Haradinaj could take part in negotiations, expert says

After his acquittal, former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commander Ramush Haradinaj could sit at the same negotiating table with Serbian PM Ivica Dačić.

Source: B92
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Forum for Ethnic Relations Director Dušan Janjić told B92 that Serbian officials should not be surprised that Haradinaj was acquitted and released by the Hague Tribunal and that such verdict was expected.

“When Belgrade accepted to talk with representatives of the Priština authorities, a chance for Haradinaj to be in the negotiating position one day was open, so Haradinaj’s wish to be involved in the dialogue is not surprising,” he explained.

“He is the one who will continue the negotiations where Dačić and (Kosovo PM Hashim) Thaci left off. Thaci is most likely going to assembly to be elected as a president and he will wait Tomislav Nikolić in the spring for the second part of the talks called the political dialogue. So, we will see if Belgrade had any strategy and if it counted on these facts. If it did not, then it will surely negatively affect Belgrade’s position,” Janjić said.

On the other hand, Kosovo Albanian political analyst Ardian Arifaj believes that Haradinaj’s acquittal should not affect the Belgrade-Priština dialogue because it “is a legal issue that does not deal with relations between Serbia and Kosovo”.

“The court decision refers to the past and the dialogue refers to the future,” he said.

According to him, Haradinaj’s participation is “irrelevant” because there are much more important issues.

“The dialogue is led by the Kosovo government and I do not see why Haradinaj would affect the dialogue. It is important that the agreements that have been agreed so far are fully implemented so Serbia and Kosovo could start believing in the process and believe that a lot of effort has been made in the dialogue in order to do something good and positive,” Arifaj explained.

Kosovo Deputy PM Slobodan Petrović believes that Haradinaj’s participation would even “encourage” the dialogue.

“I want to believe that we will have a better dynamics in the process and that the reached agreements will be implemented, which is a foundation for all future agreements,” he told Tanjug, adding that this was in the interest of the Serbian community in Kosovo, Serbia, Kosovo and the entire region.

Haradinaj has said that he would once again be a prime minister of Kosovo and that he would be a part of the dialogue with Belgrade. The Serbian prime minister said on Thursday that it was in Serbia’s best interest to continue the dialogue despite the fact that Haradinaj was acquitted of crimes against Serb civilians.

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