Thaci: Final deal to include mutual recognition

Hashim Thaci says a final agreement with Belgrade would include mutual recognition, and "Kosovo's Membership in EU, NATO, and the UN."

Source: Beta
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(EPA-EFE, file)
(EPA-EFE, file)

In an interview with Beta, the Kosovo president said that the outcome of a final and binding agreement on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia would be mutual recognition, Kosovo's membership in the EU, NATO and the UN and Serbia's progress on its EU path.

Speaking about a meeting with the U.S. president's envoy, Senator Ron Johnson, Thaci said Washington fully backed the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

"The U.S. and the EU share a position, they have created enough space, under the EU leadership and with close support of the US, to ensure conditions and possibilities for reaching a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, which would envisage a mutual international obligation and parallel to that, mutual recognition," he said.

Thaci further said that Kosovo was not stricken by a political or institutional crisis despite the failure to adopt a decision on Kosovo's negotiating team during assembly sessions last week and resolutions adopted by the opposition.

"In Kosovo, as in any other democratic state, there are political differences, different opinions on certain matters, but Kosovo is by no means going through a crisis. I am convinced that Kosovo will act and be united in backing the state interests, that unnecessary differences will be overcome and that this will be achieved in direct communication within the political spectrum, both the authorities and the opposition," he said.

Thaci further said it was absolutely normal that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and he had different opinions and statements on the normalization of relations, but that both were committed to the same goal a peaceful settlement, an agreement of understanding, reconciliation and mutual recognition.

"It is not an easy but a very difficult process with only theoretical chances of reaching an agreement, but it is worth the engagement and work, and I believe that reason will prevail and that a settlement will be reached, after which Kosovo could step up its accession to NATO, the EU and the U.N. and Serbia its path to the EU. It is the only way we should take. Otherwise, prolonging the status quo and the frozen conflict will bring only problems and difficulties to our peoples and countries," Thaci noted.

According to Thaci, before reaching a quick settlement, it is even more important to achieve a good agreement, acceptable for both sides and applicable.

"We have waited for more than a century to talk about ways to overcome problems, hatred and conflicts. Our people have waited a long time. This is not buying time, but the need to reach a good agreement, acceptable for both sides, which would be a win-win solution and an agreement that would be applicable and at the same time be acceptable for investments from the EU and the U.S," he said.

Asked to explain the term "correction of borders," which he publicly supports, Thaci reiterated that there would be no division or corrections, nor would he allow the creation of a Serb Republic (RS) in Kosovo.

"I have been working toward achieving corrections of borders within the demarcation process for the 430-kilometer line between the states of Kosovo and Serbia, including the adjoining of the Presevo Valley to Kosovo. It means to honor the will of the citizens of Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja expressed on March 1 and 2, 1992. It is what I advocate and what I will present in the most institutional way in Brussels," he said.

Asked whether it would be possible for Serbia to accept adjoining the Presevo Valley to Kosovo and not ask for northern Kosovo in return, Thaci replied that he could not speak in Serbia's name.

"I cannot speak about Serbia, but we are not naive that Serbia will recognize Kosovo in goodwill, for its respect of Kosovo and Kosovo's progress on its EU path, or because they love Kosovo. It will be part of an agreement of joint interest, with compromises which would not be easy, but necessary and required for final peace between Kosovo and Serbia," Thaci said in an interview to Beta.

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