SPEAK Openly” – Challenges of talks with Serbia

Prishtina, June 3, 2011 ” Today, Movement FOL began with a forum called “SPEAK Openly”, which aims to bring civil society closer to decision-making processes which are important for our country. The first activity within the forum was the discussion on Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. The panellists were: Mr. Bekim Baliqi, Head of the Department of Political Science in UP and Mr. Halil Matoshi, analyst.

Ramadan Ilazi, executive director of the Movement FOL at the opening of this discussion, said that the purpose of this debate is to bring a different perspective of the political talks between Kosovo and Serbia. He further stated that “It is important to understand that if this process will be summarized in an agreement and if such a document will be submitted for approval to the Assemblies of the two respective states. Kosovo experience has shown that negotiation processes that do not have public ownership can fail so it is essential the transparency of the process and the people of Kosovo are ensure that the country will benefit from this process.

On the other hand, Mr. Halil Matoshi, said that it is good that at least civil society can speak openly about this process, considering that in the Assembly of Kosovo we did not see something serious about this process.
“I think that it was not the right time for Kosovo to begin these negotiations. Assembly of Kosovo shall approve a resolution by which would require the suspension of these talks until the fulfilment of certain conditions by Serbia, including the cessation of the campaign against Kosovo’s and termination of the support of parallel structures in Kosovo.

The Head of the Department of Political Science at UP z. Bekim Baliqi, said that he disagrees with the fear what Kosovo is losing and what Serbia is wining from these talks. “What we know is that these are not talks, but classic negotiations. The most important issue in this process and which is not transparent so far is the duration of these talks, because they could not negotiate endlessly about something, “said Baliq. According to him, the parties which usually negotiate have opposing views therefore “the golden mediation” is required. “It is not yet very clear for Kosovo what to expect from these negotiations, on the other hand for Serbia it is very clear what it expects from these talks. If for Serbia has been a kind of seduction EU membership, and visa liberalization for Kosovo, it should have been known what would be the price that Kosovo will pay off in this case. “Baliq, who added that non-involvement of the United States of America as a mediator in these negotiations is a mistake.

Conclusions of this discussion were:
The Status quo in Kosovo is helping the crime in the north
Kosovo has began negotiations without previous preparation of public expectations and without a strategy for public ownership in the process.
The transparency of these negotiations is essential to increase public support for any eventual agreement