Serbian President Questions the Essence of Talks with Kosovo, Has No Proposals, No Deadlines    

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has stated that he will be waiting for proposals on the dialogue with Kosovo, that he has no suggestions, no deadlines,  and does not know the essence of the expected dialogue.

In an interview for Radio Free Europe in Serbian, Vucic reminded the audience that Kosovo is part of Serbia as per its constitution, and that the two sides need to sit in talks.

 “The Constitution of Serbia says that Serbia is a single territory, including the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. The Constitution of Kosovo speaks of an independent state. Twenty-two European Union countries have recognized, five have not recognized Kosovo’s independence. What do we do now? What territory is it? And that’s why I said it’s important to talk and understand each other’s positions.”

Vucic said that the lifting of reciprocity measures by the Kosovo government has opened the possibility for talks to restart. However, he said he has no idea about the “essence” of the expected dialogue, and that the media and third parties have been talking of technical issues so far.

“We talk to everyone. My question is the essence: What is the content of the dialogue, what are we talking about, and what should come out at the end of the dialogue? If it’s just “Hey, Serbs, recognize the independence of Kosovo, so that we can finish that story, it will certainly not work this way,” Vucic stated.

One of the first decisions of the new Kosovo government, the lifting of trade reciprocity measures was a condition from Serbia to resume the dialogue. It practically means that Kosovo products exported to Serbia cannot bear “Made in Kosovo” or “Made in Republic of Kosovo” on labels or documentation, given that Serbia considers Kosovo as part of its own territory. Likewise, documentation for Serbian products exported to Kosovo now don’t need to mention “Kosovo” or “Republic of Kosovo” as country of destination.

Vucic dodged the question on Serbia’s red lines in the dialogue: “Whenever you talk about red lines, you are not ready to talk. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist. But when you start talking about it as the Albanian side says: ‘No, no, the whole of Kosovo is ours, so we will take Presevo, Bujanovc and Medvegja’, I just wait for them to say when they will take Kragujevac and Kraljevo.”

Asked about what outcomes he sees from the dialogue, Vucic said that he had been slammed when he saw possible solutions, possibly implying the alleged land swap project he had with Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci, also supported by Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama

The Serbian President stated that he had given up on such “big initiatives”.

“So, I have given up on some big initiatives and I am waiting to see what will be proposed to us […] I don’t expect anything,” Vucic said.