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Kosovo–Serbia relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kosovan–Serbian relations
Map indicating locations of Kosovo and Serbia


Coat of arms of Kosovo.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Constitution and law
Coat of arms of Serbia small.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The Republic of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a move which Serbia rejects. Initially there were no relations between the two; however, in the following years there have seen increased dialogue and co-operation between the governments of Kosovo and Serbia.

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  • ✪ KOSOVO | Why Is It So Important To Serbs?
  • ✪ Doc: NATO's illegal WAR againgst SERBIA. KOSOVO LIES part1/2


Kosovo is a region in South Eastern Europe that has been seed of conflict between ethnical Serbs and Albanians for many years. The conflict has reached its peak in 1998 when war between Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Kosovo Liberation Army officially started. On one side were Yugoslavs (by that time Republics of Serbia and Montenegro) and on the other were Kosovo Liberation Army, NATO and Albanian army. The Kosovo Liberation Army was formed in 1991. That was the same year when Slovenia and Croatia left Yugoslavia. Since Yugoslavia was dealing with interal conflicts and other unresolved issues, KLA saw it as a perfect opportunity for Kosovo to break away. In 1995 they carried out first attacks targeting Serbian law enforcement in Kosovo. In the following years many sabotages were carried out with sole purpose of destabilizing the region and reducing the presence and authority of Serbian enforcement in Kosovo. Large amounts of arms have been smuggled from Albania which caused massive rebellions. That only later resulted in an increased presence of Serb paramilitaries and regular forces who began pursuing a campaign of retribution targeting KLA sympathisers and political opponents. After trying to resolve the conflict with diplomacy – which obviously failed, NATO intervened and justified the campaign in Kosovo as a "humanitarian war". The conflict continued for the next couple of years causing aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia in 1999. The war concluded on 9th June 1999 with Kumanovo Treaty and in 2008 Kosovo gained its independence – sort of say, since it wasn't really recognized by all countries. Point of this video however isn't talking about what has happened in Kosovo War since all this information is quite easy to get by on internet. Point of this video is: Why? Why where there over 3,000 casualties? Why did Kosovo started to attack Serbian law enforcment and wanted to break away? Why is there such a hate between Serbians and Albanians? Well we can't really answer all that in a simple sentance. Kosovo has been a hotspot, place conflicts and violence long before The Kosovo War. In fact even in Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, every once in a while, Tito had to send an army to Kosovo to reestablish peace and order. So why was there always a conflict in Kosovo? Well, that's because Kosovo was ethnically quite different from the rest of the Yugoslavia. As you might know Yugoslavia was consisted of several ethnicities. They were all however Slavic. But majority of Kosovo were ethnic Albanians. So why do Serbians feel so close to Kosovo? Why do you often hear a phrase:«KOSOVO JE SRCE SRBIJE« (meaning Kosovo is heart of Serbia) when majority of Kosovars are ethnic Albanians? Well Kosovo may not seem important to someone who isn't Serbian, after all the region has economic issues and other internal difficulties. But Kosovo is rather sacred to Serbs. It's the very cradle of Serbian identity and their faith. Kosovo has been part of Serbia for over 800 years and the Serbs have been living in Kosovo for over thousand years. It’s part of their inheritance, part of the country where most of the Serbian churches and monasteries are located. This is also why Kosovo is actually fully named Kosovo and Metohija. The name originates from the word Metod that stands for church land. The most important event in Kosovo was undoubtedly The Battle of Kosovo. In 1389 the battle between Kingdom of Serbia and Ottoman Empire was fought. Although there was no victor, the battle had its own consequences. The Ottomans had to postpone the conquest of Europe and focus on an already occupied area – at least until they were at their full power again. And Serbs... well they suffered terrible losses. Most of Serbian nobility died trying to defend the land and human losses were simply too much. Serbia never recovered and in later years The Ottomans took control of the Serbian country. Now there are several theories on to whom the land actually belongs to. Albanians claim they’ve been present in the Balkans since god knows when and Serbs claim that Albanians only settled on Kosovo during The Ottoman rule. Now although thousands of Serbs had fled Kosovo they were still the majority until the WWII. Before the WWII there were more than 60% of Serbs in Kosovo. During the WWII however, hundreds of thousands of Serbs were again killed or forced to flee from Kosovo. The result was that after the war the Albanians became the majority in Kosovo. And the rest is history. My personal opinion on the topic is that Kosovo and Metohija is undoubtedly Serbian land and I really do understand why Serbs feel the way they do. Now don't get me wrong, many horrible events have unfolded between the years of 1995 and 1999. By no means I support any kind of genocide but I do now understand why things are where they are. The region simply has too many ties to Serbia. It’s the beginning and the cradle of the Serbian identity. The symbol of Serbian faith. So it’s very unfortunate that those events unfolded in this way and that we are where we are. But it is also very unfortunate, that many, especially Slavic countries, didn’t step in and supported the Serbs. I am from Slovenia and I still question myself why Slovenia along with many other Slavic countries recognized the independance of Kosovo. I do understand the politics work in a different way, they have their own interests and probably number one for these countries was simply to be on the majority side and latter get “points” to join the EU or/and NATO. But many of these, I’m not gonna say people, since I do believe many Slovenians and Croats actually support Serbia, many of these politicians totally forgot that especially Slovenians, Croats and Serbs worked together in the past for common goal. These countries or I can say people have truly been brotherly with eachother. And today, nothing matters since politics don't care about any of this. Well what can I say, I hope you enjoyed this video, and learned a thing or two. If you did, please make sure you like and share it – I’m sure it’ll get many dislikes since it’s a very sensitive topic. So really, by liking and sharing, you really do help a lot! Thanks for watching and there's only one last thing I want to say: Kosovo je srce Srbije i istina će izaći jednog dana! (Kosovo is the heart of Serbia and the truth will come out one day) Samo hrabro braća i podrška od Slovenca! (Be brave and support from a Slovenian) Thanks for watching.


