Three daily newspapers, Koha Ditore, Express and Lajm carry separate interviews with former Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Cedomir Jovanovic. Express quotes Jovanovic as saying, ‘We failed in administering Kosovo. Today, independence is a realistic solution’. ‘Kosovo’s future lies in partnership with neighbouring Serbia,’ Jovanovic is quoted as saying in Lajm.
The front-page quote in Koha Ditore is ‘Albanians must decide on their future, just like Macedonians and Croats’. ‘To be able to return Serbs to Kosovo, the situation must be better. It cannot be better if those who now live in Kosovo do not manage their lives. Albanians are here in Kosovo, Macedonians in Macedonia, Croats in Croatia, and returns have taken place only in societies which have resolved this essential problem,’ added Jovanovic.
Express recalls a recent statement by Jovanovic on Kosovo’s independence that triggered many reactions in Belgrade. Jovanovic spoke openly in favour of Kosovo’s independence. ‘My position on Kosovo is very clear. It is very important that many people in Serbia support my position,’ said Jovanovic, adding that Belgrade had a completely different position.
Koha Ditore also comments on Jovanovic’s statement that Serbia has already lost Kosovo.
Jovanovic said Belgrade’s slogan of ‘more than autonomy, less than independence’ was only a description of the current situation and added that this formula did not resolve anything. After 100 years of a wrong approach toward Kosovo, a process must start for reaching a historic agreement between the two nations. But the process, as he said, could not be qualitative if the reality was ignored. ‘The present-day reality is that we need to seek a long-term solution.’
‘Problems that exist between Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo are a tragedy inherited from the past. This is exactly what obliges us to build normal relations between the two societies. We as a nation were not able to administer the territory of Kosovo in a way that would motivate the Albanian society to seek its future within the Serbian state,’ said Jovanovic.
Asked what should be Belgrade’s role in the negotiations for the resolution of Kosovo’s final status, Jovanovic was quoted as saying, ‘Belgrade must be active and dictate the pace to take the initiative, not with ambitions to return to the past but to create a better future. I think it would be better to resolve this situation directly and without international mediation. However, after our incapability we must accept the signals that were sent to us and through international partnership create an environment where people can lead normal lives.’