Dr. Serwer: The region’s states need to prevent similar incidents as in Kumanovo

Serwer IIGENEVA, June 17, 2015 – Dr. Daniel Serwer, a Senior Research Professor of Conflict Management, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, in an interview with the Albanian news agency Presheva Jone expressed a concern about the possible recurrence of violent incidents, similar to the one in Kumanovo.

The US expert, with a long track-record of facilitating inter-ethnic dialogue between Serbs and Albanians, believes that the states in the region must take concerted action to prevent inter-ethnic incidents that could put peace and stability in the region at risk.

“Sure. There can always be incidents of this sort. It is the job of the region’s states, including both Kosovo and Macedonia, to prevent them,” Dr. Serwer states to Presheva Jone.

On 9-10 May, violent clashes took place between an armed group consisting of several gunmen and Macedonian police in the Macedonian town of Kumanovo.

22 people were left dead and several persons wounded in one of the most violent clashes in Macedonia following the end of the 2001 insurgency.

A full investigation into the Kumanovo violence is expected to take place.

On March 18, the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and senior adviser at the Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue, Dr. Steinar Bryn, stated to Presheva Jone that increased segregation of ethnic groups is a “warning sign for new conflicts.”

The Norwegian expert called for closer integration among different ethnic groups in the Balkans to reduce inter-ethnic frictions which may result in violent incidents.

Serbia-Kosovo dialogue is progressing, lacks implementation

Dr. Serwer also comments on the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue backed by the European Union (EU). The first round of discussion took place in Brussels in 2011, and has since then, resulted in several follow-up discussions involving Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaqi and Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.

Despite the progress during the discussions, the implementation of agreements reached during the bilateral talks is lacking, a view echoed by the US expert.

“I think the outcome is good, but implementation is still lagging. I’d like to see both sides becoming more vigorous about that,” according to Dr. Serwer.

Serbia and Kosovo are also yet to fully normalize relations, a requirement for both countries before joining the EU.

Dr. Serwer is convinced that Serbia will recognise Kosovo’s independence and send an ambassador to Pristina before entering the EU.

He is also believes Kosovo will become a member of the United Nations (UN) – Kosovo has currently been recognised by 109 UN member states, a majority of the UN’s 193 members.

“Yes, I do. I also believe Belgrade will one day recognize Kosovo and send an ambassador there. But don’t ask me when. All I know is that it has to happen before Serbia enters the EU,” Dr. Serwer stated to Presheva Jone.

Blerim Mustafa

Photo credit: United States Institute of Peace

Link to original article (Presheva Jone, also available below): http://www.preshevajone.com/dr-serwer-the-regions-states-need-to-prevent-similar-incidents-as-in-kumanovo/

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