Open letter by foreign policy reps sharply criticizes Serbian President Vucic and the West on Kosovo

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who has faced challenges at home due to long-running protests; challenges abroad in Kosovo–and pressures from the EU and the US over sanctions against Russia—took another hit this week when the foreign policy representatives of Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Czechia reportedly sent an open letter to EU and US officials on tensions in Kosovo.

The letter, reportedly first seen by the German publication, Tagesspiegel, has raised eyebrows in that it was in fact signed not only by the above mentioned countries, but by “10 chairs of foreign affairs committees and 56 Parliamentarians,” as stated by UK MP Alicia Kearns, who also published the full letter in a Tweet.

The call for change, which was sent reportedly to EU and US officials, criticizes “Serbia’s attempts to disrupt democratic elections in Kosovo” and calls for other countries to “denounce” this. The letter also accuses the West of recently holding back on criticism of Vucic and requests that “Belgrade-centric” policies in the Balkans come to and end.

The letter, reportedly first “seen” by the German publication Tagesspiegel, warns of the risk of further escalation in Kosovo and also notes “weak points” in the current policies adapted toward Kosovo and Serbia by not only the US and EU, but also the UK. Likewise, it harkens back to the arrest of three Kosovan police officers, who were later released by Serbia during one of the more tense periods of the current crisis.

For his part, Vucic has appeared unmoved by the statement, and only days before appeared with controversial Bosnian Republika Srpska leader Milorad Dodik to commemorate Serbs killed by Croatians during the war in Yugoslavia—at which point he called out the “hypocrisy” of the West.

Dodik is hardly a favorite in Brussels or Washington, yet the now open letter is unlikely to hold sway in Serbia or even among some Vucic critics, as it highlights a very one-sided take on recent events in Kosovo, including 1) elections, which were heavily criticized by the EU (which has also called for Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti to hold new elections in order to more fairly represent ethnic Serbs); 2) the aforementioned arrests, which while opaque were part of a series of arrests of police or former police by both sides and 3) an overly oppressive ethnic Albania police presence in Kosovo, which was also criticized by the EU and the US.

Regarding the last point, Kurti has moved to reduce this presence and hire new police that are not ethnic Albanian, and he has said that new elections will be forthcoming.

But finally, there does continue to be the lack of any form of implementation of a Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM), which was agreed upon following the war in Kosovo—and which has been a sticking point during normalization talks between Serbia and Kosovo.


Photo of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic by U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.


Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *