Serbian human rights advocate Sonja Biserko told N1 on Wednesday that Serbia’s manoeuvring space regarding negotiation with Kosovo has shrunk because the country alienated its allies with the recent agreement it signed in Washington.
“Serbia is now getting into a situation when it will have to make a choice. It has lost its relevance on the international scene and in some way its manoeuvring space is shrinking, not only when it comes to other actors within the region, but also in regard to Russia, China, the EU and the US,” Biserko said.
Serbia is now facing the reality that it will have to approach the dialogue with Kosovo in a serious manner, she said.
Commenting on the recent agreement signed in Washington between Serbia and Kosovo, Biseko said that “it all seems to have been in service of American interests and the ongoing presidential election campaign.”
“Judging by comments, it seems that Kosovo came out on top, Israel's recognition of Kosovo's independence is a step forward, while Serbia has clashed with all of its traditional partners – China, Russia and the European Union,” Biserko added.
Serbia clashed primarily with the EU which opposes any transfers of embassies to Jerusalem, while Serbia aspires to become an EU member, Biserko explained.
She also mentioned that the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, reacted to the agreement on social media which she said was “a demonstration of Russia’s hurt feelings.”
Relations with China also took a hit because Serbia was supposed to buy a 5G network from the country but the agreement has excluded that possibility now, she said.
Biserko argued that Serbia has still not made a decision where it wants to belong and whether it wants to be part of the EU.
“If Serbia is not ready to opt for EU membership, then all this has a temporary value and no long-lasting, promising outcome,” she said.
The negotiation process between Pristina and Serbia was transferred to the EU two months ago when the meeting in Washington was cancelled after Kosovo President Hashim Thaci was indicted. That “was a sign that the EU is taking over that task, given that the Western Balkans are part of Europe and that it is in its interest to fix the issue of the Balkans,” she said.
“The Washington agreement is a first step focused on economic cooperation, which is important, but economic cooperation cannot be the answer to what is needed, and that is a political framework. Only when Serbia accepts Kosovo's independence can other issues be resolved, given that many of them are on the agenda,” she concluded.