Reaction to declaration of independence

Serbia strongly opposed Kosovo's declaration of independence, which was declared on 17 February 2008. On 12 February 2008, the Government of Serbia instituted an Action Plan to combat Kosovo's anticipated declaration, which stipulated, among other things, recalling the Serbian ambassadors for consultations in protest from any state recognising Kosovo, which it has consistently done.[1][2] Activities of ambassadors from countries that have recognised independence are limited to meetings with Foreign Ministry lower officials.[3] The Serbian Ministry of the Interior issued an arrest warrant against Hashim Thaçi, Fatmir Sejdiu and Jakup Krasniqi on 18 February 2008 on charges of high treason.[4][5]

On 8 March 2008, the Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica resigned, dissolving the coalition government, saying it was too divided over the Kosovo situation to carry on. A pre-term parliamentary election was held on 11 May 2008, together with local elections.[6][7] President Boris Tadić stated that the government fell "because there was no agreement regarding further EU integration".[8]

On 24 March 2008, Slobodan Samardžić, Minister for Kosovo and Metohija, proposed partitioning Kosovo along ethnic lines, asking the United Nations to ensure that Belgrade can control key institutions and functions in areas where Serbs form a majority[9] but other members of the Government and the President denied these claims.[10] On 25 March 2008, the outgoing Prime Minister, Vojislav Koštunica stated that membership in the EU should be "left aside," until Brussels stated whether it recognised Serbia within its existing borders.[11]

On 24 July 2008, the Government decided to return its ambassadors to EU countries.[12] Other ambassadors were returned following the positive outcome of the vote in the UN General Assembly.[13] Serbia has expelled diplomatic representations of all neighboring countries that subsequently recognised Kosovo's independence: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, and the Republic of Macedonia.[14]

On 15 August 2008, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić filed a request at the United Nations seeking a non-legally binding advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice of whether the declaration of independence was in breach of international law. The United Nations General Assembly adopted this proposal on 8 October 2008.[15] In July 2010, the ICJ issued its opinion which found that Kosovo's declaration of independence "did not violate international law".[16]


Since the declaration of independence, Serbia refused to deal directly with the Republic of Kosovo, but only through the international intermediaries UNMIK[17] and EULEX.[18] However, there has been some normalisation; beginning in 2011, an EU team persuaded Serbia to discuss some minor border issues with Kosovo; in February 2013, the presidents of Kosovo and Serbia met in Brussels.[19] Liaison officers are also being exchanged.[20]

On 27 March 2012, four Kosovo Serbs, including the mayor of Vitina, were arrested by Kosovo Police while attempting to cross the disputed border at Bela Zemlja back into Kosovo with campaign materials for an upcoming election. They were subsequently charged with "incitement to hatred and intolerance among ethnic groups".[21]

