Kosovo status

Interview with Alain Deletroz, International Crisis Group

Transcript and shot list 

00:00 General cutaways of Pristina

00:15 Cutaway of the government building in Pristina

00:27 Cutaways of a mosque

00:31 Road in construction

00:38 Cutaways of the Gracanica monastery

00:53 On possible “fresh” ideas and proposals for the negotiations on Kosovo status

The funny situation with this new negotiation cycle in my view, it’s not new, they have been negotiating for a long time, and the result of these negotiations has been the Ahtisaari plan which is not a negotiated plan but Martti Ahtisaari told the press several times: “who believes that they will ever agree?”. So the Russians and the French, but particularly the Russians, insisted on a new negotiation cycle. I’ve been in Moscowl ast week and I visit Moscow pretty often and I meet with the people, the ambassador to the Troika… You know if they have new ideas at least they haven’t told me about these new ideas and I haven’t seen any quotes in any Russian newspaper of any Russian politician of any new idea. France has, with Bernard Kouchner, moved pretty much in that sense also, for two reasons in my view – one is try to accommodate Moscow and the second is to make sure that with this new laps of time the hesitating EU member states be put more directly in the process and see what’s going on. But to be frank I don’t think there is anything better than the Ahtisaari plan.

02:19 On partition

Partition is a non-starter, partition would create a situation in the Balkans that would call for other areas of the Balkans to claim for the same thing and I think partition would be a bad thing, particularly for a neighbour like Macedonia

02:39 On the possibility of replacing the Ahtisaari plan

It’s almost eight years of the situation in Kosovo now, right? It’s all started in 1999. If you were serious about the reintegration of Kosovo, you would have had a plan by which we would know that okay e.g. you have foreseen that two people from Kosovo would be two ministers in Belgradein key ministries like Interior, Defence. That every decade you would have a few times a Kosovar PM or as President of Serbia, that you would have about 20 percent of the seats in Parliament attributed to Kosovo Albanese. None of these has ever been on the table. If you have had a plan, I think the Crisis Group position on Kosovo might have been different. OK you have nothing. And if they had nothing up till now, I don’t see why they would come up with something new now. People thought they may have traded partition with recognition but I think it’s a wrong approach. The West might have thought that but when you know the two parties, this is unacceptable for the two of them.

On December 10th, we will be in the same situation as in the beginning and so a decision will have to be made. The decision in my view, this time, will have to be the EU. Bernard Kouchner, Moratinos, Steinmayer, many of our ministers of foreign affairs have been saying clearly in the press in the last weeks that we don’t want anything to be imposed on us, on Kosovo by the Russians and the Americans. Fair enough. I’m very much on board with them on that, but then the EU has to show that it can make tough decisions and the tough decision here is that the EU will have to recognise an independent Kosovo.

04:38 On unanimous recognition of Kosovo independence by the EU

There are a few countries in the EU that will not recognise Kosovo. If there is not a Security Council Resolution on that. But I don’t expect Moscow to change its position in the Security Council before the end of the year. I don’t expect the Kosovars to be able to wait for much longer before making a decision on their own because you know Europe has been extremely careful not to give too much ground to the nationalistic parties in Serbia before the elections but we all seem to forget that in Kosovo also you have nationalistic people, right? And we wouldn’t like to see the present team in charge of Kosovo to be wiped away by much more extremist movements in Kosovo. So I don’t think that the present political team in charge of Kosovo will be able to wait for too long before making a decision and a declaration. And so for the EU, my expectation is that it will be extremely tough because you have a few countries, I say it, which will not agree to recognise independence. The great majority of EU member states will recognise it. But it won’t be EU recognition but it will be member states’ individual recognition. This I think will happen and the majority of European members will recognise.

To be clear, I don’t expect Greec eand Cyprus to recognise. I think Romania and Slovakia will have a hard time recognising. Among the bigger member states, another that will have a hard time recognising is Spain. But Spain might still change its view. Because Spain really wants to be sure that nothing can happen on the negotiations table. The Spaniards up till now still had the feeling that maybe around the negotiations table you could still come to an agreement. That’s why it is quite important for Ischinger now to keep the EU member states very well informed of what is going on. And my feeling with Spain, I might be wrong, if at the end at this process, Madridis convinced that really nothing can be achieved through negotiations, I would believe Spainwould be on board.

07:35 On consequences for EU aspirations for Serbia

I think Serbia can decide on its own not to apply anymore as a reaction to recognition of Kosovo. But again my view is that Serbia has to make its own choices. Where it wants to be. If it wants to be with Europe or outside Europe. You can be outside Europe like Switzerland and you can be outside Europe like Belarus. So, basically Serbia has three choices. One to join the EU, second to be outside Europe but not against it, like Switzerland and third to be outside Europe like Belarus. But the choice is theirs, it’s not ours.

08:21 Cutaways of Alain Deletroz

08:53 Cutaways of ICG