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.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

kosovo-abandons-bid-to-join-interpol-this-year-09-21-2017 News 21 Sep 17 Kosovo Abandons Bid to Join Interpol This Year

Prime Minister Haradinaj says Kosovo will not get enough votes at this year’s Interpol assembly, held in the unfriendly environment of China.

haradinaj-has-been-useful-enemy-for-serbia-s-leader-09-20-2017 Comment 20 Sep 17 Haradinaj Has Been Useful Enemy for Serbia’s Leader

Only Aleksandar Vucic could pull off the trick of making political capital out of denouncing Ramush Haradinaj’s ‘crimes’ – before then instructing his clients in Kosovo to make him Prime Minister.

serbian-movie-about-kosovo-sparks-new-tensions-09-18-2017 News 18 Sep 17 Kosovo Slates Serbian Film Attacking its UNESCO Bid

The Kosovo prime minister's office has condemned a Serbian documentary film that attacks Pristina's bid to join the UN cutural body UNESCO as offensive.

serbia-s-arrest-warrant-against-haradinaj-still-in-place-09-11-2017 News 12 Sep 17 Serbia Still Seeking Arrest of Kosovo PM Haradinaj

Although Ramush Haradinaj has become Kosovo’s prime minister, the warrant that Serbia issued for his arrest on war crimes charges will remain in force, which may cause him travel problems.

serbian-public-divided-over-the-lista-srpska-decision-09-08-2017 News 08 Sep 17 Prospect of Haradinaj Running Kosovo Divides Serbia

The decision of the main Serb party in Kosovo to support the election of a new speaker - which will probably lead to former guerrilla leader Ramush Haradinaj becoming Kosovo's new prime minister - has shocked some in Serbia.

new-report-proposes-more-robust-role-of-eu-usa-in-serbia-kosovo-dialogue-09-05-2017 News 05 Sep 17 Serbia Must Recognise Kosovo, US Experts Insist

A review of the EU-mediated Belgrade-Pristina dialogue by experts at Columbia University recommends that Brussels and Washington take action to enforce all agreements - and insists Serbia must recognise Kosovo.

kosovo-serbia-pledge-to-implement-justice-agreement-08-31-2017 News 31 Aug 17 Kosovo, Serbia Leaders Pledge to Honour Justice Deal

The Serbian and Kosovo Presidents have promised to implement an EU-mediated justice agreement by October after meeting EU foreign policy chief Mogherini in Brussels.

albin-kurti-kosovo-serbia-dialogue-is-dead--08-29-2017 Interview 29 Aug 17 Albin Kurti: Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue is ‘Dead’

The opposition Vetevendosje candidate for Kosovo prime minister, Albin Kurti, told BIRN that EU-sponsored talks between Pristina and Belgrade have ‘failed’ and should not continue.

mogherini-to-host-new-meeting-with-serbian-and-kosovo-presidents-08-28-2017 News 28 Aug 17 Mogherini to Host New Thaci, Vucic Meeting

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, will host a new meeting with the presidents of Kosovo and Serbia on Thursday.

kosovo-serbia-historic-deal-remains-stuck-years-on-08-25-2017 Analysis 25 Aug 17 Kosovo-Serbia ‘Historic’ Deal Remains Stuck, Years On

Only one of the four agreements signed between Kosovo and Serbia two years ago has been implemented, while all others are blocked – as the two sides blame each other for the deadlock.