Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj stated today that Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama and Kosovo and Serbia’s Presidents Hashim Thaçi and Alexandar Vučić have probably discussed the exchange territories between Kosovo and Serbia, Zeri.info reports.
Haradinaj was quoted as saying:
“There is a grounded suspicion that President Hashim Thaçi, Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama and Serbia’s President Alexandar Vučić have altogether discussed the exchange of territories under the leadership of High Representative Federica Mogherini. This suspicion is there, albeit that I can’t confirm it.”
He added that the idea of territorial swap was dead now and that it had been a waste of time for all the three leaders involved, according to Kosovo based Zeri.info news portal.
This is the first time that Haradinaj, a staunch opponent of any plan to change Kosovo’s borders, alleges publicly that Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama has been involved in talks with President Vučić about a plan to exchange territories between Kosovo and Serbia.
Whenever he was asked in public about the plan, Rama maintained that he had not been involved in any talks, and that he supported whatever solution the two parties would agree on, including exchange of territories, while also insisting that “borders will surely change”.
On Friday last week, Vučić revealed that the much-talked-about but actually unknown plan had been his idea from the beginning, and that it had failed at the Berlin Summit called by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Haradinaj’s allegation of today comes after several previous allegations that Rama had actually been involved in the plan since its inception and Vučić’s decision to attempt to achieve an agreement with Kosovo through territorial swap.
Former Chief Negotiator of Kosovo government in the dialogue with Serbia for the period 2014-2017, Edita Tahiri denounced Rama for having agreed with Vučić during a 2016 meeting in Serbia to launch this plan. She said she knew about this at the time when she was heading the Kosovo team in negotiations.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Vuk Jeremić also said that Rama, Vučić and Thaçi were working behind closed doors on a plan to exchange territories between Serbia and Kosovo.
Sonja Birseko, Head of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia also stated in October 2018 tha Rama and Vučić had agreed in Belgrade in 2016 to launch and support such a plan.
In August 2018, when rumors about the plan started, former Prime Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt wrote for the Washingon Post that Rama had told him he supported Vučić’s idea to partition Kosovo.
Prime Minister Edi Rama has neither confirmed nor denied that during his visit in Serbia in 2016 he and Vučić discussed any plan on a potential agreement between Kosovo and Serbia that would involve the exchange of territories. However, in a video post on his Facebook page right after his 2016 visit to Serbia, Rama talked at length about the “peace between the French and Germans” after World War II, and about the need for a “new policy towards Serbia”.
Rama has also neither confirmed nor denied that he, Vučić, Thaçi and Mogherini ever had talks on an agreement that could involve swap of territories between Kosovo and Serbia.
Today, during a press conference with HRVP Federica Mogherini, Rama said that he would talk more on this issue at a later time. However, he stated that the process for a territorial swap between Kosovo and Serbia would involve many states, parliaments, referendums, and it was “stupid” to believe that it could be done behind closed doors. He added that allegations against him “conspiring to partition Kosovo and redraw the world map” were all lies.