Koha: “France and Germany in favour of autonomy of North Kosovo”

Pristina-based daily Koha reported that the German-French non-paper, which proposes solutions for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and possible comprehensive agreement, stipulates an autonomous district and privileged status for the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Koha said that the document is a joint initiative by official Paris and Berlin but could not confirm its authenticity. Unnamed diplomats quoted by the daily allegedly confirmed that parts of the non-paper are in line with what the dialogue is expected to focus on.

The document says that the European Union will continue to facilitate the process leading to a legally binding agreement to resolve all open questions and achieve progress on the path to Europe. “Kosovo should not impose trade barriers on Serbia and Serbia should respect the status quo in terms of Kosovo’s international presence with both sides respecting the moratorium on the international scene,” it said.

According to Koha, the document says that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti will conduct talks to finalize the agreement to normalize relations and should complete the process by the end of February 2022.

That process, Koha said, will be based on several key elements in line with the Paris Treaty, Helsinki Final Act and 2005 Contact Group principles on the status of Kosovo and will ensure the implementation of agreements reached in Brussels. Both sides will respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

The two sides should also reach an agreement on establishing the “autonomous district of northern Kosovo” as a separate administrative unit that would have regional legislative control on the economy, finances, infrastructure, culture, education, health care, social security, the judiciary, police, urban development and European cooperation in line with the constitution of Kosovo. The autonomous district would include the majority-Serb municipalities of Zvecan, Leposavic, Mitrovica North and Zubin Potok.

The document also calls for special status for the Serbian Orthodox Church allowing it to function, without obstructions, “as a self-governing part of Kosovo’s political and constitutional system” headed by the Patriarch whose seat is in the Patriarchate of Pec.

The non-paper says that both sides would have to amend their constitutions to ensure the implementation of the agreement with Serbia agreeing not to oppose Kosovo’s request for membership in international organizations and both sides recognizing each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

(Nova, 26.04.2021)


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