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Đurić: Albanians laboring under an illusion - the world is not the same as in 1999

July 30, 2018, the Novosti daily

The impression is that Washington now has a bit more patience for the idea of reaching a compromise with Priština than they did before. Serbian diplomacy, including visits such as that of the Prime Minister Brnabić and Foreign Minister Dačić last week, is investing great efforts to sway the huge cruiser of the US foreign policy onto a course that would be a little better for us, and to make our interests more mutually complementary. But results take time in diplomacy.

Marko Đurić

Photo: Office for Kosovo and Metohija

This is how Marko Đurić, Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, replied to the Novosti’s question about any visible shifts in the US position on the matter of Kosovo and Metohija, as some signals have suggested.

If no one is suggesting a partition of Kosovo and Metohija, but there are talks about demarcation, than what does it mean? President Vučić has stated: if you reject it, in 40 years we will have to defend Vranje.

- The President is right in his analyzes of the situation in Kosovo and Metohija, where young adults today were born after our state institutions, police and the army, have withdrawn from Kosovo and Metohija. Over the past few days, we have been witnesses to public declarations of territorial aspirations by some of the highest representatives of the separatists in Priština, that they have not limited themselves to the Province, but rather that they openly claim their allegedly “legitimate right” to concern themselves with the areas of municipalities in the south of Central Serbia. Those are the signals that they are treating this issue as a question of territory.

What is demarcation for us? Could the south of Serbia also become a subject matter in the Dialogue?

- When we have specific outlines of something resembling an acceptable option for Serbia, we will inform the public about this. Until then, we continue to wrestle for the best possible proposal, to ensure that we have a choice to make in the first place. At the present moment, nothing is offered to Serbia in Kosovo and Metohija, because as far as the largest Western countries are concerned, and these countries are de facto in control of all of Kosmet's 10,908 square kilometers, it is an a state independent of Serbia. As a proof of this, they send their military patrols as near as 200 meters away from the Pančić's Peak.

If the partition of Kosovo becomes mutually accepted, would it be conducive to a chain reaction in the region?

- Those who backed Kosovo's independence in 2008 have always argued that this is a “sui generis” case, i.e. one of a kind situation. That is why I am a little surprised to hear the argument that the new sui generis solution could be copied to other parts of the Balkan Peninsula. The 2008 partition of Serbia cannot be a unique solution, without the 2018 talks on resolving the issue of Kosovo and Metohija also being about a unique resolution.

Do China, Russia or France have a means of ensuring a compromise?

- President Vučić and the Government have been spreading the word across the globe that neither 1999 nor 2008 resolved anything in Kosovo and Metohija, that problems keep piling up and that the agreements made during the period 2013 through to 2015 never became implemented owing to the lack of willingness on the part of the Albanians, and that if we want to create a better future for Serbs and for the Albanians, we need to look for a more permanent solution. We have had some success that has led to a growing nervousness among the Albanian leadership, because they are not secretive about their opposition to compromise. They have been laboring under the illusion that the international image of Kosovo and Metohija is the same as in 1999 when the NATO airplanes circled the sky above Serbia. Neither is Serbia today in such a weak position, nor are they as strong as before.

Are things moving in such a way so as to leave the Community of Serbian Municipalities for the very end, as a paragraph in a comprehensive agreement made with Priština?

Priština would like nothing more but to “sell” the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities as the final solution, but we already ensured it in the 2013 Brussels Agreement, so that will hardly pass. I guess they want to say that they were joking in 2013 and now they mean it for real. The agreement on the formation of the CSM was signed by Ms. Ashton in 2013, and then by Ms. Mogherini in 2015, and since then these agreements have become part of the common foreign and security policy of the European Union. Therefore, their non-fulfillment is a violation of the EU's foreign and security policy.

Will UNSC Resolution 1244 remain in force if an agreement with Priština is reached?

- This resolution and the UNMIK are exceptionally important for Serbia since they ensure a formal framework in which to conduct these talks. When there is a good will to look for a comprehensive solution, it is possible to reach an agreement on just about anything. Albanians would most like the UNSC resolution to be repealed. Without making an agreement with Serbia, they cannot reaffirm their position in the international community, and with the approach they have today, the UN will remain only a distant dream for them.

Under what conditions can Priština officials visit central Serbia?

- All officials whose posts exist under international regulations may freely refer to the Agreement on Official Visits, and travel around the territory of their country. But these are not the so-called Minister of Foreign Affairs or the so-called Minister of the Kosovo Security Forces, because the southern province does not have this kind of functions. Others will not have any problems if they pre announce their visit in accordance with the agreement, as representatives of provisional provincial institutions.

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Negotiation process with Pristina Operational Factsheet
Time elapsed since assuming the obligation of establishing CSM
Year Month Week Day
5 65 286 2005