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

numerous-threats-to-murdered-serb-leader-ignored-01-16-2018 News 17 Jan 18 Threats to Slain Kosovo Serb Leader Were Ignored

Oliver Ivanovic, shot dead on Tuesday in the northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica, had reported numerous threats, and had sought the help of both the Serbian and Kosovo authorities – but was ignored.

slobodan-milosevic-comes-alive-in-kosovo-serbs-musical-01-10-2018 News 11 Jan 18 Slobodan Milosevic Revived in Kosovo Serbs’ Musical

A musical staged by a Serb theatre ensemble from Kosovo about the 1999 war and Serb-Albanian relations will feature late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic as the “tragic protagonist”.

victims-and-activists-against-kosovo-special-court-repeal-01-09-2018 News 10 Jan 18 Kosovo War Victims Slam MPs’ Bid to Stop Court

Survivors of the 1999 Kosovo war and rights campaigners criticised attempts by MPs in Pristina to stop the new Specialist Chambers, which will try former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters.

rising-balkan-risks-demand-action-home-and-abroad-12-14-2017 Comment 14 Dec 17 Rising Balkan Risks Demand Action Home and Abroad

Heightened tensions and potential violence have been predicted for the Balkans in 2018, so people in the region must find the courage to seek solutions themselves, with help from Washington and Brussels.

kosovo-is-wasting-its-energy-on-recognition-battles-11-27-2017 Comment 05 Dec 17 Kosovo is Wasting its Energy on Recognition Battles

Getting diplomatic recognition by small, far-off states is far less important than having a functioning economy.

the-kosovo-serbia-dialogue-is-just-lose-lose--11-13-2017 Comment 13 Nov 17 The Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue is Just ‘Lose-Lose’

Both countries, and both peoples, stand to lose out in the long term from a ‘dialogue’ that has never advanced beyond leaders shaking hands and photo opportunities in Brussels.

serbia-s-flour-export-ignites-trade-war-with-kosovo-11-03-2017 News 03 Nov 17 Serbia Warns Kosovo Over Extra Tax on Flour

Serbia said it would introduce unspecified 'counter-measures', after Kosovo said it was sticking by its decision to raise the tax on imported Serbian flour.

serbian-monarchists-british-right-wingers-plot-kosovo-resistance--11-02-2017 Investigation 03 Nov 17 Serbian Monarchists, British Right-Wingers Plot Kosovo ‘Resistance’

Russian-linked Serbian monarchists and a British far-right organisation have been seeking to equip mystery groups in north Kosovo in order to resist what they believe will be an attack on Serbs by Kosovo Albanians.

kosovo-and-catalonia-have-little-in-common-11-02-2017 Comment 02 Nov 17 Kosovo and Catalonia Have Little in Common

Catalonia’s recent declaration of independence has prompted many to draw comparisons with events in Kosovo – but closer analysis shows the two cases are very different.

kosovo-serbs-show-theirs-fears-on-establishing-the-army-11-01-2017 news 01 Nov 17 Thaci Vows to Ease Serb Fears About Kosovo Army

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci joined a discussion on the potential creation of a regular army in Kosovo, saying Serbian fears about such a development needed addressing.