Serbia's President: 'I am Prepared For a Compromise Solution for Kosovo' -
Serbia’s president vowed to start a nationwide debate next month on unresolved
relations with Kosovo and Albania, saying a “compromise” would fix most of his
country’s political problems for a century and open the way to European Union
membership, according to Bloomberg.
Aleksandar Vucic, speaking on Pink TV late Wednesday, said he was ready for the
process despite political challenges it may create for him at home, where most
of Serbia’s 7.1 million citizens oppose accepting Kosovo as a sovereign
country. Political parties that have called for its recognition have done
poorly in elections.
“I know, whichever compromise you make, Serbia will not forgive you, and I know
what the personal and political consequences can be for those who take part,”
Vucic said. “If we create an axis of peace and stability along the north-south
line in the western Balkans, between the two biggest peoples, Serbs and
Albanians, we will have solved 80 percent of our political problems for the
next 100 years.”
In the past few weeks, Vucic and other Serbian politicians have increasingly
<https://www.bloomberg.com/news/terminal/OTY4ZX6KLVR4> spoken of their desire
to move forward as EU-mediated talks between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians are
expected to resume following months of little visible progress. Finding a
solution is a key EU condition for Serbia before it can join the bloc. A
resolution would also unlock greater cooperation with Albania, Vucic said.
Unlike Serbia and Russia, most EU member states have recognized Kosovo’s
independence, which it declared in 2008 following the 1998-99 war.
Serbia’s most popular politician, Vucic became president in May after three
years of serving as premier. He has burnished his image as a pro-EU
administrator who’s trying to modernize the largest former Yugoslav republic’s
economy, a departure from when he was information minister for war-time leader
Slobodan Milosevic in the 1990s. Vucic said it was “important to have good
relations with Albanians and to sort them out once and forever, instead of
keeping a frozen conflict.”
Debate within Serbia would help outline the negotiating position before talks
begin. Changes that need to be addressed include amending Serbia’s
constitution, which says that Kosovo must remain part of the country, Vucic
said. A two-thirds majority in parliament would be needed to do so. Out of 250
lawmakers, Vucic’s party controls 131.
Vucic said Serbia, which has tried to juggle its EU hopes with keeping good
ties with Russia, is under international pressure over the balancing act.
“It’s impossible to show up anywhere in the West without being asked about
Russians, or Russians finding fault that we haven’t done something that they
consider to be in their interest, and which the West is opposed to,” he said.
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