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”.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Serbia - Kosovo Relations: Latest Headlines

fury-over-serbia-deals-left-kosovo-shaken-12-24-2015 2015 in review 30 Dec 15 Fury Over Serbia Deals Left Kosovo Shaken

While a spike in Islamist activity was one headache facing the government, violent protests against EU-brokered deals with Serbia proved the bigger challenge.

foreign-policy-setbacks-leave-kosovo-shaken-12-18-2015 Analysis 18 Dec 15 Foreign Policy Setbacks Leave Kosovo Shaken

The government was wrong to gamble on the EU granting visa liberalization as a reward for its sacrifices in talks with Serbia, experts say.

kosovo-serbia-failing-to-implement-normalisation-deal-12-01-2015 News 01 Dec 15 Kosovo, Serbia Failing to Implement Normalisation Deal

Only four out of 17 agreements reached during EU-brokered talks between Pristina and Belgrade aimed at normalising relations have been fully implemented so far, a new report says.

kosovo-analysts-perplexed-over-november-28th-nationalist-rally-11-27-2015-1 Analysis 28 Nov 15 Fears of Violence Dog Kosovo Opposition Rally

After opposition parties invited ‘all Albanians’ to join Saturday’s anti-government rally, the participation of football fan groups with a history of violence is raising safety concerns.

albanians-join-ranks-for-the-28-november-kosovo-rally-11-27-2015-1 News 27 Nov 15 Kosovo Opposition Urges All Albanians to Join Rally

The opposition in Kosovo is arranging free transport for supporters from Albania to join a major anti-government rally in Pristina against the agreements with Serbia and Montenegro.

kosovo-police-arrests-opposition-mp-11-18-2015 News 18 Nov 15 Kosovo MP Arrested Over Tear Gas Incident

Kosovo police arrested another opposition MP, Donika Kadaj-Bujupi, on Wednesday, for allegedly setting off tear gas in parliament.

with-teargas-and-pepper-spray-kosovo-opposition-clears-the-parliament-hall-11-17-2015 News 17 Nov 15 Kosovo Opposition Force MPs to Flee Parliament

Ruling party MPs were forced to adopt the 2016 budget while barricaded in an alternative hall, after opposition MPs again threw tear gas in the main chamber.

fr-sava-time-to-go-forward-and-start-dialogue-11-12-2015 Interview 13 Nov 15 Fr. Sava: Time to Go Forward and Start Dialogue

Sava Janjic, the Abbot of Visoki Decani Monastery, says Serbian heritage needs to be settled within the Brussels dialogue before any further discussion on UNESCO status.

serbia-s-unesco-victory-has-exposed-its-true-face-11-12-2015 Comment 12 Nov 15 Serbia’s UNESCO ‘Victory’ Has Exposed its True Face

Belgrade’s brutal and offensive campaign against Kosovo’s membership bid, comparing it to ISIS, has reminded Europe and its own neighbours of how little the ‘new’ Serbia has changed.

belgrade-pristina-row-over-brussels-agreement-suspension-11-11-2015 News 11 Nov 15 Serbia Accuses Kosovo of Mocking Brussels Deal

Serbia says decision of Kosovo court to suspend Brussels agreement is a threat to regional stability - while Kosovo opposition parties have hailed the decision as a partial victory.