The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said on Friday that the draft statute for the Association of Serb-majority municipalities presented by European and American diplomats, interrupts the legacy of non-recognition of the Republic of Kosovo that was cemented as he said in the agreements of 2013 and 2015.
He made these comments while reporting to the Parliament of Kosovo about the meetings a week ago in Brussels, with the leaders of the main countries of the European Union, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, as part of the efforts western countries to advance the implementation of the agreement reached earlier this year in Brussels and Ohrid.
“In my political judgment, the draft has a clarity regarding the recognition of the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state in which the Serbs will live in accordance with the multi-ethnic aspirations of the Constitution and without any other harmful or undermining purpose for the Republic, in recognition of the state sovereign and of our territorial integrity. “This is clearly not ‘zajednica’ as foreseen in the agreements of 2013 and 2015 because it would be indisputable in this way,” said Prime Minister Kurti.
On October 21, the American and European envoys delivered to the parties a document for the implementation of the agreement, part of which was the proposal for the Association’s statute, which is also the most difficult point of the Kosovo-Serbia negotiation process.
Prime Minister Kurti said that this project closes the space used by Serbia for the Serbs in Kosovo to project a future outside the borders of Kosovo or in ignorance of its borders.
Among other things, he emphasized that according to the draft statute, any changes to it are made only after the Ministry of Local Government Administration of the Republic has agreed and only after the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Kosovo has issued a permissive judgment.
“This overturns what the agreements of 2013 and 2015 built, namely the assumption they created that participants in an Association will be free to advance it in an unknown direction. Such an unknown direction no longer exists and now the direction is clear and known – the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Kosovo. Skipping, advancing and exceeding are not allowed and cannot happen”, he said.
The opposition parties harshly criticized Prime Minister Kurti for what they said was the reversal of the principles by which he had won power.
“Is it funny that the day came that ten years later you come to this pulpit to defend ‘zajednica’, is it funny that you come and tell us what a good proposal you have accepted for the community? Is it to cry for ten years, a lost decade of Kosovo, of the opportunities of this country, of the violence and division in society that you have installed in every pore of life, of the lost lives that you have led and deceived by opposed this ‘zajednica’ which today you have come to defend, justify, praise and support”, said the chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Memli Krasniqi.
The opposition accused Prime Minister Kurti of a lack of transparency, although he said that he could not give details about the draft statute due to the request of Western diplomats.
“Although, on behalf of the people of Kosovo, the Prime Minister has accepted a document that for the first time defines the Association’s statute, we continue to be in a complete state of information. Such a vital document, already agreed with Serbia, continues not to be revealed in advance to the people of Kosovo”, said the chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo, Lumir Abdixhiku.
“If this prime minister believed in the will of the sovereign, he would never accept that the vital information for the Republic of Kosovo, discussed in the dialogue, be kept in confidence, away from the eyes of the citizens, away from the assembly, without their involvement and without the trust of the majority “, said Besnik Tahiri from the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo.
The establishment of the Association of municipalities with a Serbian majority is part of the Ohrid agreement, which the parties agreed on on March 18. This agreement requires good neighborly relations between Kosovo and Serbia, recognition of documents and symbols and respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It requires that the parties do not hinder each other in the integration processes, but it does not require mutual recognition.
Prime Minister Kurti said he was ready to sign the project offered by Western diplomacy, while again accusing Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic of rejecting it.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has stated that the issue of signing or non-submission was not raised during the talks, while he described the October 21 proposal as a good basis for continuing discussions in the future, but underlined that he will not accept anything that leads to the de facto recognition of Kosovo, defying Western demands that this happen simultaneously with the beginning of the establishment of the Association by the government of Kosovo.