Sonja Licht, President of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence believes that the Kosovo problem must be solved, and that because of this issue Serbia’s hands are tied, not only in relation to the position of the Serb minority in other parts of the region, but also for the further development of relations with neighbors, and in order to keep up with challenges of the 21st century.
The most serious problem, not only for Serbia, but also for Kosovo and the whole region is how to reach a solution that will not be perfect, and will not absolutely correspond to principles of universal human rights and universal democracy, said Sonja.
“Real life is to try to overcome, if we can, once and for all, the main themes of disagreement between Serbia and Kosovo. Never should these topics be left in a deep “freezer”, from which every “madman” will be able to pull them out. I apologize for the language, but unfortunately we are confronted with such a possibility. We see that this is happening in the world, “Licht said.
According to her, a frozen conflict, on which a part of society is insisting, can lead to the danger, and at the same time, she asks who will fight here and with whom, because she notes that young people are leaving and those who are staying have no way or potential to leave. “I will not say that all have gone, but a huge number of people are running away, not only because of the economic situation, but because they do not see the perspective. In order to bring the perspective back to our society and our environment, in fact we must solve the Kosovo problem”, said Sonja and added that all “interests” must sit at the same table and to agree – how?
Sonja repeats that Kosovo’s issue “throws light” on all other problems, such as, for example, the relationship with Croatia. “The issue of missing persons on both sides is one of the basic issues that must be solved. Victims must be respected and honored, but they have to go back into the past. We must not forget them, but we can’t live with them day and night. We must live for the future”, said Licht. According to her, returning to the past is seen every August when the celebration in Croatia starts, and mourning in Serbia over the action “Storm”, which can be overcome only by solving the problems.
Sonja reminds on the standpoint of an historian who could have been heard at the recent conference organized by the Tanjug agency on the future of the relationship between the Serbs and Albanians, that historians need to seriously discuss, behind closed doors, what happened, and to come out with a more or less objective image of the past. Regarding to this, she reminds that Polish and German historians have spoken for decades behind closed doors and have come up with interpretations that are acceptable to both sides.
“We need to get some sort of solution. Whether this solution at this moment is on the table, or it is not yet, but it will be, we can’t fully know, because these negotiations, as in all such situations, are lead behind closed doors. It is important that societies, in spite of that, enter into much more intense communication, ” Licht said. Because, any potential conflict in the region, which has not yet managed to overcome the trauma of the disintegration of a common country, is dangerous, both for that territory and for minorities.
“Last week we had almost a state of emergency. Members of the Kosovo police were called to return from vacation. Combat readiness is rising in our country. Of course, these are still only political moves, but at one point they can get out of control”, said Sonja and asks: Does anyone in the region want to turn from politics to something that we experienced just twenty years ago, and how all this affects minorities?”
She considers that the narrative must be changed, because, as she says, there have been flammable statements lately, with the remark that the 90s have shown that from hate speech to the real actions is very short way.
As she sad, there must be awareness that every aggressive statement pulls another one, and that we need to be careful about the moves. Regarding to this, she criticized the participation of Israeli fighter jets in marking the action “Storm”. The Embassy of that country in Serbia explained that there was no political connotation, but that it was connected exclusively with the sales contract by wich Croatia purchased military planes from Israel. “I completely understand that it is a business. Yes, we are living in the world of business, everyone is watching what they can sell, but we must be aware of consequences for the situation that is already extremely tense and painful “, said Sonja.