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

dialogue-minister-points-at-serbia-for-delays-in-normalization News 24 Mar 15 Kosovo Accuses Serbia of Delaying Brussels Agreement

In a new report, Kosovo Minister Edita Tahiri says Belgrade is to blame for the slow pace of implementation of the Brussels Agreement in almost all fields except justice.

serb-mps-consider-leaving-kosovo-parliament News 16 Feb 15 Kosovo Serb MPs to Consult Belgrade Before Quitting

Kosovo Serb MPs will hold talks with the Serbian government before deciding whether to leave both the Kosovo government and the parliament.

belgrade-pristina-reach-deal-on-judiciary News 10 Feb 15 Kosovo and Serbia Reach Key Deal on Judiciary

After a prolonged halt to their talks, Kosovo and Serbia in Brussels have signed an agreement on integrating the courts in Serb-run nothern Kosovo into the Kosovo judicial system and agreeing on their ethnic structure.

kosovo-and-serbia-resume-eu-backed-talks News 09 Feb 15 Kosovo and Serbia Resume EU-Backed Talks

Top officials from Serbia and Kosovo are meeting in Brussels as the dialogue on normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina resumes after ten months of standstill.

brussels-agreement-implementation-slow-and-not-transparent-report-says News 04 Feb 15 Serbia Not Transparent Over Kosovo Deals, Report Says

A report by a Belgrade think tank says the Serbian government needs to be more transparent about the process of implementing the 2013 Brussels agreement - which is also proceeding too slowly.

serbian-pm-to-visit-kosovo-next-week News 12 Jan 15 Serbian PM Readies for Kosovo Visit

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic will meet local Serbian political representatives this week on his first visit to Kosovo since taking up the premier's post last year.

high-security-in-kosovo-ahead-of-orthodox-christmas News 06 Jan 15 Kosovo on Alert Over Serb Orthodox Holiday

A heavy police presence is being deployed across Serbian municipalities in Kosovo, as local Serbs prepare for Orthodox Christmas and visits from Belgrade officials.

serbian-president-calls-for-kosovo-referendum News 29 Dec 14 Serbian President Demands Kosovo Referendum

In a sign of growing tension between him and the government, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Sunday declared that any major decisions made on Kosovo must go to a referendum.

kosovars-go-far-to-send-letters-to-serbia Feature 23 Dec 14 Kosovars Go Far to Send Letters to Serbia

With no agreement yet on mail cooperation between Kosovo and Serbia, sending a simple letter from one to the other remains a hassle.

belgrade-pristina-ready-to-resume-talks News 19 Dec 14 Kosovo, Serbia Ready to Resume EU Talks

After months of delay, Kosovo and Serbia are willing to continue the EU-mediated dialogue early next year in Brussels.