The new President of Kosovo is being supported by Turkey. She has promised to put on her agenda the resumption of negotiations over the normalization of relations with Serbia. However, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who is also the leader of the Self-Determination Movement which won the votes in early public elections of 14 February 2021, has said such a program has not been placed on the agenda of his government. Osmani-Sadriu, a lawyer herself, is seeking negotiations to normalize relations with Serbia however she also believes that Belgrade should apologize for committing war crimes during 1998 and 1999 and prosecute the perpetrators. In her belief, peace can be attained only when we witness regret and apology on behalf of Serbia and the administration of justice for the victims of war crimes.
She considers herself as the representative of young Kosovans who are weary of nepotism and inefficiency of the old and traditional parties. Her appointment as the President of Kosovo faced the criticism of the opposition. The opposition believes that the election of President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Parliament while they belong to one party is inappropriate for a fragile democracy.
Recent developments in Kosovo are generally supported by the United States. US Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken sent a letter recently to congratulate the election of Albin Kurti as the new Prime Minister of Kosovo. In his letter, Blinken expressed interest in continuing cooperation with Kosovo to build a democratic and multi-national Kosovo with independence and integrity and equality with other members of the American-European family. He supported Kurti’s plans to fight with corruption in Kosovo and strengthen the rule of law and economic reconstruction after the outbreak of Covid-19 and called for Kosovo’s constructive and prompt commitment to normalizing relations with Serbia and described it as important for the future of this European country.
Even though Serbia’s agreement with Kosovo to normalize economic relations was considered to be a diplomatic victory for the former US President Donald Trump on the verge of presidential elections; however, it had no practical outcome. Joe Biden enjoys remarkable respect among the people of Kosovo due to his support for bombardment of Serbian targets by NATO in 1999 aimed at stopping the killing and expulsion of Albanians. The people of Kosovo are hoping that with Joe Biden in the White House and his supports and assistances, ways would be open for the membership of this small Balkan state in the United Nations. They hope that Biden would try to improve distorted multilateral talks and relations between Washington and its key NATO allies in Europe through diplomatic means and pave the grounds for the membership of Kosovo in the United Nations.
However, the leaders of Kosovo are facing problems in their path to future. In the foreign policy sector, relations with neighboring Serbia are full of ambiguity and mistrust. Even though Serbia has voiced readiness and repeats its intention to begin negotiations with Kosovo, it never accepts intimidation and blackmail. The Serbs claim that those who say they will not implement the Brussels accord to establish the union of Serb-residing towns in the north of Kosovo, they are not interested in talks. With the formation of the new Kosovan government with only one Serbian minister, both the government of Serbia and the Serbs in Kosovo have reacted and considered it as a “bad message” for the Kosovo Serbs by the Kosovan government. On the other hand, issues such as the recognition of Kosovo by Serbia, the admission of alleged crimes in Kosovo by Serbia and especially banning the formation of the union of Serb-residing towns in the north of Kosovo, as agreed in Brussels talks, remain in limbo.
The goals of diplomacy of Serbia are limited to two slogans: opposition to any official recognition of the independence of Kosovo and integration into the European Union. Serbia, that is seeking to guarantee the Serbian minority rights in Kosovo, would not recognize the independence of Kosovo. Serbia is being supported by Russia in such a policy. Two neighboring countries have engaged so many times in tension in recent years. The efforts by the European Union negotiators to establish reconciliation between the two countries with the objective of Kosovo’s membership in international organizations and particularly in the United Nations have born no fruit. Serbia’s diplomatic apparatus has been active in dissuading other countries from recognizing the separation of its former province and has relatively attracted many allies because many countries are facing implicit and or explicit calls for separation and this causes such countries to become suspicious towards Kosovo’s move towards independence.
In the geopolitics of the late twentieth century, the crisis in the Balkans and its situation cannot be ignored. This marked a new chapter in ethnic geopolitical arena and relations among minorities and central governments. The conditions ruling Eastern Europe began with the Solidarity Movement in Poland in the late 1980s and reached its peak after the fall of the Berlin wall and the ensuing political developments in this part of Europe. Issues of the Balkans in its political geography are called Balkanization which is related to Kosovo. In the beginning, other issues such as former Yugoslavia was considered a domestic issue; however, it turned into an international crisis later when it attracted for the first time the role of NATO as an active military tool and caused the biggest military operation of this force after the Second World War.
The Kosovo crisis, in one hand, is considered a domestic issue for Yugoslavia and on the other, it has geopolitical diminutions for the whole Europe. What has caused Europeans to directly interfere in this region is the European dimension of the Kosovo crisis. Kosovo since long time ago was part of Serbia and after 500 years of the Ottoman rules in the Balkans, joined Serbia once again in 1912. After the Second World War, Kosovo was a self-autonomous province of the Republic of Serbia, itself part of the socialist Yugoslavia. With the collapse and disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991, Kosovo decided to declare independence—a demand harshly crushed by Yugoslavia and its former president Slobodan Milosevic.
Kosovo declared independence unilaterally in 2008 when NATO bombarded Serbia to end the suppression of separatists by the Slobodan Milosevic government. However, the declaration of independence of Kosovo has not yet been recognized by many governments. More than one hundred countries have so far recognized Kosovo independence; however, Serbia, Russia and China (traditional ally of Serbia) and five EU countries such as SPAIN, Romania, Greece and Cyprus have not recognized the independence of Kosovo. Russia and China are traditional allies of Serbia who have practically blocked Kosovo’s membership in the United Nations.