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news 29 May 13

‘Two Germanys Model’ Suggested for Kosovo

Veteran German diplomat says 1972 treaty between East and West Germany holds lessons for Kosovo and Serbia.

Bardh Shkreli BIRN Pristina

In 1972, during the height of the Cold War, East and West Germany signed the Grundlagenvertrag, or Basic Treaty.

The agreement established normal relations between two sovereign states and allowed both to join the UN without addressing issues of German national identity or unification.

Wolfgang Ischinger, a longtime German diplomat who represented the EU in the talks on Kosovo’s status in 2007, says the Basic Treaty could offer a model for Kosovo and Serbia.

“In the case of Germany in the 1970s, leaving aside the thorny issue of mutual recognition, the agreement helped to solve many practical issues of interest to people on both sides,” he said.

“It was not the perfect solution, but a good way to escape the blockade,” Ischinger, now Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, told Prishtina Insight recently.

Ischinger said he proposed the so-called Two Germanys Model during talks in Prishtina back in 2007.

The idea has continued to resurface during various talks between Kosovo and Serbia since 2011, but has yet to gain serious traction.

EU deal encouraging:

The diplomat described the recent EU-led agreement between Kosovo and Serbia on April 19 as a major step forward for the region.

“Sometimes it takes some time for rationality and the European spirit to defeat old-style nationalism and other backward ideas,” Ischinger said.

“This has now happened between Belgrade and Prishtina, and it will happen elsewhere, and will allow all countries of the Balkans to join a prosperous, modern, and globalizing EU.”

Under the recent EU-brokered agreement, Serbia agreed not to stand in the way of Kosovo’s eventual accession to the EU.

It did not mention other organisations, most notably the UN, however. Serbia, backed by Russia on the UN Security Council, has vowed to block Kosovo from joining the UN.

But Ischinger predicted that Kosovo would eventually become a UN member. “Sooner or later it will happen,” he said.

“The longer Serbia blocks the accession of Kosovo to the UN, the smaller will the reward that Serbia obtains in exchange,” he said.

“The smart leaders in Belgrade know this, and they have shown before how smart and mature they are,” he added.

Ischinger also said that Germany and other powerful states continue quietly to press the EU members that still have not recognised Kosovo’s independence, namely, Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus.

But good diplomacy can take time. “We need to be patient,” Ischinger concluded.

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