Ambassadors of France and Germany in Kosovo, Olivier Guerot and Jorn Rohde, expect the Government of Kosovo to start the process of forming the Association of Serbian Municipalities as soon as possible. At the debate on the topic „European proposal on the road to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia“ organized by the Media Center in Cagllavice/Čaglavica, they said that if Belgrade and Pristina do not comply with the obligations, which were agreed upon at the meeting held in Ohrid on March 18, they will bear consequences, which, as they pointed out, primarily relate to the closure of the road to the European Union path, for both, Kosovo and Serbia.
The Ambassador of France to Kosovo, Olivier Guerot, said that he expects the Kosovo Government to start negotiations on the formation of the Association of Municipalities with a Serbian majority, as stated in the documents. Guerot added that if both parties do not honor the obligations, they undertook at the meeting held in Ohrid on March 18, they will bear the consequences.
„Both agreements, the agreement from February 27 and the agreement in Ohrid on March 18 are a major step and a great achievement and the leaders were successful. Despite the fact that it has not been signed, we believe that the agreement is binding for both Kosovo and Serbia and we expect the two countries to implement it. There will be consequences if they are not implemented, and the defined dynamics are not fulfilled. We will try to tell them what the consequences are. I would also say that we expect the Government of the Republic of Kosovo to initiate negotiations on the Association of Serbian Municipalities as stated in the documents that were agreed upon,“ Guerot said.
German Ambassador to Kosovo Jorn Rohde also said that the Government of Kosovo must fulfill its obligations when it comes to the formation of the Association of Serbian Municipalities.
„We have an agreement, now we have the political will of both actors to implement it.“ The obligation on the part of Kosovo is the Association of Municipalities with a Serb majority, which must be implemented and it is a long-term obligation of Kosovo. On the other hand we have to recognize the symbols. There is no more opposing when it comes to Kosovo joining international organizations. So, we need the political will to implement all that and we hope that next week’s meeting will set the scene for all that,“ Rohde said.
Manager of the New Social Initiative Milica Rakić Andrić believes that the messages sent by the international community after the meetings and agreements in Ohrid signal that, as she said, the mediators are not really sure that the agreement will be implemented quickly and easily. According to her opinion, „it was not wise to declare that the Annex on the implementation of the Ohrid agreement was fully agreed“.
„I think it would be much better to have some middle ground where it would be said that 10% of the annex was agreed upon in Ohrid, that the parties also agreed that whatever the final outcome of the negotiations is, it will enter into the negotiation framework of Serbia and the parallel process that exists in Kosovo and say we continue to negotiate until that implementation annex is defined a little more closely, because I am afraid that the negotiators are now a little freed from pressure and will act by saying, so don’t pressure us now, we have this annex, let’s give us some space to prepare our public for the implementation of the agreement“, said Rakić Andrić.
The director of the Kosovo Institute for Policy Research and Development Lulzim Peci stated that he is not optimistic when it comes to the implementation of the Ohrid agreement on the ground, because, as Vučić and Kurti said, they have opposite goals and „they started implementing the agreement not in good will but in a bad way“.
„The process can also be reflected in the rise of ethnic tensions in Kosovo, because the Albanian and Serbian people in Kosovo have their own expectations from this dialogue and agreement. And if these expectations do not have a common denominator for joint life in this country and peaceful life in this country, then I think that instead of progress, there is a possibility that it will come back like a boomerang and even cause conflicts due to inappropriate fulfillment of expectations,“ said Lulzim Peci.
At the debate, the upcoming local elections in four municipalities in the north of Kosovo were also discussed, the ambassadors of France and Germany said that by not participating, the Serbian List is causing the most damage to the Serbian community.
„The decision of the Serbian List not to participate in the elections is regrettable and it is something that ordinary citizens will lose from. Elections are the foundation of democracy and the only and best way to prove your representativeness. I think it would be nice if they took a different stance. We can only encourage them to reconsider their position“, said Guerot.
„If you do not participate in the elections, you cannot influence the decisions and do not complain.“ They were delayed once, this was the second chance,“ Rohde said.
The debate on the topic „European proposal on the road to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia“ was organized by the Media Center in Čaglavica with the support of UNMIK.