The following day, trade unionist Hasan Abazi was arrested with fellow unionist Adem Urseli by Serbian police manning the Central Serbia/Kosovo crossing near Gjilan.[21] Abazi was charged with espionage and Urseli with drug smuggling.[22] Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić stated of the arrests that "Serbian police did not wish to take this approach, but the situation obviously could no longer go on without retaliation... If someone wants to compete in arrests, we have the answer".[22] According to his lawyer, Abazi was then held in solitary confinement.[23] On 30 March, the Serbian High Court in Vranje ordered Abazi to be detained for thirty days on espionage charges dating to an incident in 1999 in which Abazi allegedly gave information to NATO.[23] Abazi's arrest was protested by Amnesty International[24] and Human Rights Watch as "arbitrary".[21]

On 19 October 2012, normalisation talks mediated by the European Union began in Brussels with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, where the two PMs sat at the table and initiated talks on normalising relations between Pristina and Belgrade.[25] Reaching such a deal was a necessary condition of Serbia's EU candidacy.[26] The governments slowly reached agreements and deals on various areas, such as freedom of movement, university diplomas, regional representation and on trade and international customs. In Brussels, Serbia and Kosovo agreed that implementation of the border agreement would start on 10 December 2012.[27] A historic meeting took place on 6 February 2013, when Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić and Kosovar President Atifete Jahjaga sat at the same table for the first time since Kosovo declared independence.[28]

Following a December 2012 agreement, the two nations swapped liaison officers who worked at EU premises in the two capitals. Pristina referred to these officers as "ambassadors", but Belgrade rejected such a designation.[29]

Serbia's top officials met with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton in Brussels, on 11 March 2013, Serbian president Nikolić said that Serbia and Kosovo were very close to signing an agreement which would improve their relations.[30]

On 19 April 2013, the two governments completed the Brussels Agreement[31] that was hailed as a major step towards normalising relations, and would allow both Serbia and Kosovo to advance in European integration.[26] The agreement is reported to commit both states not to "block, or encourage others to block, the other side's progress in the respective EU paths."[31] Amongst other measures the deal establishes a special police commander (Commander will be appointed by Pristina from a list submitted by Serbs) and appeal court (Under Pristina laws and procedures) for the Serb minority in Kosovo, but does not amount to a recognition of Kosovo's independence by Belgrade.[26] There were no Special provisions in the agreement given to Serb communities in North Kosovo as all municipalities have the same rights and status.[32] In news reports Ashton was quoted as saying, "What we are seeing is a step away from the past and, for both of them, a step closer to Europe", whilst Thaçi declared "This agreement will help us heal the wounds of the past if we have the wisdom and the knowledge to implement it in practice."[26]

The accord was ratified by the Kosovo assembly on 28 June 2013.[33][34]

2013–present negotiations

Kosovo–Serbia negotiations encountered difficulties in the wake of the agreement reached in Brussels. On 7 August 2013, an agreement was announced between the two governments to establish permanent border crossings between Serbia and Kosovo throughout 2014.[35]

On 9 September 2013, an agreement was reached to allow Kosovo to apply for its own international dialling code.[36] Two days later, the Serbian government announced the dissolution of the Serb minority assemblies it created in northern Kosovo in order to allow the integration of the Kosovo Serb minority into the general Kosovo population.[37] In order to facilitate the integration of the Serb minority in the north into Kosovar society, the Kosovo parliament passed an amnesty law pardoning for past acts of resistance to Kosovo authorities.[38] This principle was put into effect in early December, as the governments of Serbia and Kosovo agreed to the appointment of a Kosovo Serb as chief of police in the Serbian area of Northern Kosovo.[39] The two governments also reached agreement in principle to allow Kosovo to apply for its own international dialing code once the Serbian government begins EU accession talks.[36] On September 19, a EULEX officer was killed in the Serb area of Kosovo in a drive by shooting, this murder viewed as an act by opponents of reconciliation.[40]

In late 2014 Kosovo–Serbia negotiations reached standstill owing to the change of government in Kosovo which now advocated a more hardline towards Serbia.[41] More difficulties arose in December 2014, as President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolic went against the position of the government by stating that any decision on Kosovo must be submitted to a referendum.[42]

