Russian ambassador: Kosovo is protectorate, not real state
Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Chepurin says it is "increasingly clear" the EU is lacks the strength to secure the implementation of Kosovo dialogue agreements.Source: Beta
"The European Union, with the consent of Belgrade, assumed the role of a mediator in resolving the conflict. But today it is increasingly clear that it lacks the strength to ensure the implementation of even the first (Brussels) agreement," the diplomat told TV Most from Zvecan, a town in northern Kosovo.
He said he believes Kosovo will remain a part of Serbia, and that the stance and the approach that Serbia takes will be of crucial importance in solving the Kosovo problem.
"Kosovo is not a state, Kosovo is a de facto protectorate. Then why do they want to create their own army? A clear reaction of the international community is needed. Some things are quite obvious, while a mediator must be expressing a clear position about them. We believe that Kosovo will remain a part of Serbia and that the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija will be fully protected," Chepurin said, according to a Beta agency report.
He also noted that pressures applied in order to push Kosovo into some international organizations have been "well known."
Speaking about the issue of Kosovo and Metohija and UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which he said is the basic document "accepted by all" as the foundation for solving the Kosovo problem, Chepurin said it was important that Belgrade does not recognize the unilateral act of secession, i.e., the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo made by the province's ethnic Albanians in 2008.
"The approach of Serbia, Serbia's position will have a crucial importance. The European Union has some frameworks of its activities that have been established by the UN Security Council, which it should respect. It should not be deciding alone to hand over some competencies to the Kosovo authorities. When there is no other solution, when there is no agreement, we should be preserving what we have," said Chepurin.
According to him, the deals stemming from the Brussels agreement, the documents that can contribute to solving the problems in Kosovo, are being "poorly implemented."
The ambassador mentioned the agreement on the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (ZSO) as one of the most important parts of the Brussels agreement, and said the delay in its establishment was "a problem."
"Protecting the rights of Serbs and creating the Community - these are, from my point of view, the key things for the progress of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. We have a lot of problems that should be solved with the help of the international community - the problem of the seizing of property, of the demolitions of Serb houses. Another thing are the Serb refugees from Kosovo. Again the same - there are agreements, and conditions need to be created. Number three is the preservation of the Serb religious heritage," said Chepurin.
"Overall, in the first place, we need to move forward without conflict, without blood. And so we seek to solve these problems in a peaceful way. Another thing that is important - the rights of Serbs in Kosovo. Here, too, the Community of Serb Municipalities plays an important role. A document was signed in Brussels, and when we say that dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina should continue, we mean that the agreements already achieved must be implemented," said the Russian ambassador.
He added that "everyone is aware that people in Kosovo and Metohija find it very important to have jobs, to be paid for their work, to be able to support their children, to survive."
"When the economic situation is such both in the south and in the north of Kosovo, then of course there are no grounds for great optimism. And considering that 300-350 militants from Kosovo are now in Syria - then what can this region expect once that war is over? Due to these factors we cannot talk calmly, rationally and with optimism. But since we do have these problems, we need to be solving them somehow," he said.
Speaking about relations between Serbia and Russia, Chepurin noted that the two sovereign countries established their formal ties more than 500 years ago. Each time Serbia found itself in a complicated situation and had nowhere to turn to - it turned to Russia, he remarked, adding that Russia would then "try to help as much as it could."
"We are trying to help Serbia in every way, when possible. We wanted to build South Stream (pipeline), but the EU did not allow it. We have a free trade regime, which is very useful for Serbia. And a number of other benefits and agreements. We cooperate with Serbia, and our cooperation is not directed against anyone. There is no valid reason for someone to try to undermine our relations. And Kosovo, too, is an important element. We support Serbia's position, we will try to do what will most beneficial to the Serbs," said Chepurin.