New York, September 21, 2023
As the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of the Republic of Kosova, I strongly condemn and entirely reject as untrue and an attempt to distort history the statements made by the President of Serbia during his presentation today before the United Nations General Assembly. Among other things, he equates the Russian aggression in Ukraine with the independence of Kosova, shamelessly claiming that in 2008, Serbia experienced what Ukraine is going through today.
For both the domestic and international public opinion, it is crucial to reiterate these undeniable historical facts:
– The independence of the Republic of Kosova, declared on February 17, 2008, represents the fulfillment of the will of the people of Kosova for freedom and independence. It followed organized efforts by the state of Serbia to eliminate the Albanian population in Kosova, for which some of the highest state officials, military, and police officers of Serbia from those years were tried and convicted by the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
– The Declaration of Independence of Kosova does not violate international law, nor relevant UN resolutions and documents, including the UN Charter. This was affirmed and determined by the highest legal body of the UN, the International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion issued on July 22, 2010, at Serbia’s request.
With these falsehoods and attempts to distort history, the President of Serbia has severely abused the platform of the United Nations General Assembly. If there is any resemblance between the Russian aggression in Ukraine and the case of Kosova, it is only in the fact that Russia today targets Ukraine and Ukrainians just as Serbia did with Kosova and the Kosova Albanians in 1999.
This is also why the Republic of Kosovo stands firmly and unequivocally by Ukraine in its just fight against the criminal Russian aggressor. It is clear that Serbia continues to support Russia and Putin, as openly confirmed by the President of Serbia in the same speech at the UN.
At the same time, I emphasize that in his presentation at the UN, the President of Serbia has once again violated the commitments he made to the European Union when accepting the Agreement on the Road to Normalization between Kosova and Serbia on February 27, 2023, and its Implementing Annex of March 18, 2023, Article 2 of which clearly defines that the relations between Kosova and Serbia will be based on the principles of the UN Charter, particularly those related to the sovereign equality of states, mutual respect for independence and territorial integrity.
In accordance with that Agreement, which the EU and the USA confirm that the President of Serbia has accepted and will implement in full, he was supposed to call for the membership of the Republic of Kosova in the UN or at the very least refrain from speaking about the Republic of Kosova entirely.
Instead, before the international audience at the UN, he chose to disseminate falsehoods and insinuations that not only tarnish Kosova but also Western international partners, the EU and the USA.
Regarding the Brussels Dialogue, which the President of Serbia claimed to be blocked and accused the Republic of Kosova of, let me reiterate these facts once again:
- The Republic of Kosova accepted the Brussels Agreement and the Brussels Agreement Implementation Plan.
- It has requested that it be signed as an international legally binding document.
- It insists on the full and urgent implementation of the Agreement in its entirety.
The blockade of the dialogue is caused by Serbia and its President, who has refused to sign the Agreement, telling international mediators that he accepts it, while telling the Serbian public that he does not accept the full Agreement.
Perhaps such statements from a person who was a close collaborator of war criminals Slobodan Milosevic and Vojislav Seselj may surprise someone in the West who continues to believe that the current President of Serbia is a possible democratic partner for the EU and NATO. However, this is not a surprise for the Republic of Kosova and its citizens, who are well aware of the former propaganda minister of Milosevic, now the ruler of Serbia and Putin’s ally in the Balkans. They are also familiar with the policies he represents, which unfortunately continue to hold the entire Western Balkans hostage, including the Serbian people themselves.
We call on the international community, especially the EU and the USA, to condemn such language used by the President of Serbia at the UN and remind him of the obligations he undertook in Brussels and Ohrid.