Tensions rise over land swap between Kosovo, Serbia

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 27.12.2018 20:48
Updated 28.12.2018 08:00

Kosovo's government said that a proposed border swap with Serbia isn't negotiable. Following a meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said he would "welcome any idea or suggestion for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue but a land swap never will be negotiated."

The idea was first floated by Serbian officials, among them the defense minister and foreign minister. Kosovo President Hashim Thaci then took it up and said he would discuss it with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels. Earlier this year, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci proposed a "border correction," with Kosovo getting southern Serbia's Presevo Valley and giving nothing in exchange, without explaining how Serbia would accept that. Officials in Serbia and Kosovo have suggested a land swap — Serbia's Presevo Valley for Kosovo's northern Mitrovica — could help the negotiations.

The European Union has told Serbia and Kosovo they must normalize their ties to have a chance to join the bloc. The proposal has divided the European Union. In the Balkan region itself, proponents say the exchange would help resolve the conflicts between the two countries. Opponents say it would validate a cause of the fighting throughout the Balkans in the 1990s.

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