Honourable Mr. Prime Minister,
Dear Participants from Civil Society and Media,
I am grateful to the Kosovo Democratic Institute to invite me to this event on the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.
I am pleased to stand here with the Prime Minister talking about dialogue, as it is the Government who has the lead on foreign policy and thus you, Mr. Prime Minister, who is in charge of the dialogue with Serbia. The Constitutional Court was clear on this responsibility and your Government Program stated correctly that “the negotiating party in the dialogue will be the Government”.
Being in charge on Kosovo side for the dialogue with Serbia, the expectations and pressures towards you are high. I hope you agree with me, that as a leader it is important to never loose orientation and keep in mind the actual goal of this dialogue: normalizing the relationship with your neighbour Serbia to continue the path for Euro-Atlantic integration in order to improve people’s life and strengthen peace in the region.
The normalization of relationships between Kosovo and Serbia is a European issue. Therefore, we support a dialogue under the facilitation of the European Union, as it has been mandated by the UN. On that note, honourable Prime Minister, I encourage you to closely cooperate with the EU Special Envoy Mr. Lajcak and his team.
Kosovo’s future lies in Europe and, as such, only solutions respecting European values and contributing to European integration should be discussed. Changing borders along ethnic lines does not belong to these values. And as I said already: redrawing borders never worked. We do not have any example in history when moving borders with exchange of territories allowed sustainable peace and normalisation between former belligerents.
Normalization between Kosovo and Serbia is a long-term process and takes time. It requires trust-building and a structured, principled process. There is no magic solution and certainly no ‘quick fix’. And a ‘bad deal’ could even be harmful for Kosovo as a state, and for the people of Kosovo.
Reaching a comprehensive, legally binding agreement is an essential chapter in normalizing the relationships between Kosovo and Serbia. But let me repeat once more that the signing of an agreement is not the key point, only the full implementation of an agreement really makes the difference. The level of trust between the parties before the signing ceremony has a direct impact on the chances of a successful implementation of the agreement. So my humble advice: ‘no rush’ but invest into trust building.
It is also important for a process to be inclusive and transparent and to get the support of both national and international stakeholders. The Parliament plays a central role in overseeing the dialogue process and we welcome your approach to work with the Parliament and to involve academic institutions and civil society. Civil society and academia can be useful in preparing the ground, adding substance to a solution and ensuring transparency towards the public and citizens.
Dear Mr. Prime Minister, I wish you good luck in leading Kosovo through this difficult time of COVID-19, in leading Kosovo in the dialogue with Serbia and in fulfilling your responsibilities towards the sovereign of Kosovo - the people.
Thank you for your attention.