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Konjufca: There is no association without recognition of Kosovo by Serbia

2023-12-08 21:34:03, Kosova & Bota CNA
Konjufca: There is no association without recognition of Kosovo by Serbia
The Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, Glauk Konjufca

The Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, Glauk Konjufca, said on Friday that the Western demand for the establishment of the association will not be fulfilled, if the international community does not put pressure on Serbia for the steps towards the recognition of Kosovo. In an interview for the Voice of America, Mr. Konjufca said that if the pressure continues only on Kosovo and the West cannot convince Serbia to sign the Ohrid Agreement, he does not believe that these efforts will produce results at least in the medium-term period of the processes. politics in Kosovo. In the interview with his colleague Keida Kostreci, Mr. Konjufca also said that it was not up to the European Union to present the draft statute for the association of municipalities with a Serbian majority.

Voice of America: Although the draft statute of the association of municipalities with a Serbian majority was not known to the public for a long time, you have known its content for a long time. What is your assessment of this draft statute?

Glauk Konjufca: It is true that a version of the draft statute of the association of municipalities with a Serbian majority has been submitted to Kosovo. I don't think this was the best step that the European Union has taken. In fact, it was not up to the European Union to propose such a draft statute. The normal order of things is for the Republic of Kosovo to introduce such a statute. This has also been the position of our government, a very fair and principled position, which I support. As for the European Union, I am trying to perhaps explain why they are in a hurry to propose such a statute. This is mainly due to the fact that the process probably stalled. The Ohrid Agreement was not signed by Serbia. Then there was the terrorist attack and the act of aggression of Serbia on Kosovo, in the village of Banjské on September 24. Then the international community realized that maybe this will block the political process and the dialogue process with Serbia for a long time. It is precisely for this reason that they are in a hurry to propose a statute, taking a competence from the Republic of Kosovo itself and the state of Kosovo. This does not belong to the European Union. Nowhere, in any credible document, on which the entire negotiation process is based, is it stated that the proposal of the statute of the association of municipalities with a Serbian majority is the competence of the European Union.

Voice of America: However, at least as far as the government and institutions are concerned, we are beyond this stage because they have called precisely for the establishment of the association and for Serbia to fulfill its obligations for the de facto recognition (of Kosovo). So now we are at the point of whether and how these obligations will be implemented beyond these criticisms that you said that it was not up to the European Union to make this proposal...

Glauk Konjufca: I think that the approach that both states should independently and completely disconnected from the interconnection of the points of the Ohrid agreement, each should implement its own part, is not a plan that will be able to move forward. There are many problems, mainly who will be the first to take the step and in which direction. You must understand that the first six points of the Ohrid agreement were built precisely for Kosovo. And I think that when building an international agreement the ranking points are not random. I will say the basic part, the first part of the agreement are the points in favor of the sovereignty of Kosovo, for the further consolidation of the sovereignty of Kosovo. The point that has been decided in favor of Serbia is the seventh point of the Ohrid agreement. And it says that Kosovo has an obligation to find a form of self-management for the Serbian community in Kosovo. This cannot be done unless it is placed in a general package, which is the Ohrid agreement, which was not signed by Serbia. The International Community is saying that there is no link that has not been signed, but the government of Kosovo thinks that it is essential that this agreement be signed by the parties, or if it is not signed it is a worthless document.

VOA: That actually depends on who's listening, because there have been some comments on that. But, if I am not mistaken, you are saying that perhaps it is not yet the moment, or Kosovo is not ready to start implementing this part with these reservations that you are expressing, regarding the points of the agreement on the draft statute ?

Glauk Konjufca: If the concept of self-management is not built in an agreement like the one in Ohrid, with the recognition of Kosovo, then Kosovo has no obligation to take steps towards association. No way. Why? Because I think that if you remove recognition from the equation of the relationship with Serbia and if only the association remains, this will be a very manipulable mechanism and force that can be used in a negative way by Serbia to hit Kosovo. We know that this association would consist of Serbian representatives, who could be controlled by any political party directly from Vu?i?'s side, and they would build the assembly of this association.

VOA: But the West is actually looking for both, not just the association...

Glauk Konjufca: I don't think that the West is serious in terms of asking Serbia to recognize Kosovo. So far, it does not seem to me that Serbia has felt any serious pressure regarding the recognition of Kosovo. I think that more pressure has been put on Kosovo for the association than on Serbia for the recognition of Kosovo, if you compare them on which issue more pressure has been put on. So I think this is a completely wrong approach. This approach will not yield results at all. This approach, on the contrary, makes Serbia feel comfortable and even endangers Kosovo as an approach because we can also experience the next attack from Serbia, just like on September 24. But, if the international approach changes, if Serbia is informed that the international community understands exactly what happened on September 24 and understands exactly what is the part of Serbia's responsibility regarding this act of aggression and instead of the sanctions that if they are done to Kosovo, they would be done to Serbia, then I think we have hope that maybe Serbia can change one day. But, if all we see is the pressure only on Kosovo, if Kosovo is the one that is suffering the sanctions and Serbia has no pressure and no consequences in the relationship neither with the United States nor with the European Union, I think that not only Serbia it will not change, but I think that his ambitions will grow even more to attack Kosovo with the same attack of aggression as the one on September 24.

Voice of America: The European Union and the West in general, taking into account the geo-political situation and the fact that next year there are elections in the European Union as well as in the United States and attention can be distracted, have sought a solution fast and take the fastest steps towards normalization. Do you think this is a realistic request under the conditions you described?

Glauk Konjufca: We think first as the Republic of Kosovo, as state institutions that the best solution is within the framework of recognition - that all the arrangements that can be conceived by the International Community as obligations that we have as Kosovo from the past, but I'm talking about the previous agreements - these will be placed in a larger solution package and this was an effort, I believe with the support of the United States, the effort to build the Ohrid agreement as well. However, regarding the Ohrid Agreement, the President of Serbia has given his position that its signature is not expressed. The question arises why the President of Serbia did not sign the Ohrid Agreement? Because there is the de-facto recognition of Kosovo's independence. What does de-facto recognition produce? You will understand that de-facto recognition produces the contours of de-jure recognition, slowly for Kosovo. The President of Serbia does not want to enter into this agreement. Then the International Community has no mechanisms to push the President of Serbia to enter into the Ohrid Agreement package, much less do we agree to enter into an agreement on the Association which is disconnected from the general political process, from the package of general which would bring us the consolidation of sovereignty vis-à-vis Serbia, this is very existential for Kosovo and then we will sit down and see with the International Community how to find a modus operandi for this that Kosovo has actually accepted that it is a form of management of the Serbian community in Kosovo. But if you want to push Kosovo to sit down and implement the Association despite all this, I don't think this is the way, I don't think it will produce results, at least let's say in this medium-term period of the processes politics in Kosovo./ VOA

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