Challenges of Kosovos Diplomacy in 2012
By Genc Mlloja
TIRANA It is the high time that Serbia should be forced to discontinue the obstructionist stance and the blackmail being exerted not only on Kosovo but also on the European and internationals, Kosovos Deputy Foreign Minister Ibrahim Gashi has said.
Speaking on Friday in an exclusive interview with Albanian Daily News, Gashi, whowas in Tirana on a twoday official visit together with the Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, unveiled some of the new hallenges with which his countrys diplomaci will be faced. Among others Gashi highlighted the drive for new recognitions of Kosovo, expressing the expectations that even Serbia would do the same in the long run as there is no other choice. However the number two of Kosovos diplomaci was worried abort what he called Serbias ambiguous promising game with Brussels while it backs the illegal paralel structures in the north of Kosovo in the following interview:
- A new year has already started which finds Kosovo confronted with some old and new challenges. Which would be some of the major challenges in the diplomatic aspect?
- I think that the advancement of the European agenda remains one of the major challenges for the year 2012 and the preparations for the start of the dialogue for the liberalization of the visas stands on top of all. More engagement is needed to change the stance of the EU countries which have not recognized Kosovo yet and the continuation of the technical dialogue with Belgrade for the normalization of the relations between the two states. Likewise our priority remains the implementation of the strategy for completing the recognitions of the state of Kosovo. We are expecting to have an increase of the number of the recognitions and the consecutive priority of ours is the consolidation of the diplomatic and consular service of the Republic of Kosovo through the opening of five new diplomatic missions in the regions where there are none for the moment.
- Now it has been made clearer to Belgrade and certain circles eying Greater Serbia in the north of Kosovo that there is no division of the Republic of Kosovo. The violent element of the use of barricades was consumed. When is expected the full reestablishment of order in that area of the country?
- I want to sound more rational than optimistic. I consider that we are noticing that on the part of the Republic of Serbia there is not yet clear readiness to achieve and concretely start the implementation of the agreementsreached in the technical talks between the two sides in Brussels. Consequently also the possibility of the reestablishment of order and rule of law and the withdrawal of the parallel structures there do not seem close. Serbia is also playing an ambiguous promising game with Brussels while it backs the illegal parallel structures in the north. The decision of the Council of Europe of December 9, 2011 was a necessary act, which will produce effects only if the accords are applied. So Serbia should not get the EU candidate status if it does not start the full implementation of the agreements achieved with Pristina. It is the high time that Serbia should be forced to discontinue the obstructionist stance and the blackmail being exerted not only on Kosovo but also on the European and internationals like ICO, EULEX and KFOR.
- Serbia wants both EU candidate status and keeps the situation tense in the north of Kosovo. Moreover it does not say that it intends to discontinue the talks with Pristina but tries hard to leave Kosovo out of regional activities. How would you react in connections with this in the future? Should its teasing come to an end?
- I think that the December 9 decisions of the Council of Europe for the first time clearly warned seriously Belgrade that it cannot go on further with the policy Both EU and Kosovo. The consecutive accord on the participation of Kosovo in regional initiatives should be achieved. I maintain that this is one of the conditions for Serbia to get the EU candidate status. This agreement has a special importance because, according to my opinion, Serbias position will move from the negation approach to the position of recognizing Kosovo. This would help Kosovo to work more closely with the five EU countries which have not recognized it yet.
-It comes out from diplomatic sources as if Kosovo is more interested in an eventual reunification with Albania than the latter. Which is the truth according to you?
- For the time being there are only two political subjects, one in Kosovo and the other in Albania which trumpet loudly the idea on the unification, whereas all the other political forces in both respective states be them in power or in opposition support the agenda of the European integration for both the countries. And a logical conclusion would mean that Kosovo and Albania will be united first in the great European family. This seems to be the orientations of our international friends who have played and are playing an important role for the development of the two states.
-Pursuing this line: three books were promoted in Kosovo, even any of them had a great political burden. Not s single Kosovo book has been promoted in Tirana. Nations Road seems to remain one- way traffic regarding the exchanges in this field.
- I think it is too early to make such a balance sheet and less so to make analysis regarding figures. Kosovo has come out from the period of survival and is making the first steps of statehood and of the construction of the institutions. The volume of the publications in Kosovo remains low. Maybe on the occasion of the jubilee of the 100th anniversary of the independence of Albania we will have more books from Kosovo which will be promoted in Albania. I intend to publish my book with the theses on the PhD both in English and Albanian and promote it in Tirana as the topic is linked with the independence of Albania.
- Where do you support your optimism for the eventual liberalization of the visa this in year in the Schengen zone?
- In the first place the liberalization process is more a technical work and the government and institutions have worked and are working to meet the technical criteria. On the other hand, I consider that it is not so much productive for the EU countries that Kosovo be kept longer as an isolated island in the sense of the free movement of citizens. Likewise the government of Kosovo and we as Foreign Ministry have signed almost with all the EU states agreements for the repatriation of the displaced persons as a preconditions for the inclusion in the liberalization process.