Kosovo politician: Relations in the region are worse than they were a decade ago

NEWS 14.09.2020 19:03
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Source: N1

Relations in the Western Balkans are similar to what they were like at the beginning of the 1990s as political leaders in Serbia have never given up on the policies of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, Kosovo politician and lawyer, Azem Vllasi, told N1 on Monday, adding that there are no similarities between Kosovo and Bosnia’s Serb-dominated Republika Srpska (RS) entity.

Vllasi said that relations in the region are worse than they were a decade ago.

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“Even though the circumstances are different, apart from the danger of armed conflict, the atmosphere is as it was at the beginning of the 1990s,” he said.

The reason for this, he argued, is that the policies that were present during the regime of former Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, are still present today although “they lost the wars.”

“Authorities in Belgrade have been harnessing certain forces from Banja Luka (the administrative centre of Bosnia’s RS region), as well as clerical nationalist forces in Montenegro,” he said.

Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, would like to closely cooperate with the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro, and that Church “promotes the idea of a Greater Serbia,” he said.

“Every so often you can see Patriarch Irinej praising Vucic and saying how he will implement their (the Church’s) ideas. Irinej also says that Vucic will never grant recognition to Kosovo, although it is a free country since 1999,” he said.

Vllasi has previously been saying that the recent negotiations in Washington represent a “rehearsal” for Serbia to recognise Kosovo as an independent state, but told N1 that nobody can know for certain when this could happen.

“This largely depends on the US. If (Donald) Trump remains president, he will push it through, and if (Joe) Biden becomes president, he will work on it even harder. Vucic and Serbia must put a lot of thought into what the cost of them rejecting the proposal from the US to recognise Kosovo could be,” he said.

Vllasi also commented on one of the leaders of the coalition that won the slight majority in the recent elections in Montenegro, Dritan Abazovic, describing him as “completely controversial.”

“He thinks that his coalition partners will follow him on the Euro-Atlantic path, but later no one will ask him anything, he got ahead of himself,” Vllasi said of Abazovic.

“He joined forces with the opposition led by Amfilohije (the leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Montenegro). He did not unite with the normal opposition, but with the opposition which is against his own state, the opposition that will go for the dissolution of Montenegro. They are anti-NATO, they will be worse towards Kosovo than Serbia is,” he argued.

Vllasi also commented on frequent statements that can be heard from the Serb member of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, who has often compared the status of Kosovo with that of Republika Srpska.

“There is no similarity there. He knows this very well,” Vllasi said of the Bosnian Serb leader. “Dodik is following the policies of Serbia and Russia. He thinks he is helping Vucic in this way. Republika Srpska was created in the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement and we all know how the leaders of that entity were punished.”

The Kosovo politician also advocated for a new Dayton Agreement – “in order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a functional state, to secure representation and equality for its three constitutional peoples as well as other citizens who nobody cares about at the moment.”

“Amending the Dayton Peace Agreement is long overdue,” he concluded.