Founder and president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia Sonja Biserko has expressed her opposition to territorial exchange between Kosovo and Serbia, calling Albania’s support for it “unimaginable.”
During a May 19 teleconference on “the Future of Kosovo” organized by the Program on Peace-building and Human Rights at Columbia University and the Southeast Europe Security Center, Biserko said:
“Belgrade was looking and waiting for an opportunity to make a partition deal with Kosovars, and also I’m surprised that Albania… It was unimaginable that someone from Albania would support such a deal. I see great worry and concern [sic] that sometimes it looked as if Serbia had succeeded, and all this changed the international environment apparently, played it to Serbia’s hand, because they [Serbia] played among different factors: US, EU, Germany, Russia, China, Turkey. So it really gave more space to Serbia to play its game.”
Back in October 2018, Biserko had stated that Rama and Vučić had agreed in Belgrade in 2016 to launch and support a plan for land swap.
In the online event this week, she suggested considering the future of the country in three different levels: internal, regional, and international.
Biserko asserted that, since the 1980s, Serbia had never considered any other option for Kosovo besides partition, despite some right-wing positions that see Kosovo in its entirety as part of Serbia. Serbia will not give up partition, Biserko said, as long as it has the support of Russia.
In contradiction to the agreement Serbia signed with Kosovo, Belgrade hijacked the interests of the Serbian ethnic minority in Kosovo to set up a partition deal, Biserko claimed. She expressed concern over what seems like Serbia’s seeming success in this angle.
She also claimed that, alongside the formal dialogue facilitated by the EU and the US, Serbia had run a campaign of vilifying Albanians, criminalizing Albanian liberation movements and their leaders, and painting Kosovo as a mafia state. This was also accompanied by Serbia’s ongoing derecognition campaign. Increasing global anti-American sentiments also aided this campaign.
Biserko warned that a US-supported partition of Kosovo would destabilize the region. She added that such a notion should raise significant concerns for former Yugoslav countries like Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and highlighted the influence of the Serbian Orthodox Church in all these countries.
Biserko advised the EU should take a more active role in the Western Balkans, especially in the consolidation of the Kosovar state. She lamented the fact that Serbia’s future elections will most likely be won once again by current Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic as Serbia does not have the conditions for free and legal elections and the country’s opposition is unable to provide an alternative vision to Vucic’s nationalist one.