President Meta opposes Kosovo’s “border correction” deal

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 31, 2018 11:33

President Meta opposes Kosovo’s “border correction” deal

Story Highlights

  • In an interview for local media, Meta said the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, in the context of EU-mediated normalization talks, should serve the purpose of “leading the process of accepting reality in the name of peace and stability.”

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TIRANA, Aug. 30 – Albania’s President Ilir Meta spoke for the first time on Wednesday regarding the now internationally-debated issue of Kosovo’s “border correction,” or, as it has been interpreted by many, its land-swap deal with Serbia, saying the deal means “to change reality.”

In an interview for local media, Meta said the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, in the context of EU-mediated normalization talks, should serve the purpose of “leading the process of accepting reality in the name of peace and stability.”

“The Balkans’ historical past is unfortunately linked to border changes, ethnic cleansing and violent displacement of the population, which have been associated with great problems, hostility, war and hatred. The agreement that is expected to be achieved today between the parties is important to deliver positive energy, to help the spirit of coexistence and harmony and to heal the sense of hatred sawn from the past and history,” Meta said.

Meta added that both the US and the EU were seriously invested in the deep transformations the Balkans region has undergone in the last decade and that the normalization talks between Kosovo and Serbia are an important precondition for both countries’ EU integration. As such, any idea suggestion treading towards border alteration has no benefit other than waking populist sentiments in both states.

At the beginning of August, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said he opposes the idea of ​​partitioning Kosovo along ethnic lines but is open to discuss the “correction” of borders during EU-mediated talks on normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

In an interview with the Associated Press news agency, President Thaci said that “Serbia’s claim of Kosovo’s partition will not succeed, it’s unacceptable. But in reaching Kosovo-Serbia final agreement we will work to finally get mutual de facto and de jure recognition between the two countries, as well as for Kosovo to eventually join all international organizations, including the UN. So there will be no division, but correction of borders which implies respecting the already institutionalized request of the Presevo Valley with Kosovo.”

Senior Serbian officials have come up with the idea of ​​Kosovo’s territorial division, which means the separation of the Serb-inhabited North, and also the possible exchange of territories – the North of Kosovo for the Presevo Valley, an Albanian-majority region south of Serbia.

“It is vital not only to never return to scenes of families’ displacement or violent movements, whether these Serbs or Albanians, but for no single family to ever have to think about moving because of the uncertainty that raises the border change debate,” Meta said.

Meanwhile, during August, a number of analysts and officials already spoke against the idea and any of its variations.

US analyst Daniel Serwer reacted right after Kosovo President Hashim Thaci threw the idea of ​​border correction, calling it a dangerous.

In an interview, Serwer said this idea in fact means exchanging territories, and that Thaci could not have presented the idea without agreeing with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, while the West might have accepted it as a solution.

“This discussion would not have been open unless Brussels and Washington said it could be discussed, because in the past it was said that it could not be discussed and everyone understood the reasons,” Serwer said.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 31, 2018 11:33