Normalising relations between Kosovo and Serbia is "the most community to reach a final solution and progress towards EU membership. money per capita, after Gaza, and it resurfaces “every time we talk to the authorities”. with the EU in , which gave Kosovo “a contractual relationship with the. Neil Clark: The Serbs have been demonised because they have In Kosovo, the west's strategic objectives meant them siding with the hardliners the west should, in fact, be reconsidering its policy towards Serbia. to try to make The Guardian sustainable by deepening our relationship with our readers. The recent agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is a significant the relationship for more than 20 years: the question of And yet, in a relatively short period of time, ambiguity” toward Kosovo's independence has allowed .. 12 IBM, the acronym normally employed to denote “integrated border.
Yet the man who lit the blue touch paper for that brutal conflict war was not Milosevic, nor the Bosnian-Serb leaders, but the US ambassador Warren Zimmerman, who persuaded Bosnian separatist Alija Izetbegovic to renege on his signing of the Lisbon agreement, which had provided for the peaceful division of the republic. Even after the Dayton agreement brought an end to a totally unnecessary conflict, there was to be no let up in the west's Serbophobia.Albania and Serbia leaders clash over Kosovo comments
In Kosovo, the west's strategic objectives meant them siding with the hardliners of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a group, officially classified as a terrorist organisation by the US state department.
No one, certainly no Serb of my acquaintance, denies that Serb forces committed atrocities in the Balkan wars and that those responsible should be held accountable in a court of law though not one financed by the powers who illegally bombed their country less than 10 years ago. But what makes Serbs so incensed is that whereas Serbian atrocities have received the full glare of the western media spotlight, atrocities committed by other parties in the conflict are all but ignored.
No publicity, either, for massacres such as the slaughter, on Orthodox Christmas Dayof 49 Serbs in the village of Kravice, near Srebrenica.
Kosovo-Serbia status remains biggest challenge in Balkans – EU envoy – badz.info
The town recently held a commemorative service to mark the 15th anniversary of the atrocity: Now, with Kosovo again in the headlines, the Serb-bashers are once more out in force.
Once again, the dispute is being portrayed in Manichean terms. Nowhere else are there so many 'ethnically pure' towns and villages scattered across such a small province. Nowhere is there such a level of fear for so many minorities that they will be harassed simply for who they are. For the Serbs and 'other minorities', who suffer from expulsion from their homes, discrimination and restrictions on speaking their own language, the pattern of violence they have endured for so long may be about to be entrenched as law in the new Kosovo, as the future status talks continue.
The double standards imposed where Serbs are concerned are breathtaking. Independence for Kosovo is a simple issue of self-determination, we are repeatedly told. SinceBelgrade has drawn on Russian support to block Kosovo's attempts to gain membership in organizations such as the U. At the same time, Serbia continues to support the de facto autonomy of the four Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo, including part of the divided town of Mitrovica.
Serbia: Background and U.S. Relations
These early negotiations resulted in technical agreements on mobility, customs stamps, mutual recognition of university diplomas, real estate records, civil registries which record births, deaths, marriages, etc. The two sides also agreed to exchange liaison personnel to be located in EU offices in Belgrade and Pristina to monitor the implementation of these agreements and address any problems that may arise.
The implementation record of these early technical agreements is mixed; some were carried out fully, and others were not. The EU-brokered agreement, which established a basis for normalizing relations, addressed politically sensitive issues concerning Kosovo's judiciary, policing, and the rights of ethnic Serb minorities. Two proposed concessions were particularly notable: Serbia would concede policing in northern Kosovo to Kosovo's police force, effectively dismantling some of the parallel structures in the region, and Kosovo would agree to the creation of an Association of Serbian Municipalities with powers in economic development, education, health, urban and rural planning, and potentially other areas.
However, there has been relatively little progress on the steps outlined in the agreement, and both sides claim that the other party is at fault for the delay. However, as was the case with previous agreements, the implementation of provisions has lagged due to political problems on both sides.
