Kurt Volker: Kosovo went too far in the north, but feels that sovereignty has been violated
The former US ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker, told Voice of America that the Kosovo government made a mistake by acting in the north of Kosovo without consulting the US and the EU, but added that the West should not overlook what he says are Serbia's nationalist tendencies. in the region.
Walker, an expert at the Center for European Policy Analysis, called on the Kosovo government to take measures to reduce tensions, but said the US and the European Union must also commit to abandoning activities that risk undermining Kosovo's sovereignty. Kosovo.
"First of all, I must say that this is a very dangerous situation. In the past, we have seen many times how ethnic nationalism erupted into open conflict in the Balkans. Such a thing must be prevented at all costs. Considering this, I believe that the actions of the Kosovo police were exaggerated by Serbia itself, and there was no attempt to stop it," he said.
In his opinion, this has created a situation in which Kosovo feels that its sovereignty has been violated.
"The refusal of the Serbian community to participate in the local elections, the efforts to create a Community of Municipalities with the support of Serbia... In these conditions, the solution is a greater commitment from the USA and the EU, which must reject these nationalist tendencies and must focus on efforts to creating stability and economic growth and development for all," Walker said.
He also stressed that close relations with America are vital for Kosovo and that it is reckless and imprudent for them to take action without consulting the United States.
"And I think that is reflected in Secretary Blinken's statement. "At the same time, I think the statement ignores part of the responsibility of the United States and the European Union for not controlling some of these Serbian nationalist actions over time, which was also the reason that irritated Kosovo," he said.
He notes that it is important for Kosovo to take steps to reduce tensions, to work with the international community, because it will not be in a better position to face Serbian nationalism alone than if it works with international partners.
To Kurti's statement that he is not backing down, Walker says that he understands his point of view, and that it is politically important for him not to appear weak, but that, at the same time, he thinks that Kurti and the Kosovo authorities should find a way to mitigate the situation, to return to cooperation with the US and the EU, while insisting that the international community take a stronger role than before in "rejecting nationalist actions".
It is important, he adds, that the United States make efforts for de-escalation, so that the situation does not worsen.
When asked if the cancellation of Kosovo's participation in the "Defender of Europe" military exercise is an appropriate reaction, he says that it is a matter of personal judgment.
It is clear to him that the American government is dissatisfied with the government of Kosovo and that it wanted to do something to express that dissatisfaction.
"Because of the way Kosovo acted, without direct consultation with the United States, now the United States is trying to take a position. I personally think that we should support the independence and sovereignty of Kosovo, we advise them to withdraw, to calm down, not to escalate the situation and to maintain a more balanced position on the role that nationalism plays in the region at the moment," Volker said.
When asked how disturbed the relationship between the two countries, which "both sides considered special", he said that this situation can be characterized as "frustration and nervousness".
I hope that the situation will get back on track," concluded Volker.