The first guest since the beginning of the pandemic. What Vucic wants from Putin
The President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic arrived in Moscow for the Victory parade. He will hold talks with Vladimir Putin, and almost immediately leaving for the United States. There you will meet not only with Donald trump, but with the leader of Kosovo Hashim Thaci. They will discuss the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Will Vucic to deal with the Albanians and are the Americans willing to mediate a settlement, understood to RIA Novosti.
Vucic had planned to meet with Putin a week before the parade. But Moscow had not removed all the limitations due to the coronavirus, so the presidents agreed to talks after the celebrations in red square. The Serbian leader has confirmed his participation in the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Russian capital.
In Moscow, Vucic arrived on a winner. In the parliamentary elections of 21 June, a moderately nationalist Serbian progressive party (SNS) won the majority in the national Assembly. For the ruling party receives more than 60 percent of the electorate, and this is the best indicator for all time of stay of SPP in power.
Moderate nationalists helped to achieve this result including good relations with Moscow. Vucic often meets with Putin, consults on current issues. In Serbia appreciate it.
Putin has repeatedly stressed that the problem of the status of Pristina should be resolved on the basis of UN security Council resolution 1244. This document confirms the territorial integrity of Serbia.
Besides Moscow in the talks on the Kosovo settlement involved Brussels and Washington. But Serbian politics, focusing on the mood of the country, trying to negotiate with the Russian side.
Therefore, Vucic will personally inform the Russian leader about scheduled for June 27 talks in the US with Hashim Thaci. The moderators of the discussion will be Donald trump and White house special envoy for Serbia and Kosovo, Richard Grenell.
Not only Washington is trying to reconcile Serbia and Kosovo. The main mediator — the European Union. It is under pressure from Brussels in 2011 Belgrade and Pristina started a dialogue. The EU promised to consider their request for membership in the EU, if they normalize relations.
Negotiations under the auspices of Brussels are, with varying success. In 2013, the parties signed "Brussels agreement" governing the rights of Serbs in Northern Kosovo. Two years later approved the document on the Community of Serb communities, providing Kosovo Serbs the right to participate in politics. But all this remained on paper.
Then the EU decided to apply the method of carrot and stick. If in the next few years Serbia and Kosovo will not be able to resolve a dispute about boundaries, the accession to the EU cannot be considered threatened in Brussels. The settlement, on the contrary, to help Belgrade and Pristina in 2025 to achieve the desired. The optional Serbs to recognize Kosovo's independence. Enough not to oppose the participation of Pristina in the international organizations.
Last year Serbia had proposed its own plan. It populated by Serbs regions of Kosovo North of the Ibar river would go to Belgrade. In return, Belgrade would pass the Pristina area in the South: Presevo and Bujanovac, dominated by Albanians.
Kosovo's President has supported this idea. Not objected and Brussels. But it was opposed by Germany, the UK and Finland, explaining that a redistribution of boundaries can serve as a precedent for other Balkan countries.
"The territorial integrity of Balkan inviolable. I will continually repeat it," — said Angela Merkel.
Not have approved the exchange and the people of Serbia and Kosovo. In order not to lose the confidence of voters, the government this subject was hushed up. Diminished the enthusiasm of the EU. But in the case of Americans.
The majority of Serbs today perceive the U.S. as the country responsible for the bombing of Belgrade in 1999. Rejection increased after Washington was among the first to recognize the independence of Kosovo.
However, the White house wasn't interested in a settlement giving Kosovo to the mercy of the EU. Everything changed with the arrival of Donald trump. Last summer, the state Department has appointed its own curator in the Balkans — Matthew Palmer. Autumn at the White house, there appeared a special envoy for the talks between Serbia and Kosovo, this position was held by the notorious former US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.
He was engaged in the preparation of the Serbian-Kosovo summit in Washington. The official, who is now helping the campaign headquarters of Republicans, not hiding: the improvement of relations between Belgrade and Pristina will be a major victory for trump and will help him get re-elected.
"If the Serbs or the Kosovo Albanians are not satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations June 27, just a return to the status quo," warned Grenell.
This has caused concern in the European Union. In Belgrade headed by the EU special representative for dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, Miroslav Lajcak. But Vucic has reassured him and confirmed that no agreement with the EU, Serbs will not sign anything.
Russia's attitude to the upcoming negotiations expressed by Sergei Lavrov. "We consider it counterproductive to force the so-called final normalization. Russia will support any initiative that will help Belgrade and Pristina to reach a mutually acceptable solution on the basis of UN security Council resolution 1244," said the Minister.
"Before the visit to the United States Vucic arrived in Russia for the Victory parade. Not many foreign leaders because of the coronavirus arrived in Moscow, and the presence of Vucic has acquired special symbolism," says the specialist on the Balkans, associate Professor Higher school of Economics Yekaterina Entin.
As for the Kosovo settlement, according to the expert, while Russia and Serbia are able to find compromises. Lavrov's visit to Belgrade, where the Minister announced the Russian approach to the problem, shows that Serbian politicians still listen to Moscow, the expert notes.
The analyst does not expect any breakthroughs from the meeting Vucic and Thaci. "The division of territories between Kosovo and Serbia, which was discussed last year, would be probably optimal. All breathed a sigh of relief and forgot about Kosovo. But the Kosovars against. They do not intend to make any concessions to Belgrade, Thaci can't convince the majority," says Entin.
Lot of questions raised and the ability of the US to become a serious mediator. "The implementation of the transaction for the exchange of territories requires a delicate diplomatic work. The main way to solve the problems for US is pressure. The ability to gracefully conduct long and tedious negotiations, the Americans cannot boast" — says the expert.
Trump has no agreed position on Kosovo settlement, says Entin. Doubt she is that peripheral for Americans, the problem of the Balkans can increase the rating of the President of the United States.
The Serbian scientist Stevan Gajić notes that Vucic himself cornered. The desire to accelerate accession to the EU is pushing its negotiations with Kosovo. But it may harm the relations of Serbia and Russia.
"Vucic is no secret that long held secret consultations on the division of the territory of Kosovo. The only thing preventing the deal is resolution 1244 on Serbia's territorial integrity. The President discussed with Europe and the United States revision of the provisions of this document, but Moscow disagrees. If, however, the resolution will change, nothing will prevent Uucico to distance themselves from Russia and to move closer to NATO. Although now Serbia has a fairly advanced relations with the Alliance," — says in an interview with RIA Novosti Gajić.