The emissaries of the presidents of the USA, France, Germany and Italy together with Miroslav Lajčak, the EU special representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, will arrive in Serbia in exactly nine days.
This is the second time this year that they are coming to Belgrade and they will certainly not come empty-handed. Blic’s sources indicate that they will propose a “take it or leave it” plan to the Serbian authorities and exert pressure for the Ohrid Agreement to be implemented, thus re-instating the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina which is currently deadlocked.
“After everything that happened in and around Kosovo and in Serbia, the arrival of the so-called “big five” in Belgrade and Pristina was fully expected. They will not come empty-handed, but partly to examine the situation and I believe, above all, to present a plan for getting out of the current Kosovo crisis and a plan for reinstating the dialogue, more precisely for continuing the process of normalizing relations between the two sides where it was interrupted in the spring of this year,” says Srećko Đukić, a former diplomat.
Igor Novaković, director of the Research Center for International and Security Affairs, says that Kosovo will dominate as a topic.
“I think that Serbia-Kosovo relations will be the dominant topic of discussion, as well as the further implementation of the Ohrid Agreement and the incident in Banjska. I don’t see sanctions against Russia being currently a burning topic,” notes Novaković.
The exact date of arrival of the five diplomats, October 21, was revealed yesterday by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, who said that the presumption that the Serbian authorities would be exposed to additional pressures is nothing new as he faces external pressures on a daily basis.
Now the situation is further complicated by the events in Banjska, when an Albanian policeman and three Serbs were killed in the conflict in the north of Kosovo. Igor Novaković calls the current situation in Kosovo „critical“.
“The very possibility of an outbreak of even a local conflict opens up the possibility of spillover. In the context of the war in Ukraine and the crisis in the Middle East, this is certainly a scenario that he (Vučić) wants to avoid. These are also the topics of the current session of the NATO Council, Ukraine, the Middle East and Kosovo,” says Novaković.
Nikola Lunić, from the Council for Strategic Policies, believes that the arrival of the “big five” indicates that there is less and less tolerance and more and more expectations from the international community.
“The expected pressure will be exerted on both Pristina and Belgrade and the incident in Banjska could represent a turning point for either sanctions or incentives. Regardless of the results of the investigation of the events in Banjska, the fact is that both sides violated the provisions of the Ohrid Agreement, for which the German Foreign Ministry recently said that it had no alternative. While Belgrade lobbied and voted against Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe, Pristina refused to discuss the draft statute of the Community of Serbian Municipalities,” Lunić adds.
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