Kosovo’s demarcation line: Consequences from possible scenarios

Prof . Dr. Lisen Bashkurti 

The approval of Kosovo’s Demarcation Line without a full parliamentary consensus will generate a geo-political crisis and a domestic political calamity.

Kosovo’s news media has informed the general public that Prishtina’s main political actors are arranging another major debate in order to explore a compromise on the solution of the line of demarcation between Kosovo and Montenegro, before September 1st.  If there is a genuine initiative on this matter we should encourage it and the public is certainly awaiting results.  Always and for everything there is a necessary time available for a compromise.

After an extensive deadlock from every discussion and debate that was organized by political and public institutions for the draft agreement on Kosovo’s demarcation line, lately its main political actors have shown a degree of tolerance and openness, while encouraging discussions and searching a consensus among themselves.

The opening of the political and public debate over the draft agreement of Demarcation Line between Kosovo and Montenegro has encouraged many influential actors and players to actively participate in this process. In Tirana and Prishtina there were organized two Scientific Roundtables on this issue. In these events participated many scholars and academicians from Albania and Kosovo.  Additionally, Kosovo’s communications media has organized public debates with a special informative importance to the public opinion and international audiences.  The most important national media channels and newspapers are broadcasting extensively this matter every day.

Finally the National Assembly of Kosovo has opened the political debate at the heart of the Legislative Branch.  This debate, even though it was belatedly arranged and not very well organized, happen to be very important.  The main political parties, the opposition and the ruling party have exchanged ideas and their points of view in a public format in regards to the draft agreement on the demarcation line between Kosovo with Montenegro.  From such a process are observed three tendencies:

First, there is a propensity to impose by all means, ways, tools and manners the existing version of the demarcation line.  Kosovo’s Executive Government and the respective commission are using every accepted and unaccepted argument only to impose the final approval of this draft, even though it may not secure the consensus from the opposition parties.  This tendency is very menacing and dangerous to Kosovo’s domestic developments and for its present – future geopolitical plans with neighboring countries.

Secondly, there is a tendency to completely overthrow the draft-agreement by all means, tools and ways available, by employing radicalization, violence, political turmoil and civilian confrontations in Kosovo and abroad.  It appears that Prishtina’s opposition parties are getting ready to embrace a violent picture, if the propensity of the first scenario (encouraging an obliged voting in Parliament) will take place.  Such a second tendency would be accompanied by heavy and unpredicted consequences for Kosovo, on its stability, cooperation with neighboring nation of Montenegro and certainly its international reputation.

Third, there is a tendency that is taking shape over the last weeks and that consists in finding a common ground solution between the current version and the options that are promoted in the public – political debates.  Such a tendency aims to resolve this issue with a national political consensus.  Some public ideas have suggested the withdrawal of the governing political party from its current draft – agreement therefore all items suggested by the opposition party are gaining more terrain.  There have been attempts to re arrange and appoint new figures in the National Commission in charge of this matter as well as there have been attempts to bring the opposition party at the helm of this Commission. The plan of the third tendency is the accomplishment of an agreement that would be accepted by a political consensus nationwide. Such an option would be ideal.

However the problem will remain unsolved. The problem of demarcation sooner or later, even if it finds a consensus based solution inside Kosovo; it will be re-opened again in the diplomatic negotiations’ table with the leaders of Montenegro.

The Montenegrin side will generate problematic reactions, because it has already ratified the draft-agreement on its parliament.  Such ratification means that Montenegro’s Government and its parliament have agreed and accepted the current draft – agreement.

As a result, the improvement and review of the draft agreement by Kosovo’s Government is not enough.  This would be a one sided solution.  What will be the reaction of Montenegro after Kosovo has ratified this document? Will it be able to revise again the ratification? Will they return again to the negotiations’ table?  What options will they present in the re-negotiations process? Is Montenegro going to take this matter to International Court?

These questions are naturally raised because this is an international agreement.  As such it will be effective only after it is ratified by the parliaments of two countries, or after the final decision of the International Court.

In this context, despite the three tendencies or propensities that exist inside Kosovo, we must seriously take into account the expected possible inclinations that will come from the reactions of Montenegro’s leaders.  These expectations must be predicted from the analytical-prognosis laboratory of Kosovo’s diplomacy.

In conclusion we can state that this process is very long and highly complicated.  There is neither room to rush nor any need to panic. Political pressure and extortion calls are unnecessary no matter what direction they may come from. There is no room for political, geopolitical conditions, let alone visas and integration processes.

There is a time and place for self control attitude by all political factors in Kosovo.  There is a time and place for a compromise and a domestic solution generated by consensus. There is a time and place to be prepared in order to face the Montenegrin diplomacy for a new solution. As there is always a time and place in order to be ready and accept the solution of this crisis by the international court.

The final solution of the demarcation agreement is a great challenge, but not overwhelming.

Kosovo’s political leaders must embrace an internal political consensus and adopt some of the best international attitudes in this field that are indeed highly professional.  At the same time the signatories and government leaders must refrain from manipulative pressures and the influence of distorted channels in the communications media.

Translated from Albanian language: Peter M. Tase

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Lisen Bashkurti

Dr. Lisen Bashkurti is the President of Albanian Diplomatic Academy in Albania. Prof. Bashkurti has been a Chancellor in a number of Universities in the Balkan Peninsula. He is also the Global Vice President of Sun Moon University in South Korea. As a distinguished scholar of international relations he has received many international awards including: A “Gold Medal” for his research on US-Albanian Partnership,” “Four Silver Medals” for his great contribution during his service as Albania’s Ambassador to Hungary (1992-1993); appointed as “Peace Ambassador” from the International Peace Foundation, United Nations (2009). He is the author of more than 18 books that cover a range of issues including: International Affairs, Negotiations and Conflict Resolution, International Diplomacy, Multilateral Diplomacy and Diplomatic History. He is an honorary professor in many prestigious European Universities and an honorary fellow to a number of prominent International Institutions.

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