The sensitive issue of the border between Serbia and Kosovo is on the menu of "difficult" discussions between the two countries, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci confirmed, after meeting Thursday with his Serbian counterpart in Brussels to try to revive the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.
"This meeting (on Thursday) was difficult but important: each of the meetings we are talking about is a progress, a positive point," he said in an interview with AFP on Friday at the end of his visit to Paris on the occasion of the commemoration of the centenary of the First World War.
"On the agenda of our discussions are missing persons, displaced persons, the Serbian Orthodox Church, issues of education, property, economic development, but also the demarcation of the 400-kilometer border between Kosovo and Serbia". has explained.
"We will work together to define the boundaries, but they will not be based on ethnic lines," he said. "Kosovo will remain multi-ethnic, even Serbia, there will be no movement of people".
This summer, Hashim Thaçi and Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic have, without going into details, discussed the possibility of changing the borders to normalize their relations, twenty years after the conflict between the Serbian forces and the separatist guerrilla war Kosovo.
According to media reports, a region of northern Kosovo populated mainly by Serbs would be exchanged for a region of southern Serbia populated mainly by Albanians.
This hypothesis has caused concern, both internally and among some Westerners. Germany and Britain are hostile, supporting a risk of destabilization for the whole region.
– Call Macron –
"This standardization process is very difficult and has very little chance of success, but as long as we continue the discussions, we are on the right track," Thaçi said the day after his meeting with Mr. Vucic and the High Representative of European Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini. The standardization dialogue launched in 2011 under the auspices of the EU has been blocked for months.
Serbia, together with Russia and China, refuses to recognize the independence of its former Albanian province, declared in 2008 and recognized by over 110 countries, including the United States and three quarters of the countries of the world. European Union.
When asked about his willingness to provide Kosovo with an army, much to the regret of the Serbs who see him as a red line, Thaçi said that "the armed forces of Kosovo will be well established." It is decided. "We are a sovereign country and no one in Serbia he can veto this project ".
Thaçi plans to take advantage of his visit to Paris to ask French President Emmanuel Macron to support the ongoing negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina.
"I will encourage President Macron to play an active role in the Western Balkans and support the search for an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia," he said.
On the issue of visa waiver for Kosovo citizens, requested by Pristina, Mr Thaçi deplored hearing "hesitant votes" in the EU, although the European Parliament voted in favor in September .
"Kosovo meets all the democratic criteria required by the European Union, now a political decision must be made I know that European leaders are in the pre-election campaign (in view of the European elections of 2019, ed) but nobody ought to fear the Kosovar citizens ".
"I ask all member states to make the right decision and not to leave two million people unjustly isolated," said the president of Kosovo, whose inhabitants are the only Balkan citizens who still have a visa to enter the country. the European Union.