BELGRADE — Belgrade’s negotiator in the Belgrade-Priština dialogue Borislav Stefanović reacted on Wednesday to statements made by Kosovo Albanian PM Hashim Thaci.
Stefanović told Tanjug that the announcement was “totally unacceptable” and added that Serbia would do everything to gain support from the international community in opposing such a move.
“Such behavior and such acts are totally unacceptable. We take this opportunity to request, especially from the international community, to prevent such a harmful unilateral action of the government in Priština, which plans to take over northern Kosovo and Metohija and make a long-term change of the ethnic structure in this part of the province,” Stefanović said.
Asked whether he would contact EU’s facilitator of the dialogue Robert Cooper, Stefanović said that it had already been done.
“We are in constant communication with KFOR and the EU and we are insisting that KFOR should unblock the alternative crossings and that Priština should be prevented from taking unilateral steps and from placing the so-called Kosovo’s customs officers at the checkpoints until a permanent systemic solution for these crossings and for the northern Kosovo issue is found,” he said.
Asked whether he had received any assurances from the international community that the Priština action announced for September 16 would be prevented, Stefanović said that the assurances had only been in the sense that “unilateral moves do not contribute to peace and stability”.
“It is obvious that even the international community is not completely unanimous on what an adequate response to the announcement by Priština could be. However, we should on our part use all diplomatic and democratic means to prevent it from happening and to get the support of the international community in opposing such a move,” said Stefanović.
“At the same time, we should strive to preserve peace, because the answer of the citizens and the Republic of Serbia should be the answer of harmony, unity and peace. In this situation, we should act wisely and not let easy solutions or those that allow taking any kind of emotional and violent actions outweigh rational reasoning,” said the Belgrade’s lead negotiator.
Stefanović expressed the hope that the government in Priština would not resort to a unilateral action and provocation that could permanently undermine the already fragile stability in Kosovo.
Commenting on the announcement that Taci will take action against organized crime in northern Kosovo, the Belgrade’s team leader stressed that it was yet another attempt to justify Priština inappropriate moves, adding that Priština should rather tackle crime taking place south of the Ibar river.
“The state of Serbia and the citizens in the (Kosovo) north, who are not criminals, I claim responsibly, will do everything to contribute to this fight,” said Stefanović.