Home Page
news 11 Jul 12

Serbia’s Nikolic Gives Some Ground on Kosovo

Serbian President says he doesn’t expect to be ‘President in Pristina’ – but authorities in Pristina should not expect to regain control of the Serb-run north of Kosovo either.

B92, Tanjug Belgrade

Serbia’s new President, Tomislav Nikolic, on Tuesday conceded that Serbia was unlikely to rule the mainly Albanian ex-province of Kosovo, which declared its independence in 2008 – adding that Kosovo should not expect to rule Kosovo’s northern Serb-run corner.

“I don’t think I will ever be President in [the Kosovo capital of] Pristina, but the President of the interim authorities in Pristina [i.e. the leader of Kosovo] will also never be president in Mitrovica,” he said, referring to the main town in the Serb-majority north.

According to Nikolic, who spoke as he toured a farm in the village of Melenci, Serbia needs to reach a consensus on “what Kosovo is” and how it should treat it.

He said that Serbia needed a united stance towards Kosovo and its future borders, and towards how Serbia should react if the Kosovo authorities attempt to exercise their authority in the north.

Nikolic added that the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, the Serb enclaves in the south and the four Serb municipalities in the north all need to be determined - as does Serbia's stance towards Kosovo’s participation in international conferences and the conditions under which Serbia and Kosovo would take part.

Serbia has until now refused to take part in any regional meetings where Kosovo is represented as an independent state, though the two sides have in theory reached a compromise deal on the issue.

“The government and the opposition need to take a united stand because this is the only way we can be strong,” he said.

Asked whether the international community was pushing Serbia to accept Kosovo as an independent state, Nikolic said that the expectation that Serbia should establish “good relations with its neighboring state of Kosovo was already in the air”.

Those that have recognized Kosovo’s independence want it to be full independence, noted Nikolic. “We who do not accept this, and who have been elected by the people, want this to never happen,” he added.

But, “If we remain miles apart, the talks will be fruitless,” the President continued, adding it was important for the two sides to sit down and try to bring their positions closer.

New Serbia leader Velimir Ilic, whose party ran in the May elections with Nikolić's Progressives, was then asked whether the President’s statements “spoke about a possible partition of Kosovo”.

Ilic responded obliquely, saying only that “perhaps the President knows something others do not”.

However, referring to EU-led talks between Kosovo and Serbia, which started under the last government, he added that “everything that the previous government signed related to Kosovo must be accepted”.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

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.

ivanovic-to-apear-before-kosovo-court-on-august-26 News 18 Aug 14 Kosovo Serb Leader Awaits War Crimes, Murder Trial

Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic will go on trial on August 26 for war crimes during the Kosovo conflict as well as committing murder during clashes that erupted afterwards.

serbia-kosovo-intepret-deal-on-mitrovica-bridge-differently news 23 Jul 14 Serbia, Kosovo Far Apart on Mitrovica Bridge Deal

EU-led talks on the controversial 'Peace Park erected in the divided northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica have ended with widely differing versions of what was agreed in Brussels.