President Osmani: Kosovo is not opposing the implementation of its obligations

2024-04-23 21:07:39, Kosova & Bota CNA

President Osmani: Kosovo is not opposing the implementation of its obligations

The President of the Republic of Kosovo Vjosa Osmani said that Kosovo does not oppose the implementation of its obligations, but requires a binding agreement for both Kosovo and Serbia. In an interview for the Voice of America from New York, where President Osmani met yesterday with the President of Serbia at the meeting of the Security Council for Kosovo, she said that Kosovo will turn to the Constitutional Court for the Association's statute after it has been reached saw an agreement on how the acts arising from the Agreement reached in Ohrid by Kosovo and Serbia last year will be implemented.

Voice of America: President Osmani, senior American officials - Assistant Secretary of State O'Brien two days ago in Belgrade and the American representative today at the UN, asked Kosovo to establish the Association. How will you answer this call?

Vjosa Osmani: Kosovo has consistently shown its willingness to implement the agreement reached in Brussels in February of last year and the annex of March of last year in its entirety and as soon as possible. But as in any other agreement, the implementation has the implementation plan, or the sequencing plan, which is still being negotiated in Brussels and foresees that both parties, in parallel, implement the agreement, or their parts of the agreement.

In this context, the agreement does not only have the article of Association; there are also other articles, which, among other things, require Serbia to recognize Kosovo's sovereignty, territorial integrity, not to use violence as a tool, or force as a tool for interstate relations, and Article 4 requires that it not create obstacles, whether or not to oppose Kosovo's membership in international organizations.

President Osmani: Kosovo is not opposing the implementation of its obligations

So, the only thing that Kosovo is asking for is that the agreement be implemented in its entirety and not only from one party to demand full implementation, and from the other side not to demand the implementation of any of the provisions. Of course, we know that this is an international obligation of Kosovo, but there are some principles that we consider and have as red lines in the implementation of the Association. Among them is the Constitution of Kosovo, it is the decision of the Constitutional Court of 2015, it is the fact that there cannot be executive powers, as it was also written in the letter of [former Representative for Foreign Policy and Security] Mogherini at that time and yes to be in line with the American position published in the Cholet/Escobar op-ed.

So Kosovo is not opposing the implementation of its obligations. We are simply asking that the agreement be an agreement and create obligations for both parties, otherwise both the agreement and the dialogue lose their meaning.

Voice of America: Since the international partners of your country are asking Kosovo to implement the Association, does Kosovo have a plan for the next steps?

Vjosa Osmani: The plan is of course clear. A sequencing agreement must be concluded, which determines which implementation step should be first, which second, and so on. As soon as the sequencing plan is completed, of course, as foreseen in the decision of the Constitutional Court of 2015, Kosovo must send the draft statute to the Constitutional Court. Then it is up to the Constitutional Court to decide whether the draft is in accordance with the Constitution of Kosovo and the judgment of the Constitutional Court.

As the President of the country, I have a number of concerns about the draft, but I have full confidence that the Constitutional Court will make sure that everything is in accordance with the Constitution and the judgment of 2015, because otherwise I think that many things can be misused in practice during interpretation of the statute and big problems can be caused, which will then be difficult to manage without creating tensions. So also because of security, which is necessary because of stability, which is a prerequisite for peace, but above all because we have to maintain the functionality of our state, we must be sure that everything is in compliance with the Constitution before taking steps for the full implementation of the Association.

Voice of America: Is it expected that the charter that the international community has given to Kosovo for the Association will soon go to the Constitutional Court?

Vjosa Osmani: I cannot define deadlines. According to the statute but also the judgment of the Constitutional Court of 2015, this is the duty of the government of Kosovo. So it could be the relevant ministry or a decision of the government, but this also depends a lot on the course of the dialogue. As I mentioned, we must have a sequencing plan, which clearly foresees which step from Kosovo is undertaken first, which step from Serbia is also undertaken in parallel, so that both sides implement in parallel and both sides benefit.

But we cannot demand from Kosovo the implementation of the main part of the agreement, and from Serbia, let's face it, not to demand that it vote in favor in the Council of Europe. If implementation is required, it must be required from both, as I said, otherwise the entire credibility of the dialogue and the principle of equal treatment of the parties no longer have any meaning. Because somehow, only one party remains in the process, since the other has already formally withdrawn by sending a letter to the EU that it will not implement the agreement. And Vucic said the same today in the Security Council, that they love the Association, but without taking any step towards mutual recognition, either de facto or de jure in relation to Kosovo. The agreement, in fact, has all the elements of de facto recognition, from the recognition of sovereignty and territorial integrity to other principles of the UN Charter, which are valid only between states. But they are clearly saying that they will not implement it.

Somehow there is only one party left in this deal.

Voice of America: Madam President, if Serbia continues to not fulfill the other parts of the agreement, does this mean that you will not move? That the government of Kosovo, that the authorities of Kosovo, will not move forward with the implementation of the Association?

Vjosa Osmani: My position, as the President of the Republic, is that since we know very clearly the history of Serbia and that it constantly violates the agreements it signs and does not implement them on the ground, we must return to a kind of approach that we have had around the time when Kosovo was declared independent, when Kosovo made a series of concessions, which did not make it a dysfunctional state, but they were difficult concessions. But on the other hand, Serbia has refused to implement the Ahtisaari package. But what we gained in exchange was the independence of Kosovo, recognition of Kosovo and membership in international organizations.

