From: Exit Staff
Kosovo President Asks Parliament to Ban New Talks on Association of Serb Municipalities   

Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi has asked the parliament to vote on a resolution banning the government from renegotiating with Serbia Kosovo’s internal affairs, in particular the Association of Serb Municipalities (ASM).

A press release by the president’s office on Wednesday warned that possible renewed talks on the ASM amount to “a very dangerous mistake” that would violate Kosovo’s sovereignty.

“Opening of the topics on the rights of communities and the Association of Serbian Municipalities in the Brussels dialogue, is a grave and a very dangerous mistake made by the Government of Kosovo. It is a blow to statehood and a violation of the sovereignty of our state,” it said.

“The Assembly of Kosovo must urgently address this dangerous step of the Government of Kosovo in the Brussels dialogue. It also urgently needs to vote on a resolution banning the prime minister from negotiating Kosovo’s internal affairs and topics that endanger the internal state order.”

The ASM was part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. It stipulated that Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo will be able to form a self-governing association with full governing power in many areas, including education, health, economic development, urban planning.

The agreement was fiercely opposed by the opposition for creating the conditions for the “bosnization” of Kosovo, i.e. the creation of a state within a state.

In December 2015, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled parts of the 2013 agreement unconstitutional, and the establishment of the association stalled.

Thaçi stated that the ASM should be implemented in accordance with the 2013 agreement with Serbia and the Constitutional Court verdict. If Hoti engages in further talks, he risks allowing the formation of a “Republika Srpska in the territory of Kosovo”, the President argued.

His reasoning suggests that, contrary to the opposition claims back then, the ASM agreement signed by him as prime minister in 2013 poses no risk to Kosovo’s statehood, and does not allow for the reproduction of some kind of “Republika Srpska” – state within a state – in Kosovo.

The President warned Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti against reopening issues that have already been agreed in the EU-led dialogue since 2011.

“The discussion tomorrow in Brussels, on the subject of the Association, is the beginning of the installation of the Republika Srpska inside the territory of the Republic of Kosovo. Whereas, the discussion on Kosovo’s properties with Serbia is contrary to the Constitution and the laws of Kosovo, and is a violation of the sovereignty of our state,” he noted.

Both sides have claimed that the ASM and issues related to minorities’ properties will be discussed next in the Brussels talks between Kosovo and Serbia.

The position of the Kosovo government regarding the issues is not clear. Its chief negotiator has stated that transparency on the dialogue should be expected only when they reach a final agreement with Serbia.