Source: Tanjug Friday, June 26, 2020
Bundestag MP Peter Beyer does not link the publication of the draft indictment for war crimes against Hashim Thaci with the attempt to undermine the dialogue.
However, he sees the meeting as non-transparent and believes that an EU representative must be present at the White House talks.
Beyer, who previously stated that there are indications of an attempt to reach a “dirty deal” in Washington, says that it is surprising that the indictment was published before the announced meeting in Washington.
But he points out that it was prepared earlier and believes that postponing the meeting in Washington is not something that should be announced on Twitter, alluding to Grenell’s announcement that the meeting in Washington is being postponed.
“We welcome all activities that bring Belgrade and Pristina closer together and give a new impetus to resolving the conflict. Even in the past, the US and the EU have succeeded only when they have worked together,” the Christian Democrat MP, Peter Beyer recalled, reiterating Germany’s support for the EU in charge of dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak.
“There are serious reasons for such a decision. In my opinion, the statement on the indictment against Thaci shows responsibility and serious work on the rule of law, which is a key and most important element in the process of reconciliation and achieving a fully functioning rule of law in Kosovo’s justice system”, Beyer believes.
He claims, however, that he was surprised that the indictment, as he says, was announced on Wednesday.
“I didn’t know it was being worked on. The timing is interesting, but it is certainly the first signal in that country when it comes to working on the rule of law in a serious way. It is actually a step that is welcomed from a European perspective,” he specified. Beyer added that the publication of the indictment is not necessary, but it could be connected with the postponement of the meeting in Washington, and that he sees it as speculation.
Asked whether he publicly called on Belgrade and Pristina not to go to Washington in the Bundestag last week, Beyer said that he only demanded that the EU be included in Grenell’s initiative and that an EU representative be present at the meeting in the White house.
“No one in Berlin, nor in the rest of the EU, was aware of the importance of the presence of someone from the EU at that meeting,” he said.
Asked whether there is a disagreement between Germany and the United States behind this whole situation, which is reflected in the solution of the Kosovo problem, and for which Washington, it seems, has room for compromise, Beyer said that it is not only disagreements with Germany.
“It is a European problem. Because only the European Union can guarantee a constructive, secure path to EU membership. It is a political process. We are working to achieve greater transparency in Washington’s initiatives,” he said.
Bayer adds that it has information about attempts to organize a meeting between EU Special Envoy Miroslav Lajcak and US envoy Richard Grenell, but so far no success has been achieved.
“What I am working on is insisting on greater openness of the US Envoy Richard Grenell, and I asked for that in my address in the Bundestag last week.
He believes that the non-coordination of Washington’s activities with European partners is not good for the citizens of both Serbia and Kosovo, and that is why he insists on greater transparency of any agreement that could be signed in Washington.
“It may all be speculation, but there are assumptions that some kind of agreement will be signed, because otherwise they would not organize a meeting in the White House at all”, he wonders.
He reminds that Belgrade and Pristina are in the center of Europe, which are surrounded by EU member states, and that no one from the European side has been invited to the White House. He added that he spoke about it in the Bundestag and insisted that the United States, as a very close ally, invite Miroslav Lajcak or someone else from the EU.
Regarding his critical statements about Grenell’s initiative for the meeting of the representatives of Belgrade and Pristina in the White House, Beyer says that he said publicly on TV and Facebook that, according to the indications he has in Washington, a dirty agreement is being prepared.
When asked what he means when he says “dirty agreement”, Beyer answered that in his opinion it is an agreement on – abolition of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes in Kosovo, which has the full support of the EU and exchange of territories along ethnic lines, without the support of Kosovo citizens.
That is why he says and warns that the only comprehensive agreement between Serbia and Kosovo can be the one that will enable EU membership and that each side must understand that.
When asked which proposal of the agreement is offered by the EU, and which would take into account Serbian interests, Bayer said that the solution depends on Serbia and Kosovo, and that the EU is ready to lead the process and be a mediator and thus help lead both sides to EU membership.
Given the history of the relationship between the two sides, I know that this is not an easy job, so I do not think it is necessary to rush or make suggestions like “Take it or leave it.” I am aware that this is a complicated, difficult process that includes “changing the Constitution, which is also not easy. But not only me, but also the EU wants to see a constructive negotiation process that will initially lead to a final agreement that will be legally binding, thus paving the way for mutual recognition,” he said.
Beyer specifies that in the end, not only de facto, but also de jure recognition will be needed. “Whenever I say that, I see people being surprised, but it’s nothing new, because it’s clear from the beginning. I know it’s not easy and it’s difficult, but step by step, like the German-German agreement, the interim and a transitional agreement that will ultimately lead to mutual recognition, because that is the only way I see as the road to full membership in the EU”, he concluded.
“I am not pessimistic when it comes to that”, he concludes, “but rather optimistic if there is a serious desire and commitment to a constructive dialogue and negotiations with the EU. We in Germany are ready to support such a process”.