An agreement between Serbia and Kosovo is possible this year but it will certainly not include border changes, as the Kosovo Prime Minister - Ramush Haradinaj - confirmed in an interview.
For the premier, in fact, a hypothesis of this kind could revive the old demons of the late 90 war in the Balkans. The idea that Serbia and Kosovo could end their dispute through an exchange of territories had arisen last year suggested by the presidents of both countries.
The idea, however, was immediately criticized by citizens, political experts and above all by Haradinaj, absolutely against an exchange of territories with Serbia. Since then, the talks between the two presidents have stopped.
The words of Haradinaj
In an interview for Agence France-Presse from his office a Prishtina, Haradinaj said that an agreement can be reached between the countries, even this year, but reiterated that there is no chance that this will happen through the exchange of territories.
"Borders have been objects of past wars. "- added Haradinaj, referring to the 1998-1999 conflict that effectively separated Kosovo from Serbia.
Haradinaj's strong opposition to the territorial exchange places him publicly against the Kosovar president, Hashim Thaci who - together with his Serbian counterpart Vucic - had launched this proposal.
The prospect of further border redesign has sparked strong criticism from human rights activists. However, Western diplomats - especially the United States - seemed more open to the proposal than in the past, when the redesign of the Balkan borders was considered taboo after the bloody collapse of Yugoslavia.
Rates and interviews
Another key obstacle is the 100% tariff that the Kosovo government imposed on Serbian imports in November, undermining relations between the two countries.
Not surprisingly, yesterday the United States reiterated that this tariff is immediately withdrawn. In the interview with AFP, Haradinaj said the tariff was a response to the arrogance of Serbian officials, who had tried to "sabotage" the attempts to Prishtina to join Interpol.
In fact, Belgrade has carried out a long campaign to exclude Kosovo from the main international organizations, including the UN.
"If the talks become serious, we will give a chance to this possibility. But if Serbia continues to say that it will never recognize Kosovo, our response will be to never withdraw the tariff."- concluded the premier.
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