For instance, the energy agreement paved the way for a Serbian energy company to develop a supply company in Kosovo. However, the agreement stalled when Kosovo insisted that the company's statute acknowledge that it operates in Kosovo—a requirement that Belgrade claimed was tantamount to indirect recognition of Kosovo's independence. Indeed, the two sides have at times espoused significantly different visions of what the association would entail.
Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo rose during summeras the August 4 deadline for drafting a statute for the Association of Serb Municipalities passed without success. The on-again, off-again dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has helped to ease some of the lingering tensions that exist between Serbia and Kosovo over any number of other issues. However, negotiations often are complicated by unanticipated events that lead to flare-ups in nationalist rhetoric, as the following recent examples demonstrate: His supporters viewed him as a moderate pragmatist willing to compromise with Kosovo leaders, but hard-liners on both sides viewed him as a political foe.
In Octoberas Serbia and Kosovo's presidents floated the idea of adjusting borders to normalize relations see " Border Adjustments ," belowKosovo's parliament passed a law to transform the Kosovo Security Force into a national army over the objections of Kosovo Serb members of parliament. Belgrade sharply opposed this measure. Some analysts note that Serbian and Kosovo officials tend to take a more conciliatory, cooperative tone before external—primarily American and EU—audiences.
However, the same officials may adopt zero-sum rhetoric and hard-line positions before domestic audiences, particularly during election campaigns, when they appeal to nationalist voters. Furthermore, they may undermine each side's trust in the other as a reliable negotiating party, complicating future negotiations. The idea of partition or border adjustment had been floated occasionally by officials in the past, but usually it was quickly rejected by the West or by domestic political factions.
Both sides have rejected this idea in the past, as have many Western states, which opposed the principle of redrawing borders on an ethnic basis in the Balkans. As in the past, both leaders faced immediate opposition from powerful factions following these statements. Nationalist parties in Kosovo and Serbia expressed opposition to any border adjustment, as did a number of NGOs. It remains to be seen whether Serbia and Kosovo's leaders can reach agreement on a concrete border adjustment proposal and, if so, whether that proposal would be subjected to a referendum or parliamentary ratification in each country.
Although the EU welcomes Serbia's desire to join the union, it has emphasized that Serbia's membership is contingent upon its normalization of relations with Kosovo. Most EU member states have recognized Kosovo as an independent country, but five EU countries have not for various reasons.
It's time to end Serb-bashing | Opinion | The Guardian
In JanuarySerbia was formally invited to begin EU membership negotiations. However, Serbian public support for EU membership, while mostly positive, has waned slightly in recent years amid signs of enlargement fatigue within the EU, as well as the EU's insistence that Serbia normalize relations with Kosovo before joining.
As part of the negotiations process, Serbia must harmonize its legislation with the EU's body of laws, the acquis communautaire.
As of NovemberSerbia has opened 14 chapters of the acquis and provisionally closed two chapters. After previously sending mixed messages on the prospects of European enlargement into the Western Balkans, in European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated that Montenegro and Serbia could become members as early as Some analysts, however, believe ongoing disagreements over Kosovo's status could slow Belgrade's timetable.
This figure excludes loans from the European Investment Bank and bilateral aid from EU member states. At present, there are roughly EU-funded projects in partnership with the Serbian government, businesses, and civil society organizations. However, the EU has not made implementing the sanctions a condition for progress toward Serbia's membership at this stage.
- Kosovo-Serbia status remains biggest challenge in Balkans – EU envoy
- It's time to end Serb-bashing
Nevertheless, some believe EU attitudes toward Serbia reinforce the view of many in Belgrade that Serbia has not been fully embraced by Brussels and that it would be premature for Serbia to greatly distance itself from Moscow until it receives a stronger commitment from Brussels.
The European migration crisis, in which hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees entered the EU via the Balkan route, was a reminder of the region's strategic importance. The EU is also worried about potential political instability and the influence of third powers, such as Russia, China, and Turkey, in the Western Balkans. Proponents of EU enlargement see it as the main tool to assure peace, stability, prosperity, and the rule of law in the region.