On August 26, 2015, Kosovo and Serbia signed a series of agreements in key areas, in a major step towards normalizing ties.[43] Kosovo's foreign minister claimed it was a de facto recognition of independence,[43] while Serbia's prime minister said it ensured representation for ethnic-Serbs in Kosovo.[43] As a result of the agreements, Serbia can now move forward with its negotiations to join the EU.[43] However, the Serbian government still opposes any initiative by the government of Kosovo joining UN agencies, and Kosovo's initiative regarding UNESCO membership was met with protest by Belgrade.[44][45]

2017 train incident

In January 2017, a train painted in Serbian flag colors and with the words "Kosovo is Serbia" was prevented from crossing into Kosovo.[46] Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić stated that Serbia would send its army to Kosovo if Kosovo Serbs are attacked. Kosovo viewed the train as a provocation. Both Serbia and Kosovo mobilized their military forces along the Kosovo-Serbian border.[47]

2018 Kosovo arrest of Serbian politician

Kosovar special police arrested Serbian politician Marko Đurić visiting Northern Mitrovica in March 2018. Despite being banned from entering Kosovo and warnings by the Kosovo police, Đurić decided to visit the northern part of Mitrovica.[48] The Kosovo police armed with machine guns followed by EULEX entered premises where local Serb politicians were having a meeting and arrested Đurić, who according to Pacolli is banned from entering as he "encourages hatred". Commenting on the event, President Vučić called the Kosovo state and police terrorists, and that they were out to take over northern Kosovo.[49]

Community of Serbian Municipalities

On 13 December 2016 3511st Council of the European Union meeting urged Kosovo to swiftly implement in good faith its part of all past agreements, in particular the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities and to engage constructively with Serbia in formulating and implementing future agreements.[50] On December 29, 2016 Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dačić noted the significance of maintaining the dialogue and implementing all agreements primarily those that apply to establishing the Community of Serb Municipalities.[51] On December 30, 2016, Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi stated that he hopes question of the Community will be resolved at the beginning of 2017.[52]


Since the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, a large portion of Kosovo Serbs have been displaced from their homes, like other minorities throughout the province. A significant portion of Serbian Orthodox churches, as well as Serbian cemeteries and homes, have been demolished or vandalised.

The Serbian Government promised suspended Serb prison workers from Lipljan money if they were to leave the Kosovo institutions, which they were working in, so they did. However they were never paid, so staged a continued a blockade of the Co-ordination Centre in Gračanica. They claim that Belgrade, the Kosovo Ministry specifically, has not paid them money promised for leaving the Kosovo institutions.[53]

Serbs have also responded by forming their own assembly.

In September 2013, the Serb government dismantled the Serb minority assemblies in Mitrovica, Leposavić, Zvecan and Zubin Potok as part of an agreement with the government of Kosovo.[37] At the same time, the President of Kosovo signed a law that granted amnesty to ethnic Serbs in Kosovo for past acts of resistance to Kosovo law enforcement authorities.[38]

Kosovo pays considerable attention to Albanian minority in Serbia. The Albanian minority in Serbia has voiced support for more rights in line with the rights of Serbs in Kosovo. In 2013, Isa Mustafa, then one of the leaders of opposition in Kosovo, referring to the Brussels Agreement said that "Once the programme for implementing the agreement is finished, Kosovo and Serbia have to open a discussion about the issue of the rights that Albanians who live in Presevo and in Serbia enjoy".[54]

