Vucic-Rama: Clashing over Kosovo’s independence and Trepca

The meeting of the Serbian and Albanian prime ministers in Belgrade was marked by a tough debate about Kosovo and Metohija. The Albanian PM Rama urged Serbia to recognize Kosovo‘s independence while the Serbian PM Vucic claimed that everything relating to the takover of Trepca had been done illegally. Serbian Labour Minister Aleksandar Vulin said that Rama proved himself to be a „small-minded politician“.

A tough debate about Kosovo, the Trepca mine and the arrest of the Head of the Kosovo Police for the Mitrovica region, Nehat Thaci marked the Belgrade meeting of the Serbian and Albanian PMs, Aleksandar Vucic and Edi Rama respectively. Despite having totally opposing views of Kosovo, the two prime ministers did agree to continue cooperating.

During the panel discussion at the 6th Belgrade Security Forum, the two prime ministers clashed on several occasions because of their opposing views only to continue the talks in private at the Palace Serbia later that day.

During his last official visit to Belgrade, Rama did not refrain from giving provocative statements about Kosovo, saying that “sooner Serbia recognized Kosovo’s independence, better it would be for everybody”. He also said that “Trepca belongs to the citizens of Kosovo, irrespective of their nationality”, and that “nobody is allowed to take that away”.

The Serbian PM reacted very strongly to these statements agreeing that Serbia and Albania have different views about Kosovo and that, as far as Serbia was concerned, Kosovo was not independent. Vucic also said to Rama that he “knows a lot more about Trepca” than Rama does.

“Pristina did the worst possible thing regarding Trepca, both economically and politically wise. Everything has been done illegally and without consulting Serbia. Please, try to find one Serb who agrees with the takeover of Trepca”, the Serbian PM said.

At the panel discussion, Vucic also mentioned that Serbia never threatened to abandon the dialogue with Albania following the arrest of Oliver Ivanovic while Pristina, on the other hand, did exactly that after Thaci was arrested. An arrest warrant for Thaci dates back to 1997.

“The Ivanovic case is the best example of how Kosovo’s authorities are treating Serbs living there”, Vucic said while Rama retorted that he still found it hard to believe how Thaci crossed the border on ten different occasions only to be arrested the 11th time.

The Serbian PM also underlined that EU did not react at all to many injustices including the provocations from Croatia. He also touched upon the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina adding that he simply could not accept the claims that it was only Milorad Dodik’s fault for everything that had been happening there recently.

The Serbian Labour Minister Aleksandar Vulin reacted to Rama’s provocations about Kosovo and said that “Serbia is led by a renowned statesman and Albania by a small-minded politician”.

Rama also had a closed door meeting with the Albanian leaders from the three municipalities in South Serbia and announced that they would be getting economic assistance from Tirana.

(Vecernje Novosti, 13.10.2016)

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