

Four political parties aspiring to form the new government in Kosovo have handed management of the crucial EU-led talks with Serbia to the nationalistic Levizja Vetevendosja party - well known for its opposition to the dialogue.

kosovo-negotiators-hobbled-by-strife-at-home News 04 Sep 14 Kosovo Negotiators Hobbled by Strife at Home

Kosovo’s representatives in talks with Serbia do not have the mandate to reach agreements because Pristina still has no government three months after national elections, analysts say.

arrest-warrants-issued-for-kosovo-serb-politicians news 01 Sep 14 Arrest Warrants Issued for Kosovo Serb Politicians

The EU rule-of-law mission wants to arrest a Serb mayor and former mayor – a move that could further heighten tensions in the north of Kosovo.

one-kosovo-albanian-killed-two-wounded-in-kosovo-north News 29 Aug 14 Man Shot Dead in Woods in Northern Kosovo

A Kosovo Albanian has been killed and two others were wounded in the forests in Kosovo, allegedly by a person in a Serbian army uniform.

un-to-discus-belgrade-pristina-relations News 29 Aug 14 War Crimes Court in Focus at UN Kosovo Debate

At Friday's UN session on Kosovo, the formation of a special court to try war crimes committed by Kosovo Albanian fighters in the 1990s will be on the agenda.

kosovo-serbs-condemn-albanian-protest News 29 Aug 14 Kosovo Protesters Stop Serbs From Attending Church

Several hundred Kosovo Albanians protesting about missing persons from the conflict of the 1990s prevented a busload of Serbs from attending a church service in western Kosovo.

serbia-increases-police-forces-on-kosovo-border News 28 Aug 14 Serbia Reinforces Border After Policeman's Killing

Serbian Interior Minister says he is sending fresh police officers to the Kosovo border following the death of an officer who was shot near the border, allegedly by illegal loggers.

kosovo-serbia-readies-to-build-joint-border-crossings News 26 Aug 14 Kosovo Optimistic About Joint Border Crossings

Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister has predicted that joint border controls with Serbia, in line with the agreement on Integrated Border Management, will soon be up and running.