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CrisisWatch Kosovo

Unchanged Situation

Ahead of 7 Sept resumption of EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia on normalising relations, signals from Kosovo and Serbian leaderships that they may consider territorial swap as part of deal prompted strong reactions in Kosovo, Serbia and internationally. President Thaci 30 Aug said he would table proposal for border correction to allow for predominantly ethnic Albanian communities in southern Serbia to become part of Kosovo as part of deal, while also rejecting idea of partition of Kosovo; earlier in month, told press conference 6 Aug that deal with Serbia could include a “correction” of border. Serbian President Vučić 9 Aug referred to policy for delimitation with Albanians, and need for clarity on who administers territories. Participating in international forum in Austria 26 Aug, Thaci and Vučić both expressed commitment to reach a deal, and called for EU to support agreement that they reach. U.S. national security adviser John Bolton 24 Aug said U.S. would not oppose a territorial exchange if both sides agreed, while several European FMs voiced concerns about land swap, also expressed by local and international NGOs, and by three former high representatives for Bosnia, warning of potentially destabilising impact on Kosovo and region. Opposition in Kosovo called for resolution in parliament ahead of 7 Sept dialogue to prevent negotiations on Kosovo territory. Vučić mid-Aug announced he will visit Kosovo 9 Sept to present “guidelines and directions of state policy towards Kosovo”; also called for Serbs to show “much more tolerance” to potential deal with Kosovo. Tensions rose early Aug over allegations that Kosovo authorities were planning to seize control of Gazivode hydropower plant in Serb-run part of northern Kosovo; Vučić in open letter to Kosovo Serbs said Serbia would protect them and called on them to remain peaceful, also said Pristina would “not lift a finger” to fulfil its commitment to establish Association of Serb municipalities.

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Reports & Briefings

Latest Updates

The Western Balkans: Fragile Majorities

Political instability keeps growing in the Western Balkans amid geopolitical contests and increased tensions with Russia. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – First Update early-warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to engage intensively to ensure the political space for avoiding more serious crisis does nto entirely vanish in the Western Balkans.

Report / Europe & Central Asia

Serbia and Kosovo: The Path to Normalisation

Serbia and Kosovo must build on a recent breakthrough in negotiations and extend dialogue to sensitive issues, especially northern Kosovo’s institutions, in order to keep their fragile relationship moving forward.

Also available in Shqip, Српски
Op-Ed / Europe & Central Asia

Setting Kosovo Free

Originally published in Today's Zaman