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Hoxhaj: Kosovo’s partition is a very dangerous idea that would cause violence and instability in the region

Paris, 2 June - During his official visit to France, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj, held meetings with academics and civil society representatives in Paris, as well as meetings with senior officials in the French institutions.

On Thursday, Minister Hoxhaj gave an interview for the prestigious French newspaper, “Le Monde”.

In this interview, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo said that Kosovo’s partition would be a very dangerous idea which would cause violence and instability in the region.

In addition, Hoxhaj asked the European Union to support the Republic of Kosovo in all aspects.

In questions about his view of the arrest of Ratko Mlladic, Minister Hoxhaj said this was good news, but too late. According to him, Mlladic’s arrest was an obligation that should have been done much earlier; however, the arrest does contribute to the process of regional reconciliation.

“However, the arrest of Ratko Mlladic is not enough. For Serbia, it is crucial to begin internal reforms in order for this country to implement European standards and to normalize its relations with Kosovo. But on the contrary, Serbia is trying to create tensions outside its borders. It is not in the interest of the European Union to give the status of “candidate country” to a state which has unresolved problems with its neighbors, with Bosnia, where it is trying to put into question the Dayton Agreement or with Kosovo, where it supports partition of the north of Kosovo”, said Hoxhaj.

In answer to Le Monde’s question about how he perceives the fact that despite the initiation of the Belgrade-Prishtina dialogue under the EU umbrella, the Serbian Government has proposed the idea of Kosovo’s partition, Minister Hoxhaj said that dialogue is technical and a good instrument for resolving practical problems.

“This dialogue is concentrated on regional cooperation, freedom of movement and a European perspective. We are dealing with a dialogue between two equal states. Serbia has misused this for three months: In each meeting with the European representative, the Government of this state proposes ethnic partition. But for us, this is a red line. Kosovo’s partition is a very dangerous idea which would have a “domino effect” in the region and would produce violence and instability,” said Hoxhaj.

In addition, the Minister said that in these three years, since the declaration of independence, Kosovo has been a stable country, a functional state and that the integration of minorities in Kosovo’s institutions and society is the best in the region.

“The situation in the north of Kosovo is imposed and is being caused externally, as Belgrade tries to create a frozen conflict, although without success”, he said.

In response to a question about the possibility of giving a special status to the north of Kosovo, Minister Hoxhaj categorically refused such a possibility.

“Absolutely not; a special status would be the same as changing the Dayton Agreement in Bosnia. Even in the 1990s, when we were occupied by the Serb regime, our vision was to create a heterogeneous state and not a mono-ethnic state. Ethnicity is not a problem for our country”, said Hoxhaj.

In addition, he said he was proud that Kosovo is implementing the Ahtisaari Plan which offers the best guarantee for the integration of minorities.

“The north is part of Kosovo. Serb parallel structures are present there. This is a political problem. The EULEX mission is responsible in this area. In general, this mission is doing a good job in the country; however it could do much more in the north. The international community should put more pressure on Belgrade to end communications with these parallel structures. Serbia cannot have “one foot” in the Serbian Republic in Bosnia, “one foot” in the north of Kosovo and “one foot” in Brussels”, said Minister Hoxhaj.

In answer to a question about fighting corruption and organized crime in Kosovo, he said that the international community had built Kosova’s institutions from zero and that within three years, it was not possible to have a miracle.

“Kosovo was the most under-developed part of the former Yugoslavia. The country needs assistance from Europe, not just for rule of law but for development. It would be a bad message if Kosovo were to remain the only country isolated in the region, without freedom of travel for its citizens, without contractual relations with Brussels”, said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj, in an interview with “ Le Monde”. 

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