Die Morina BIRN Pristina 29 Aug 18


Kosovo opposition parties have called for an extraordinary parliamentary session on September 4 to put a resolution to a vote which they say will protect the country’s territorial integrity amid controversial suggestions of a land swap with Serbia as part of a final deal between Pristina and Belgrade.

The resolution will confirm that “nobody has the mandate to negotiate on Kosovo’s territory”, Avdullah Hoti, the chief of the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK’s parliamentary group, wrote on Facebook on Monday.

Hoti also said on Tuesday he welcomed the support for the initiative from two other opposition parties, Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) and the Social Democratic Party, PSD.

In order to call an extraordinary parliamentary session, 40 MPs’ signatures are required.

“Signatures are being collected, the resolution is already drafted, but there are some details being fixed,” the chief of the PSD’s parliamentary group, Dardan Sejdiu, told BIRN on Tuesday.

The initiative by the Kosovo opposition comes after an announcement that the presidents of Kosovo and Serbia, Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic, will have a meeting on September 7.

The opposition is worried by recent statements by Thaci about a “border correction” with Serbia, which some have interpreted as meaning a land swap.

However Rexhep Selimi, a MP from Vetevendosje, told BIRN that his signature has not been yet requested.

“I am not in Kosovo, but nobody has contacted me yet about the signature [to call an extraordinary session],” Selimi said.

Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj expressed support for an extraordinary session.

“If there is only one point in this resolution, to not change the territorial borders, it has my vote today, tomorrow and at any time,” Haradinaj told a press conference on Tuesday.

A Pristina-based watchdog body, the Kosovo Democratic Institute, KDI, also said on Tuesday that it supported the opposition initiative.

„The Republic of Kosovo has entered the final phase of the dialogue without a state strategy approved in its Assembly, without defining the topics of discussion, red lines, deadlines, Kosovo party expectations in this process, and without legitimising Kosovo’s leading team in these talks through a resolution,” a KDI statement said.

Meanwhile Vetevendosje has not ruled out the possibility of organising protests against the Thaci-Vucic meeting.

“Society will have full democratic legitimacy in showing Hashim Thaci his place through massive protests,” the chief of Vetevendosje’s parliamentary group, Glauk Konjufca, told Kosovo’s KTV on Monday evening.

But the speaker of parliament Kadri Veseli, who is the head of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, said that the initiative for calling the extraordinary session “represents politically an absurd and totally unnecessary act about a topic which it has been said will be discussed”.

Veseli wrote on Facebook that the opposition “panic” is dangerous for the country’s stability.

“They have one purpose only, which is to provoke tension followed by violent, anti-democratic protests against the constitutional and legal order in the country,” Veseli said.

But the leader of the PSD, Shpend Ahmeti, wrote on Facebook that it is Veseli’s legal duty to call the session.

Ahmeti said it was important when Thaci was apparently intending to discuss “‘correcting the border’ with a country which does not recognise the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country”.