The recent escalation of inflammatory rhetoric between the officials of Kosovo and Serbia, especially the announcements about possible war and conflict in the Western Balkans is very worrying. Senior politicians from both sides will be held responsible for any escalation that would lead to increased tensions and possible violence in the region, the EU’s External Affairs Service (EEAS) said in their official statement.
“The EU expects the two leaders to discuss these problematic topics at the next high-level meeting, which was announced for August 18th by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell, between the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Aljbin Kurti,” it is stated in the announcement.
“Both sides must immediately end mutual hostility and dangerous statements and act responsibly,” the statement said.
Prime Minister of Kosovo Aljbin Kurti said in an interview with the Reuters agency that it would be irresponsible to rule out the possibility of increased tension and new conflicts, taking into account, as he says, Belgrade’s aggressive policy.
“It is problematic that we have an autocracy in the neighborhood, in the north.” We are therefore cautious and follow it carefully. We have NATO in Kosovo, and the European Union and even though we are not a member of them, we are not afraid. But we should not ignore Belgrade’s aggressive policy,” Kurti said.
The Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija in Serbia, Petar Petković, assessed that the only thing Kosovo Prime Minister Aljbin Kurti knows is to blow war horns and lead a policy of threats and blackmail, and this is evidenced by his latest statements in which he confirmed that he wants conflicts and that he enjoys the talks about the war every day, the Office announced.
“Instead of using empty rhetoric to divide responsibility between the abuser and the victim, and the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija are unequivocally the victims of Pristina’s aggressive and chauvinistic actions, the EEAS should finally take a more decisive stance and prevent Kurti’s war campaign with punitive measures, because in the end, if the situation has lost control, the responsibility should be shared not by Belgrade, but by those who could have acted in a timely and preventive manner, but did not,” Petković said.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić earlier said that the situation for Serbs in Kosovo has never been more complicated, asking Albanians, the international community and Kosovo Serbs to preserve peace. “If they don’t want to keep the peace, I’m telling you – Serbia will win,” he said.
He also said earlier that there is information about plans to prepare “the liquidation of our people” in the north of Kosovo, referring to the Serbian population living in Kosovo.
This statement attracted the attention of the Kosovo authorities, who saw it as a provocation.
A day after this statement, Prime Minister Kurti said that when officials in Belgrade, including Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, talk about violence and murders in Kosovo, they are talking about themselves, “they are talking about their imagination and thoughts.”
Prime Minister of Kosovo Aljbin Kurti said in an interview for Radio Free Europe that on July 31, there was a risk that the situation would turn into an armed conflict in the northern municipalities of Kosovo, “because of the fear introduced by Belgrade and because of the plans made in Raška and Belgrade.”
The European Union reminds them that in order to achieve a comprehensive and legally binding agreement for the complete normalization of relations, a climate is needed that would contribute to the return of trust, reconciliation and good relations.
On August 17th, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will hold separate meetings in Brussels with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić.