Belgrade-Pristina: The real reason behind warmongering

For Kosovo it is the pre-election campaign, and for Serbia, it is a smokescreen for laziness and mistakes made in internal politics – these are, analysts say, the main reasons behind the dangerous nationalistic rhetoric of Belgrade and Pristina.

While the United Nation’s Security Council warns that, in such atmosphere, the trust needed for further normalization of Belgrade-Pristina relations has been disrupted, it seems there is no end to this tension.

“Playing with nationalism is dangerous because you never know when is the rat going to escape the laboratory, so to speak”, says foreign politics expert, Bosko Jaksic. Also, other political analysts have been warning about the same for weeks now, especially those who vividly remember the 1990s. However, the officials in Serbia and Kosovo are still not reacting.

The provocative, nationalism-laden rhetoric, along with the accusations of demeaning the region’s stability had marked the Belgrade-Pristina relations for weeks prior to the regular meeting of the United Nations Security Council dedicated to the situation in Kosovo. This is also what the head of the UNMIK in Kosovo, Zahir Tanin warned about too, at the meeting in New York, saying that “such rhetoric and statements can only produce unwanted effects”.

“The escalation of the situation has been avoided due to several diplomatic interventions, but the trust between Pristina and Belgrade has been undermined by certain irresponsible and flammable statements”, said Tanin quoting the statements made by both Albanian and Serbian politicians in the last few months which just added fuel to the fire.

First there were statements made by the presidents of Albania and Kosovo, Edi Rama and Hashim Tachi respectively, who said that if there was no future for these two countries in the EU, there was a possibility that all Albanians would unite and live in one state. Then there was a ‘barrage’ that came from Belgrade with the Serbian officials accusing their Albanian counterparts of conducting “an organized campaign on implementation of the Greater Albania project which is a threat to peace and stability in the region”.

In the light of the future parliamentary election in Kosovo, we should also mention the messages coming from the head of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and a candidate for prime minister, Ramush Haradinaj who said that “Albanians would finish off the job themselves if Brussels and Washington failed to resolve the issues regarding Serbia and Kosovo”.

“But elections in Serbia are over, and I have to say that I was surprised to see how Serbian officials reacted to these statements. They must have been aware of the fact that such statements were made only for the purpose of internal political promotion”, said Bosko Jaksic.

The reaction from the Serbian president, Tomislav Nikolić, who called Haradinaj “a dog who tasted the human flesh, and had to be punished in order to stop growling”, was just one out of many statements that were made when the French court refused to extradite Haradinaj to Serbia.

Then there were statements made by the former head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, William Walker who talked about the Albanian unification project. Consequentially, the Serbian Justice Minister, Nela Kuborovic sent a protest note to the Security Council because of Walker’s statements. The Kosovo ambassador to the UN, Vlora Citaku said, at the very same Security Council meeting, that “there is no greater Kosovo or Greater Albania, just Albanians who want to become EU citizens”.

“To make a huge case out of the statements made by the retired Walker or Hardinaj who is fighting for his political position and the place under the sun by going against Thaci in Kosovo, or the statements made by Edi Rama who is facing the opposition’s boycott in his own parliament just prior to the election, is detrimental to us because then we get cautioned by the Security Council and Brussels and asked to exercise common sense and restraint”, Jaksic adds.

Serbian tabloids have also joined this warmongering effort. Recently, there were media reports, that have never been validated or confirmed, that the Serbian authorities ceased weapons meant for the Albanians for carrying out armed attacks in Macedonia. Not to mention the headlines like “We are going to kill Serbian children” placed right above the pictures of the KLA members, or Serbian Interior Minister, Nebojsa Stefanovic saying that “the Albanians are not going take an inch of the Serbian land”

The Cenzolovka website, which monitors media freedom, says that, since 20th February this year, the Informer newspaper (which is close to the party in power), has put warmongering titles on 12 of its covers.

The international community is well aware of the reasons for such rhetoric, and, according to Jaksic, everything could be resolved with a few slaps on the wrist on both sides. However, if the tensions continue, the upcoming dialogue between Balkan leaders in Brussels, could be in jeopardy.

(Radio Free Europe, 17.05.2017)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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One Reply to “Belgrade-Pristina: The real reason behind warmongering”

  1. Hannah Montcolly says:

    Well, let’s think when the mere suggestion that a Greater Serbia was on the wish list, no doubters there in the international community, no hesitation to raze Serbia to the ground when she stood her ground when USA wanted it’s usual selfish deal over Kosovo, it’s wealth of minerals and strategic position in the Balkans, USA made sure the world believed that Serbia was a threat to be dealt with by any means necessary… why hand Kosovo over to Albanian rule? Why excuse Kosovo Albanians for their destruction and violation of all buildings, sacred places and churches that are Serbian? Why should we not believe that a Greater Albania is realistically planned? We have been lied to over Serbia so her demise would be assured, we have seen positive discrimination in favour of all things Albanian….as a non-Serb and non-Albanian I look at what is happening in Serbia through unbiased eyes and all I have seen is the on going prejudice against Serbs that shows no sign of waning.

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