So, if we, together with our international partners, will see that this principle of two parties in the process is failing, then we must first sit down with the United States of America, but also with the European Union states that they have recognized Kosovo and we must make a clear plan. If Kosovo implements all these concessions, then what are the measures that the international community will undertake to support Kosovo? Let's face it, is NATO on the table? Is the status of the candidate and then moving quickly towards the EU, based on the reforms we have made, on the table? So, some kind of agreement between us and our partners is an issue that I have been dealing with for a long time with partners, in particular with the USA, always knowing that we will come to this point and Serbia again will not to implement anything.

So, we have to see what we can extract if we implement, but what we can extract from our partners as a kind of support for the strong consolidation in the international arena of the Republic of Kosovo, as a state equal to others. Of course, the United Nations as long as Russia has the right to veto, it is difficult. But, any other organization where Russia does not have a veto, I believe that it is within the range of actions that our friends can take and push Kosovo forward to be in NATO, in the Council of Europe and in other organizations that make even safer and more developed.

Voice of America: Let's return once again to the question of the statute and the Constitutional Court. If the Government does not send this statute that you have in your hands, does the President have room to send it to the Constitutional Court? Are you considering such a step?

Vjosa Osmani: In 2017-2018 and in 2021, there are judgments of the Constitutional Court which have limited the mandate of the President to raise constitutional issues, or to ask constitutional questions if a document is in accordance with the Constitution. So, without this document being first approved by the government, or without any government act being issued, as President he cannot send it to the Constitutional Court, according to Article 113.

So, in the past this right existed. As you know, in 2015 it was used, in 2008-2010 it was used several times. However, from 2018 onwards, through the judgments of the Constitutional Court, this right of the President has been limited. So, there must be a preliminary act of the government, which must not necessarily agree with the content of the statute, but find a way to carry it forward.

Relate this to what I said earlier. Naturally, such a step should be taken if there is a sequencing plan and if Serbia also implements it at the same time and as an alternative if the international community offers Kosovo membership in organizations which are necessary for the Euro-Atlantic movement of our country and for the security of our country, because in fact the biggest challenge we face is the security challenge, which Serbia creates and then this challenge creates many others, either in terms of economics or foreign investments and many others.

Voice of America: Today, during the meeting of the Security Council, you mentioned the deterioration of the security situation and accused Serbia of destabilizing actions. Are you worried about escalation in Kosovo?

Vjosa Osmani: Një gjë e tillë do të tentohet sërish nga Serbia, sepse vazhdimisht bëhen planifikime të tilla, por jam e bindur me të gjitha përgatitjet që po i bën policia e Kosovës, në partneritet me prezencën ndërkombëtare, në veçanti me EULEX-in dhe NATO-n, si përgjegjës të dytë dhe të tretë për sigurinë në Kosovë, që ne do të parandalojmë çdo sulm.

Zëri i Amerikës: Zonja Presidente, e keni quajtur dje fatkeqësi bojkotimin e procesit të votimit dhe dështimin e tij në katër komunat në veri. A keni një plan për më tej dhe cili është ai?

Vjosa Osmani: Siç u përmend edhe sot nga përfaqësuesi i përhershëm i Shteteve të Bashkuara tani kryetarët aktualë mbesin në zyrë, sepse kjo ka qenë zgjedhja e serbëve që jetojnë në këto katër komuna të veriut për shkak të, fatkeqësisht, presionit të vazhdueshëm që ua bën Serbia. Tani këta kryetarë kanë edhe një kohë mandat.

Kosova ka ofruar gjithçka çka ofrohet nëpërmjet legjislacionit të saj. Kemi bërë përgatitje jashtëzakonisht të shumta, kemi miratuar udhëzime të reja administrative. Kemi ndarë buxhet të madh, pra gjithçka që ofrohet në vende demokratike, ne e kemi ofruar. Ne nuk mund t’i nxjerrim qytetarët me zor që të votojnë. Ata kanë vendosur ashtu, edhe pse po e them për shkak të ndërhyrjes të paligjshme të Serbisë. Megjithatë, ky është një realitet për të cilin Kosova ka bërë gjithçka që ta ndryshojë. Mirëpo zgjedhjet janë e drejtë demokratike e qytetarëve. Në qoftë se ata nuk marrin pjesë, nuk ka çfarë mund të bëjmë ne.

Natyrisht ne duhet të ndërmarrim sa më shumë iniciativa shtesë për integrimin e serbëve, t’i mbrojmë ata nga strukturat ilegale të cilat po i kërcënojnë, t’u japim mundësi që të prosperojnë, të realizojnë potencialin e tyre ekonomik, të ndihen sa më të sigurt, njëjtë si të gjithë të tjerët në Kosovë, mirëpo e drejta e votës është individuale. Nuk mundet shteti të detyrojë askënd të votojë, është e drejtë e lirë.

Zëri i Amerikës: A ju shqetëson ky bojkotim dhe cilat do të jenë pasojat e tij për të ardhmen e Kosovës?

Vjosa Osmani: Natyrisht që na shqetëson, sepse vërtet Kosova vazhdimisht ka treguar gatishmëri të plotë që t’i ofrojë qytetarëve të saj jo vetëm mbrojtje kushtetuese, por edhe instrumente të reja në qoftë se dëshirojnë t’i ndryshojnë kryetarët e komunave.

But the main concern is the continuous pressure exerted on citizens through illegal and criminal structures, which are financed, encouraged and politically appointed by Vucic. This shows, on the one hand, illegal interference in the elections of another country by Serbia, and secondly, that Serbia remains the same and its primary goal is to prevent the integration of Serbs in the institutions of Kosovo, despite the dialogue that has lasted for 12 years and despite their international obligation with the agreement of 2013, which they are looking for, where it is required that the Serbs integrate into the institutions of Kosovo and undo all illegal structures.

So it is a worrying situation that Serbia has created and that can only be changed with serious international pressure on Serbia./ VOA

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