"There is no solution in sight; There's nothing to offer to Serbia"
EU and USA want to resolve status issue of so-called Kosovo as it blocks their strategic goals in the Balkans, says Cambridge University professor Timothy Less.Source: Tanjug
Ahead of the visit of US envoy to the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar and EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak to Pristina and Belgrade, Less says that he is skeptical that any solution will be reached, because he does not believe there is anything Pristina can offer Serbia to compensate for the loss of Kosovo.
He adds that one of the topics of conversation between the representatives of the USA and the EU will be the holding of the April elections in Kosovo and Metohija, but that the main focus will be on broader strategic goals and attempts to restart the dialogue.
"As long as Serbia does not recognize Kosovo, they will return with new demands, until the two sides sit down and negotiate a solution in which Serbia will eventually have to recognize Kosovo. But I must say that I am skeptical about any solutions to this issue because I do not believe that there is anything that Kosovo can offer to Serbia, which will compensate Serbia for the loss of Kosovo", Less told TV Tanjug.
That is why he predicts, as he says, "the continuation of the last decade" in which the two sides had, he says, symbolic meetings, and that no solution or end to that issue will be reached. Asked whether Albin Kurti hears Washington's demands, since Escobar said that Pristina has an obligation to form the Community of Serbian Municipalities, Less said that Kurti hears them, but does not accept them.
"This call for the establishment of the CSMs is, from the point of view of the Americans and the EU, a reasonable compromise between the exclusive positions of Pristina and Belgrade. They want Serbia to recognize Kosovo's independence, and the compensation for that is that Pristina gives autonomy to Serbs in Kosovo," Less said.
The problem, he points out, is that Pristina does not see it as a reasonable compromise, because they expected that after the declaration of Kosovo's independence, "they are the rulers of their borders".
That is why Pristina is not ready to accept the demands of the EU and the USA to withdraw and give autonomy to the Serbian population, especially because they fear that this could be the reason for secession.
When asked what kind of CSM model mentioned by Escobar could be applied, he answered that there are possibilities for different variations, but that everything will be based on the fundamental idea - that Serbs will remain part of Kosovo, but with a dose of independence and free decision-making. "This may include different types of autonomy for which there are many models around the world and other parts of the Balkans," Less added.
When it comes to the conversation on the topic of voting of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija in the upcoming elections on April 3, Less says that Pristina will try to limit their possibility of voting, as it prevented their voting in the referendum on January 16.
"I think it was easy to predict, because Kosovo is determined to prove its independence from Serbia, and allowing Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija to vote in the Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections undermines Kosovo's right to independence and recognizes that Serbs living in Kosovo and Metohija are in fact, the citizens of Serbia, not Kosovo", Less said.
That is why he believes that, as in the case of the referendum on January 16, Pristina will try to limit the voting of Serbs residing in Kosovo in the upcoming elections in April.