Croatia Rejects Serbia-Kosovo Exchange of Territory

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, September 5, 2018 – Croatia believes that proposals for territory exchange are not good in the context of stability in Southeast Europe, Croatia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said on Wednesday in a comment on Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić’s proposal for a territory exchange between Serbia and Kosovo.

Vučić has been speaking recently about the idea of exchanging the north of Kosovo, which has a majority Serb population, for the part of southern Serbia with a majority Albanian population so that the two countries could get closer to resolving their dispute.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci agreed initially with the idea, but in recent days he has partly withdrawn his support for the proposal.

Meanwhile, the United States has said that it will accept a solution on which both sides agree, while Germany and Austria have expressed concern over such proposals.

“Croatia’s position is that raising the issue of borders and territorial exchanges is not a good principle in terms of contribution to the stability in this part of Europe and beyond,” Pejčinović Burić said after an informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), held in Banja Luka, in the Bosnian Serb entity of Republika Srpska (RS).

The meeting was also attended by Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić while Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli cancelled his attendance after RS President Milorad Dodik said he was a persona non grata in that town.

“Raising the issue of borders may solve one problem but it may cause many more and we are therefore very cautious about any possible solutions that would have that as their basis but would not take into account regional stability and security,” said Pejčinović Burić, adding that a territory exchange between Serbia and Kosovo could lead to such issues being raised in other parts of Europe as well.

Three former high representatives of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina last week warned in a letter to the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini about the danger of territory exchange and its possible repercussions for the situation in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Ukraine.

At the Banja Luka conference, Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the priorities of its second presidency of the SEECP, an initiative launched in Sofia in 1996 with the aim of strengthening regional cooperation.

The main priority of the country’s SEECP presidency, which it took over from Slovenia in April this year, is the same as the slogan “Better connectivity for better life”, under which it took over the chairmanship.

Congratulating Bosnia and Herzegovina on chairing the SEECP, Pejčinović Burić said that the presented priorities were very similar to the interests of most EU countries, of which five participate in that process.

SEECP members are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey.


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