Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti made his first visit to France on Wednesday 23 June. Mr. Kurti is a former activist of the political wing of the Kosovar guerrilla, the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), who was detained in Serbia for two years at the time of the Kosovo war. He then created the Vetëvendosje (Self-Determination) movement, with a revolutionary program, and he became a staunch opponent of successive “governments of the KLA commanders”. Albin Kurti presents himself today as a social democrat, and was elected on a program to fight unemployment, corruption and organized crime. After a brief first stint as prime minister in 2020, his movement clearly won the legislative elections in March, and he returned to the head of government on March 22. Thirteen years after Kosovo’s declaration of independence, its diplomatic priority is to obtain recognition from Serbia, which Belgrade has always refused since the conflict.
You have just met for the first time the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, in Brussels. What was your impression?
It is a first meeting, for a future dialogue. It was not easy, but constructive. I insisted on the fact that nothing should be hidden under the carpet, that is to say that the issue of mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia should be approached frankly. We all need this mutual recognition. Mr. Vucic replied that he would never recognize Kosovo. Not accepting the reality on one side, nor the truth on the other side, comes from the same logic. Serbia should now distance itself from the days of [Slobodan] Milosevic, who started with apartheid and ended with genocide in Kosovo. The rulers of Serbia must break with Milosevic’s legacy.
The independence of Kosovo is thirteen years old. We cannot have discussions as before 2008. Since the decision of the International Court of Justice in 2010, which validated the fact that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate international law, this debate has been closed. I will not discuss the status of Kosovo, it is a settled matter. The only subject today is the relationship between Kosovo and Serbia. Vucic should understand that. However, Vucic still considers Kosovo to be a territory that Serbia must one day reclaim, without any consideration for its people, its citizens. Serbia must face its past, and democratize.
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