The draft platform for resolving outstanding issues between Serbia and Kosovo has drawn fire from the political opposition as well as from officials in Kosovo.
By Biljana Pekusic and Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Belgrade and Pristina -- 08/01/13
The platform was drafted by Serbia President Tomislav Nikolic's office. [AFP]
A Serbian draft platform for the continued talks with Pristina, which seeks a high degree of territorial and political autonomy for all Serbian municipalities in Kosovo, is "dangerous" and runs afoul of international wishes, according to a Serbian politician.
Zoran Ostojic, member of the Liberal Democratic Party (PDL) opposition party, said the premise of the platform would prevent Serbia's progress towards EU. "This paper is full of dangerous ideas," Ostojic told SETimes.
"Instead of rational proposals that would have a chance, [Serbia President] Tomislav Nikolic and his team run the risk that the international community is losing patience and do not allow any positive solutions for the Serbs in Kosovo," Zoran Dragisic, professor of Faculty of Security in Belgrade, told SETimes.
The platform put forth by Nikolic's office suggests that Serbian municipalities in Kosovo have jurisdiction in the fields of education, healthcare, judiciary, police, mining, energy, telecommunications, trade and finance.
"The autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija should be the highest legal act of the province to be declared a demilitarised zone, where the only legal armed forces were members of the Kosovo police and the Autonomous Police of Association of Serbian Municipalities of Kosovo, that formally would be an integral part of it," the platform reads.
Discussing the platform, Nikolic said "the issue of Kosovo and Metohija is a historical issue about which it is necessary to achieve the broadest possible consensus of all relevant political factors."
However, Serbia Prime Minister Ivica Dacic told reporters that the platform "is not holy scripture," and does not need to be adhered to 100 percent.
One must take into account the reality, Dacic said.
Kosovo authorities also rejected the Serbian platform for the talks, calling it a provocation and an obstruction to the dialogue between the two countries.
Arber Vllahiu, Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga's spokesperson, said in December that it represents an obstacle for the dialogue between the two countries and is illegal.
"The proposal of Serbia is illegal and not legitimate because it is being done for the territory of another state, which is independent and sovereign," Vllahiu told the media, adding that it intends to create double standards for the Serb community in Kosovo and "would incite the move of the Serb population towards the north [of Kosovo]."
"Independence is irreversible and its internal issues will not be discussed with no one," Vllahiu added.
Kosovo political co-ordinator for the talks, Blerim Shala, said the Serbian platform was sent to the Western chancelleries as a "non-paper" and presents nothing to discuss.
"We have nothing to talk about this document …We don't spend time talking about this document," Shala told Kosovo daily Koha Ditore. The platform is “contrary to what has happened in Kosovo, and is a failed attempt to change the direction of the dialogue started in Brussels."