Der Standard: Merkel to ‘bury’ idea of land swap between Serbia and Kosovo

The goal of the Balkan Summit in Berlin, due to take place on April 29th, is to finally “bury” the idea of ​​Serbia and Kosovo exchanging territories as a part of the solution of the ongoing issues – the German daily, Der Standard reports, citing diplomatic sources.

The summit will be attended by the Serbian and Kosovar president, Aleksandar Vucic and Hashim Thaci respectively, at the invitation of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Der Standard goes on to say that the German Chancellor will suggest, at the Summit, that the north of Kosovo receives some sort of special status, which is based on the agreement of the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities, from 2013, which has not been implemented so far.

Der Standard also writes that “according to diplomatic sources,” the goal of the meeting in Berlin is “to bury a plan for the land swap”.

The plan on changing borders along ethnic criteria was supported by the EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, the European Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, the US National Security Adviser, John Bolton, and the Austrian and Hungarian governments, albeit this diametrically opposes the existing policy towards the Western Balkans.

The German daily also writes that Angela Merkel “resolutely opposes” the land swap, and that “in the meantime, the United States has distanced themselves from this idea, having realized that it is related to legal and security problems and that the possibility of its realization is questionable.”

“The point of the meeting in Berlin is that for Federica Mogherini, who supported the land swap plan, to understand that this is not viable,” Der Standard adds.

The daily also quotes Austrian diplomat, Albert Roan who says that allowing the territory swap would destroy Martti Ahtisaari’s plan, which represents “the skeleton” of the Kosovo constitution.

“Our starting point was the fact that the people in the 21st-century Balkans are able to overcome medieval tribal reasoning and are capable of living in multi-ethnic societies,” Roan said.

According to him, the idea of ​​territorial exchange is generally considered to be related to the arrival of the new US administration to power, but the destruction of the Ahtisaari plan would also jeopardize minority rights and the whole constitutional construction of Kosovo.

(EurActiv, 17.04.2019)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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