Serbia’s Attitude to Kosovo ‘is Damaging Kosovo Serbs’

The Serbian authorities' negative attitude towards Kosovo "makes Kosovo Serbs be perceived as anti-state elements" inside the country, Agon Maliqi, a political analyst from Pristina, told BIRN in an interview.

Until relations between Belgrade and Pristina are normalised, this situation will continue, warned Maliqi, the editor of S-Bunker, a political analysis and opinion website.

"Relations between Kosovo and Serbia cannot in any way be normal for as long as Serbia claims any rights or sovereignty over Kosovo's territory, as it will always be seen as an existential security threat. Additionally, Kosovo Serbs will always be seen as an anti-state element," Maliqi said.

Serbia strongly opposes Kosovo's independence and has exerted much effort to convince small countries to rescind their recognitions of Kosovo, as well as campaigning vigorously against Kosovo's membership of international organisations.

Maliqi described the current situation as "extremely damaging" for the Serb minority in Kosovo.

"It gives the perfect pretext for those who do not want to integrate and help minorities to simply ignore them," he said.

Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo since it declared independence in 2008, but there have been various rounds of talks between the two countries, the most recent of which started in 2013, mediated by the European Union, aimed at normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

However, Maliqi argued that this 'normalisation of relations' is actually "diplomatic speak meaning Serbia's direct or indirect recognition of Kosovo as a state that would come in parallel with the resolution of many bilateral disputes resulting from Kosovo's secession".

"But I don't think normalisation means something like...

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