Some observers speculate that the EU also feels the need for a new mission and purpose, such as integrating the Western Balkans, in the post-Brexit era. The relationship has improved since Kosovo's declaration of independence. Russia supports Serbia's nonrecognition stance and uses its permanent seat on the U. Security Council to block Kosovo's admission. Russia's current influence in Serbia is partly rooted in its popular support. For instance, public opinion polls suggest that most Serbians identify Russia as Serbia's closest friend and Vladimir Putin as their favorite foreign leader Germany's Angela Merkel placed second.
Kremlin-linked media outlets such as Sputnik and RT operate in the Balkans and amplify anti-Western narratives. Political and economic ties between Moscow and Belgrade strengthened after the breakup of Yugoslavia, particularly during the NATO campaign against Serbia's actions in Kosovo, which Moscow opposed.
Russia supplies Serbia with all of its natural gas, which in amounted to around 2 billion cubic meters bcm. In Decembera new gas agreement between the two countries pledged an increase in Russian gas deliveries to Serbia to 5 bcm through Russia also has invested heavily in Serbia's oil and natural gas industry, and Russia's Gazprom has majority shares in Serbia's NIS energy enterprise.
The extent of Russian influence over Serbia's political structures is difficult to assess. Moscow reportedly provides financial and political support to several Serbian political parties.
The Kremlin claims the center provides emergency humanitarian response training for Serbian first responders.
However, the center is relatively close to the NATO peacekeeping forces in neighboring Kosovo, and the United States and the EU have expressed concern that Russia is using the center for military and intelligence operations. Serbia will bear the cost of upgrading and modernizing this equipment. In addition, media reports suggested Serbia was interested in acquiring a Russian air defense system and establishing a facility to repair Russian MIL helicopters, which some analysts likened to "opening a Russian military base on [Serbian] territory.
Nevertheless, some analysts believe Belgrade is subjected to pressure from Russia, which hopes to thwart further NATO expansion into the Western Balkans. Serbia's relationship with Russia experiences occasional tensions. For example, relations with Moscow received a blow in when Belgrade was reportedly caught off guard by President Putin's decision to cancel the South Stream gas pipeline project, which would have run through Serbia and provided it with gas and transit fee revenue.
It is unclear whether Russia's replacement for the project, the TurkStream pipeline, will come to fruition and, if so, what role Serbia would play in the transmission of gas into Europe. Additionally, Belgrade's relations with Moscow soured somewhat after Belgrade publicly called for respecting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity after Moscow annexed Crimea and aided separatists in eastern Ukraine. Serbia, however, did not join the EU and the United States in imposing political or economic sanctions on Russia for its actions in Ukraine, as noted above.
Relations with the United States Inthe United States broke off relations with Belgrade when Serbia conducted an ethnic cleansing and deportation campaign against its ethnic Albanian minority population, primarily in the province of Kosovo.
Since Serbia's transition, the United States has viewed a stable, democratic Serbia as essential to stability in the Balkan region. Although the United States has offered to "agree to disagree" with Serbia over Kosovo, the issue may continue to affect relations, particularly as the United States generally remains Kosovo's most influential international supporter.
In earlyU. Relations were eventually smoothed over when, during a July visit to Belgrade by the then-U. Relations again hit a slight snag in Octoberwhen the U. Similar complaints again erupted in Belgrade after the October visit of U. According to the U. Department of State, targeted U. Assistance focuses on supporting democracy and the rule of law, rooting out corruption, supporting civil society organizations and independent press, supporting economic development, strengthening Serbia's border regime, and building positive bilateral relationships with neighboring countries.
Department of State's Trafficking in Persons report, Serbia is "a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.
However, Serbia remains listed as a Tier 2 country because the State Department has determined that, despite these efforts, the Serbian government has not yet fully complied with the minimum standards for eliminating trafficking.
Department of State's report on terrorism, Serbian law enforcement and security agencies receive assistance and training from the United States.