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The Serbian ambassador to Italy: “The leader of Pristina feeds propaganda and tensions”

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The Serbian ambassador to Italy: “The leader of Pristina feeds propaganda and tensions”

Dear Dr. Molinari,

I am writing to you in reference to the interview entitled ‘Kosovo, Prime Minister Kurti: “We risk war. Putin is behind Serbia” ‘, published on August 8 in the Republic in which the so-called Kosovar prime minister made statements that were not only incorrect, but even irresponsible and misleading. Moreover, the threat of him that “the third war” could be triggered precisely in Kosovo and Metohija is quite worrying. The permanent challenging and radical tone of Mr. Kurti, aimed at launching attacks against Belgrade based solely on the existence of Serbia’s relations with the Russian Federation, has only further increased the political and security tension in our region.

First of all, I would like to clarify one thing: it was not Serbia that caused the recent crisis that broke out in the Southern Province. As explicitly stated, it was Mr. Kurti to unilaterally decide to introduce discriminatory measures that deny the right of free movement and violate the agreements reached so far between Belgrade and Pristina, in negotiations under the aegis of the European Union. By committing armed attacks against Serbian participants in the peaceful demonstrations of July 31st, Pristina has seriously jeopardized the peace and security of Kosovo and Metohija.

Speaking of security, I would like to clarify that last year the Republic of Serbia carried out not 91 or 104 military exercises, as Mr. Kurti, but a total of 21 exercises of which the greatest number is 14 with the member states of NATO or NATO, 2 with the European Union and 3 with the Russian Federation. In the context of the conflict in Ukraine, and as a neutral country from a military point of view, Serbia has decided to suspend all military exercises with its international partners on an interim basis.

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As regards the alleged number of Serbian bases on the administrative line with the Province of Kosovo and Metohija, I categorically deny the number indicated by Mr. Kurti. All the activities undertaken by the armed forces of Serbia are carried out transparently and jointly with the partners of KFOR, agreed at the highest level. Italy will certainly be aware of this given that, numerically speaking, the Italian contingent, with 638 soldiers, is the largest contingent of KFOR and that in the last 10 years, 9 out of 10 commanders were Italian. Incidentally, I take this opportunity to thank the Italian soldiers who protect the Serbian Orthodox monastery of Visoki Decani, a UNESCO heritage site – a more unique than rare case in the 21st century, namely that a sacred place, in the heart of Europe, is forced to avail himself of the protection of an army

II Mr. Kurti argues that the so-called Kosovo is a democratic and economically prosperous country. However, it is an indisputable fact that since the beginning of its government the number of attacks against the Serbian population in Kosovo and Metohija annually has increased by 50%. Even today, 23 years after the conflict, there are no guarantees for the safety of Orthodox Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija and their sacred places. More than 200,000 Serbian and non-Albanian citizens are still internally displaced in Central Serbia, most of whom have never been able to return to their homes. Considering that Serbian citizens living in the Province were not allowed to participate in the constitutional referendum or in the political and piesidential elections and thus to express their fundamental electoral rights, it can really be argued with certainty that this is a real democracy?

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Therefore, instead of dealing with the false assumptions and invoking war, we invite Mr. Kurti to deal with the real problems concerning the rule of law and fundamental rights. It is vital that Pristina immediately stop systematic, structural and physical violence against the KeM Serbs. It is also necessary to comply in a congruent way with the texts of the agreements stipulated in the Dialogue with the support of the European Union and to fulfill the commitments deriving from these agreements – first of all to establish, after nine years of signing, the Union of Serbian municipalities in the Province. Finally, it is essential that it refrains from raising the tone which only undermines the dialogue and the reconciliation process between the Serbian people and the Albanian people.

Serbia has always respected and implemented the Brussels Agreements and will continue, despite all the challenges, to be engaged in the dialogue process with Pristina, mediated by the European Union, as the only way to deal with all open issues is at the political and technical level. As for the Province of Kosovo and Metohija, our primary objective is to maintain peace and stability. Our policy will remain responsible and open to dialogue with the European Union, NATO and with all the main international players, among which Italy holds the position of particular importance, and which can contribute to quieting the propaganda of Mr. Kurti.

Therefore, pursuant to the article of the law in force on the matter, I invite you to wish to publish the above with due importance.

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