What’s Germany’s role in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue?

Amarildo Prendi is from Albania and studies Informatics at the “Luigj Gurakuqi” university in Shkoder.

Albania | November 1, 2020 | Student Essay

Will there ever be peace between Kosovo and Serbia? – It has been several years since the dialogue between the two countries has began with the aim of recognizing Kosovo as an independent country. But how can we better understand this dialogue? The Belgrade-Prishtina dialogues are a series of EU-facilitated talks between the governments of Serbia and Kosovo. Kosovo considers Serbia as its neighboring state, while Serbia regards Kosovo as its southern province, under United Nations administrations, and rejects its independence. The series are the first negotiations between the two entities since Kosovo declared independence in February 2008.

The dialogue, however, has encountered some obstacles in its recent meeting that was hosted by United Nations. Two days before the meeting in  Washington, the Hague-based Specialist Prosecutor’s Office filed a ten-count indictment with the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC), accusing the Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, Kosovo politician Kadri Veseli and others of having committed crimes against humanity and war crimes. This led to the cancellation of the meetings.

Germany has played an important role in these negotiations and has supported Kosovo ever since the UN’s mission. Germany was one of the first countries to officially recognize and establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Kosovo – after the country declared its independence in 2008. Furthermore, the government and the people of Kosovo have not forgotten that Germany took in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Kosovo before and during the 1998/99 conflict, and that from 1999 onwards, it helped with reconstruction efforts, initially through emergency relief measures and shortly afterwards by aiding in development cooperation.

Germany is considered one of Kosovo’s closest partners, actively supporting the country in its efforts towards integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Regular visits by members of the Federal Government and German Bundestag underline the importance that Germany attaches to Kosovo’s development – also as a factor for the stability of the region as a whole.

The German soldiers (KFOR), police officers, judges, public prosecutors and civilian experts (UN-led mission UNMIK and EU rule of law mission EULEX) helped to strengthen the good relations between the two countries. They were deployed in Kosovo as part of international missions that pursue professionalism and objectivity.

Germany has always been determined to solve the conflicts between two countries. Conflict mitigation was pursued by the Foreign Minister of France Le Drian, and the German Federal Minister Maas in the Western Balkans in June 2020.The unresolved conflict between Kosovo and Serbia remains to be a destabilizing factor within the entire Western Balkan and is therefore a European security issue. It hinders the much-needed economic development and impedes political progress.

Germany has asked many times – in collaboration with France – to be part of the negotiations between the two countries. Germany and France stand ready to support Prishtina and Belgrade, and their teams with all their political, diplomatic and economical potential.

Millions of Euros have been given to these countries from the Germany to support the dialogue and their economies. But yet, we have to wait and see the positive results. President Thaçi has to make it through trial and restart the important dialogues – which would serve both the EU and the whole world. The people of Kosovo are willing for total independence and for total peace. They all deserve it!

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