Excerpts from Thaçi`s interview with BBC in Serbian

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci is entering the final year of a five-year mandate marked by unfinished Prishtina-Belgrade talks in just over a month.

If something happens in the negotiations with Serbia, it will happen this year, if it does not happen this year, I am afraid we will lose decades, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said in an interview with the BBC in Serbian, Serbian media quotes. 

According to the BBC, although other negotiators say there is no pressure and haste, Thaci explains that the final year of President Donald Trump’s first term in office is the best time to reach a deal in the Balkans.

“I don’t think we will be able to get the attention of President Trump, the US, and his team again. This return of US attention to our region is a gift from God for both Kosovo and Serbia – we must use that,” he said.

BBC in the Serbian language recalls that Thaci was also a participant in the Brussels talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, led by the previous convocation of the European Commission, which has not yet reached a final agreement, but a series of agreements were reached of which some have been implemented. Hashim Thaci’s experience in negotiating with Serbia has been numbered for decades, back from 1999 when he emerged as one of the leaders of the Rambouillet delegation as one of the leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

“We have never been closer to an agreement because many other processes have come to an end – Kosovo is free and independent, and Serbia knows about Kosovo’s independence. At the same time, we are very far away – it will depend a lot on the leaders of both countries, whether they will invest in the future or will remain hostage to the past,” said Thaci. 

BBC states that he spoke with Aleksandar Vucic from a presidency position in the talks led by former Commissioner Federica Mogherini, but that the two met in different international forums and when the talks allegedly did not exist.

“I have no special, personal relationship with President Vucic – we are the presidents of independent states, elected legitimately, and I promote my country’s views in every forum and front of all officials, including the president of Serbia. We have had differences in the past, they still exist today, but this should not stop us as two presidents to talk about the future,” Thaci said.

He believes that in the future, neither Kosovo nor Serbia can count on EU membership without a final agreement.

“If we waste this opportunity, we will cry at the gates of Brussels, but no one will worry about it or be interested,” he concludes.