Partition of North will not happen, says Kosova PM
Kosovo Albanian man waits for a bus in front of a giant Kosovo flag in Pristina. The Kosovo PM has said the country should normalize relations with Serbia. AP photoKosovo and Serbia must normalize relations soon to begin integrating with Europe, Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has said, insisting that partition of his country’s Serb-dominated northern enclave “will never happen.”
“Kosovo is determined for dialogue with Serbia, for normalization of relations,” Thaci said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Kosovo will benefit, Serbia will benefit. It will mean an end to the era of conflicts in the region and a faster process of integration of all countries.”
Kosovo’s flag does not fly at the United Nations, where Thaci met with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and U.S. officials on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly ministerial meeting. Thaci and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic did not meet at the U.N., though they both attended a reception for European leaders. Despite the snub, Thaci said he was eager for negotiations with Serbia. “We need to start,” he said. “The more delays we face, the more difficult this process will become. Therefore both Kosovo and Serbia should fight to catch up, in order to have a faster integration process.”
“After normalization of relations with Serbia the path to the U.N. will be opened,” Thaci said. The fate of Kosovo’s Orthodox Christian Serbs and the firm grip that Serbia has on northern Kosovo are the main sticking points. Some Serbian officials have said that partition is the best solution, but Thaci said that redrawing any borders would set a dangerous precedent for the Balkans.
He said Serbs in northern Kosovo must integrate into Kosovar society, but that task has been made more difficult because they “have been deceived now for 12 years by Belgrade that there will be partition. That will never happen. Partition implies changing the borders for a minimum six countries.”