Draft of „final agreement” with Serbia

The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) leader Ramush Haradinaj, will send a draft of the “final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia” to the Parliament.  

His party requested a parliamentary session today (25.02) dedicated to dialogue with Belgrade. 

Haradinaj, former Kosovo Prime Minister and a leader of the 1998-1999 wartime Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), suggests the recognition of citizenship and non-interference in internal and international affairs and advocates that the future agreement is in line with three basic principles: sovereignty, territorial integrity and constitutionality. 

„The Republic of Kosovo is committed to reaching an agreement in line with the idea of reaching a major solution at an international summit organised under the auspices of US President (Joseph) Biden, representatives of the EU and the United Kingdom”, the draft added. 

Haradinaj said that “the ‘grand solution’ should provide a final agreement and pave the way for an ongoing dialogue between the parties on all open issues after reaching a final agreement.” 

He believes that, after that agreement, the dialogue on other open issues should continue, with guarantees from the US, EU and UK. 

Putin Sends Top Security Envoy to Belgrade

Russian President Vladimir Putin is sending his top security envoy to the Balkans where Moscow has been trying to maintain influence mainly through its ally Serbia. 

Serbia’s pro-government media said Nikolai Patrushev, the powerful secretary of the Kremlin’s Security Council, is due to arrive in Belgrade in the coming days for talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Moscow hasn’t made an announcement about Patrushev’s trip. The talks are reportedly to focus on Moscow’s claims that “mercenaries” from Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia are being sent from those Balkan states to fight on the Ukrainian side against the pro-Russian rebels amid fears of a Russian attack. 

Officials from Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia have rejected those claims, which were made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week. 

Vucic on Monday (21.02) called a meeting of Serbia’s top security officials who reportedly also discussed the reports of “mercenaries” from the Balkans going to Ukraine. Dozens of Serb fighters have in the past fought in eastern Ukraine, but on the side of the pro-Russian rebels. 

Serbia has formally declared neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine standoff that threatens a major war in Europe. However, Serbia’s state-controlled media is squarely supporting Moscow in the crisis, carrying Russian propaganda without any questions raised. 

Illustrating growing ties between the two Slavic allies, Serbia and Russia have recently formed a “working group” tasked with combating popular revolts known as “color revolutions” that the two countries’ top security officials described as instruments of the West to destabilize “free states.” 

Western officials have accused Kremlin of “malign” influence in the Balkans that has helped fuel a wave of nationalism which threatens to undo peace in Bosnia after its 1992-95 war, reignite armed conflict over Kosovo that split from Serbia in 2008, and stir up political troubles in NATO-members North Macedonia and Montenegro. Moscow has repeatedly denied those claims, although maintaining that Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo must never join NATO. 

Early Parliamentary and Local Elections to be Held on April 3

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic dissolved parliament and called early parliamentary elections for April 3 on Tuesday (15.02). Vucic signed a decree to dissolve parliament and called elections for members of parliament on April 3, 2022.

Both decisions take effect with their publication in the Official Gazette. Vucic said that this parliament completed important things for the country, especially in terms of rule of law. He called the population of Serbia to turn out and show the country’s democratic capacities, that plans can be implemented in a civilized manner, adding that he wishes that the election winners will lead the country in the best possible way. He said he is sure that the people of Serbia know how to choose the best.

Meanwhile, the Serbian Parliament Speaker Ivica Dacic on Tuesday (15.02) called local elections in two cities and 10 municipalities for April 3. The last local elections were held in Serbia in the summer of 2020. He said that he would call presidential elections early in March, 90 days before the president’s term in office expires.

Montenegrin Parliament Relieves Speaker

The Montenegrin parliament relieved Speaker Aleksa Becic in an open vote on Monday (07.02), three days after passing a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Zdravko Krivokapic.The vote was by roll call.

Becic was the speaker for just under a year and a half. The initiative for his dismissal was signed by 38 of the total of 81 MPs. It said that there was no fundamental political dialogue while he held the post “because of which we are witnessing the greatest ever social and political divisions which threaten to destabilize the state”.

The MPs recalled the European Commission’s negative annual report on Montenegro’s progress on integration into the European Union. “A significant contribution to that report came from parliament under the leadership of this speaker”, they said.

Serbia Expects CSM Formation

In the meeting with the US and EU special envoys for the Western Balkans and Kosovo, Gabriel Escobar and Miroslav Lajčák, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said her country expected the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM) as envisaged by the Brussels Agreement and which Pristina had been refusing to do since 2015. Brnabic thanked Escobar, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs responsible for the South Central European portfolio and Lajčák, EU Special representative for the dialogue Belgrade and Pristina dialogue on the normalization of relations, and other Western Balkan regional issues, for helping the two sides in searching for a compromise, her office’s statement said.

It quoted Lajčák as saying the EU put a big effort to help resume the dialogue and called on Belgrade to continue to be committed to the process, adding that it was important for the whole region. The statement cited Escobar as saying that the US carefully watched the process under the EU auspices and strongly supported it. He added that he believed that both sides could only solve all open issues through dialogue.

Brnabic told the envoys that Belgrade was unhappy with Pristina’s ban on local Serbs’ voting in Serbia’s Constitution changes in the January 16 referendum. She pledged with Escobar and Lajčák to do what they could to enable the Serbs living in Kosovo to vote in the April 3 elections.

Escobar and Lajčák spent three days in Pristina earlier this week and arrived in Belgrade on Wednesday (02.02) evening. They met President Aleksandar Vucic and other Serbia’s top officials.