See also


  1. ^ "Serbia recalls ambassador from US". BBC. 19 February 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  2. ^ "Canada recognizes Kosovo, Serbia pulls ambassador". CBC News. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  3. ^ "PROTEST CONVEYED TO FRANCE, BRITAIN, COSTA RICA, AUSTRALIA, ALBANIA" at the Wayback Machine (archive index) The economic team for Kosovo and Metohija and the South of Serbia, 20 February 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2008
  4. ^ "Podnesena krivična prijava protiv Tačija, Sejdijua i Krasnićija". Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  5. ^ Meares, Richard (18 February 2008). "Serbia charges Kosovo leaders with treason". Reuters. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  6. ^ PM Dissolves Serbia's Government, AFP, 8 March 2008.[dead link]
  7. ^ Divisions over Kosovo cripple Serb government, The Daily Telegraph, 8 March 2008.
  8. ^ "Tadić: Lack of agreement on EU toppled government". 10 March 2008. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  9. ^ Serbia proposes dividing Kosovo along ethnic lines, International Herald Tribune, 25 March 2005.
  10. ^ "Serb Ministers Deny Kosovo Partition Talks". Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 28 March 2010.
  11. ^ "PM: Serbia not choosing between Russia and West". 25 March 2008. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  12. ^ "Govt. to return ambassadors". B92. 24 July 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
  13. ^ "Serbian diplomats return to countries recognizing Kosovo". Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  14. ^ "Serbia Expels Macedonian, Montenegrin Envoys Over Kosovo". Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  15. ^ "UN seeks World Court Kosovo view". BBC. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  16. ^ "Kosovo independence declaration deemed legal". Reuters. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  17. ^ "Rule of Law liaison Office". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  18. ^ After a police protocol, EULEX and Serbian officials will intensify preparations for customs and judiciary cooperation
  19. ^ "Serbia and Kosovo: Inching closer". The Economist. 2 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  20. ^ "Belgrade, Priština to discuss energy next week". B92. 2 February 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  21. ^ a b c "Serbia/Kosovo: Halt Arbitrary Arrests". Human Rights Watch. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  22. ^ a b Lawrence Marzouk and Gordana Andric (28 March 2012). "Dacic: Kosovo Trade Unionist Arrest Is Retaliation". Eurasia Review. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  23. ^ a b Fatmir Aliu (30 March 2012). "Hasan Abazi Faces Month in Custody". Eurasia Review. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  24. ^ "Serbia: Amnesty International condemns "retaliatory" arrest of Kosovo Albanian trade unionist". Amnesty International. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  25. ^ "Dacic and Thaci Meet in Brussels, Make History". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  26. ^ a b c d "Serbia and Kosovo reach EU-brokered landmark accord". BBC. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  27. ^ "Serbia PM Pledges Kosovo Solution in 2013". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  28. ^ "Kosovo, Serbia Presidents Hail Outcome of Talks". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  29. ^ Hoxha, Kreshnik. "Kosovo, Serbia Liaison Officers to Start Work". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  30. ^ "Nikolic: Very close to an agreement with Kosovo". Balkan Inside. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  31. ^ a b "Unofficial text of proposed Kosovo agreement". B92. 19 April 2013. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  32. ^ "Kosovo and Serbia Reach Historic Deal in Brussels". Balkan Insight. 19 April 2013. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  34. ^ "Kosovo MPs Defy Protests to Ratify Serbia Deal :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  35. ^ "Permanent Kosovo-Serbia Border Crossings Due in 2014 :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  36. ^ a b "Belgrade, Pristina Strike Telecoms and Energy Deals :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  37. ^ a b "Serbia Pulls Plug on North Kosovo Assemblies :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  38. ^ a b "Kosovo President Approves Controversial Amnesty Law :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  39. ^ "Serb to Run Police in North Kosovo :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  40. ^ "EULEX Policeman Shot Dead in North Kosovo :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  41. ^ "Kosovo Opposition Hand Serbia Talks to Nationalists :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  42. ^ "Serbian President Demands Kosovo Referendum :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  43. ^ a b c d "Kosovo and Serbia sign 'landmark' agreements". 26 August 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2017 – via
  44. ^ "Kosovo Plans to Join UNESCO by November :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  45. ^ "Serbia Vows to Stop Kosovo Joining UNESCO :: Balkan Insight". Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  46. ^ "Serbia-Kosovo train row escalates to military threat". BBC News. 2017-01-15. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  47. ^ "How a train nearly brought Kosovo and Serbia to the brink of war". TRT World (in Turkish). Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  48. ^ "Kosovo Arrests Serbian Official for Illegal Entry".
  49. ^ "Vučić: Teroristi hteli da pokažu moć i podršku Zapada". B92.
  50. ^ "General Affairs Council, 13/12/2016". Council of the European Union. 2016-12-13. pp. 28–29.
  51. ^ "DAILY SURVEY 30.12.2016". Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Serbia). 2016-12-30.
  52. ^ "Thaçi: I hope that the issue of CSM will be resolved early in 2017". European Western Balkans. 2016-12-30.
  53. ^ "News - Society - Kosovo Serb prison workers continue protest". B92. 2 April 2008. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  54. ^ "Serbia's Presevo Albanians Ask Pristina for Support". BalkanInsight. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
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