Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić has stated that Serbia will continue its policy of undermining Kosovo’s statehood during 2020, while pushing for regional cooperation with other countries.
“Serbia will continue to fight for the preservation of its territorial integrity and sovereignty in 2020, [and] struggle for a compromise solution to the Kosovo-Metohija issue, as well as [lobbying countries] to withdraw recognition of Kosovo’s independence,” Blic.rs quoted Dačić as saying while announcing the continuation of diplomatic action against Kosovo’s statehood.
Dačić said that 20 countries have withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo since the Serbian government started its policy of actively lobbying in that direction. “I expect more states will withdraw recognition of the so-called Kosovo,” he added.
The Serbian government of President Alexandar Vučić has continuously worked to block Kosovo’s membership in international organizations and lobbied countries to withdraw their recognitions. It has been successful in hindering its membership in UNESCO and INTERPOL, while it has also been accused of bribing foreign government members over recognition withdrawals.
Dačić also underlined that Serbia will foster regional cooperation in the Balkans.
“As for regional cooperation, it is important […] that everyone in the region shares the belief that together we are stronger and that we can achieve much more if we seek common interests,” Blic.rs quoted him as saying. “Of course, we will not agree on everything, but the common interest is to look to the future,” he added.
In October 2019, Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia’s leaders started talks on establishing a “Balkan mini Schengen” – an initiative for free movement of people and goods in the region. While other Balkan countries have hesitated to join the project dubbed by Vučić in 2017 as “old Yugoslavia, plus Albania”, Kosovo has straightforwardly refused thrice to participate due to Serbia’s animosity toward its statehood.
Despite Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s invitations, insults and accusations against Kosovo leaders, who have denounced the initiative as benefiting Serbia and going against Albanians’ interests in the region, the youngest Balkan country has not change its position regarding mini Schengen.