Kurti warns of hegemony in Balkans, failure of Belgrade to distance from Milosevic

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Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti warned of ‘‘pan-Slavic hegemony” of Serbia and Russia in the Balkans and the failure of Belgrade to distance itself from Slobodan Milosevic, in an interview with Tages-Anzeiger.

Asked if it is possible to normalise relations with Serbia, Kurti told the Swiss media, “Serbia is not a normal country because it has not distanced itself from the legacy of the dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Belgrade seeks a relationship with its neighbours similar to what Moscow has with Ukraine and Belarus. Therefore, this neighbourhood is a security risk for us.”

In the interview, Kurti spoke about the ongoing dialogue with Serbia, and how Kosovo remains committed to normalising relations.

“We are interested in achieving a complete normalisation of relations between the two countries based on mutual recognition. We are always ready for a constructive dialogue”, said Kurti.

He added that a meeting with Serbian President Aleksander Vucic could be on the table soon- even at the Davos World Economic Forum, but it depends on the EU’s special envoy Miroslav Lajcak.

On the topic of the license plate issue that has plagued Kosovo and resulted in rising tensions over the last two years, Kurti asked the Swiss media whether they would accept a minority in the country travelling with French or Italian plates and refusing to switch them.

“The vast majority of Serbs in the north of our country have no problem with Kosovo license plates. A small group is instrumentalised from Belgrade. The armed people behind the barricades are not interested in human rights but in territory. They want to protect the north of Kosovo as a lawless zone,” he said.

Kurti also stressed that there are ongoing meetings with members of Serbia’s civil society, but these are kept private for security reasons. “I hired a Serbian adviser at the beginning of my first term. As soon as his appointment became public, he and his wife were so threatened that the young man resigned from his post. Others before him who wanted integration have been killed,” he said.

Source: Euractiv