Kokanovic: I expect Pahor to remain consistent in insisting on the CSM

Vladimir Kokanović
Source: Kosovo Online

EU envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, could be replaced this summer by the former President of Slovenia, Borut Pahor. Vladimir Kokanovic, the President of the Union of Serbs of Slovenia, points out that it is not favorable for the Serbian side that Pahor comes from a party led by Tanja Fajon, while on the other hand, it could be very important that during his term as president, the relations between Serbia and Slovenia were on an upward trajectory.

Kokanovic, speaking to Kosovo Online, finds it interesting how the Slovenian newspaper "Delo" reported that Borut Pahor is preparing to succeed Miroslav Lajcak, as well as the latest information that the Prime Minister of Slovenia has publicly supported Pahor for this position and even stated that he has spoken several times with European officials to support his potential candidacy.

Pahor is described as a man with extensive political experience, having been a Member of the European Parliament, and he was the Prime Minister in 2008 when Slovenia recognized Kosovo's independence.
Also, he reminds that later he served two terms as president.

"He is well-versed in Europe's stance on this issue, which has now become a pressing issue not only for Serbia, given that it is one of our most important national issues, but also a pressing issue for the entire region, and seemingly for Europe as well. A circumstance that does not favor the Serbian side is that Borut Pahor comes from a party whose leader is still Tanja Fajon, and we don't know how much longer she will remain; the moves made by this political party have more often favored the Pristina side," Kokanovic notes.

On the other hand, he adds, during his term as President of Slovenia, relations between Serbia and Slovenia were very good and on an upward trajectory.

According to Kokanovic, this positive path was also insisted upon by the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic.

"I hope that this will also have a positive effect on his decisions if he is appointed to that position," he adds.

Kokanovic notes that it will also provide an opportunity to see the results of the work of the Serbian Embassy in Slovenia.

"Serbia must continue to engage in a serious diplomatic offensive towards Slovenia, which will now certainly involve forming a more experienced Serbian diplomatic consular office in Slovenia. This office will have the task on one hand to achieve even better relations with Slovenia in the hope that the truth about the suffering of the Serbian people in Kosovo and Metohija is heard, and on the other hand, to involve representatives of the very large diaspora in Slovenia, and according to official data, Serbs in Slovenia are the largest ethnic community," he said.

Kokanovic notes that the Union he leads has worked extensively on this issue in the past because it is known that there was an intention by Slovenia to get involved in the "Kosovo issue," and they even appointed their own envoy for this purpose.

For this reason, he adds, Slovenia's decision to engage on this issue is not surprising, but it also speaks positively about the diaspora, namely their efforts to help the two countries raise the level of relations to an even higher level.

Reminding that Borut Pahor already in September 2022 said that from that moment it was most necessary to respect the provision of the Brussels Agreement regarding the formation of the Community of Serb-majority Municipalities in order to continue the dialogue, Kokanovic says that we are all witnesses that this has not happened.

However, he expects Pahor to remain consistent with the statement he made more than a year ago.

"I believe that this must be something that will take precedence in the negotiations, but certainly someone who is the EU envoy is also a guarantor of those negotiations. On one hand, Miroslav Lajcak often had the habit of criticizing both sides, namely pointing out to both sides that they must respect all norms from almost all legal acts concerning this issue, but he almost did nothing to contribute to Pristina's side respecting a norm that was necessary. We expect Borut Pahor to make a contribution, namely that his contribution will be in line with the statement he made in September 2022," he said.

He adds that representatives of the Serbian diaspora in Slovenia will make a strong contribution to exert a degree of diplomatic pressure to raise the relations between Serbia and Slovenia to a higher level, but also on the other hand to influence the broader Slovenian public because, as he emphasizes, it is very important for them to learn the truth about the suffering of the Serbian people in Kosovo.

"It is very important to influence the broader Slovenian public to see that in the 21st century the Serbian side insists on peace and not just to maintain peace in Serbia. Peace is not maintained only in Serbia, but almost throughout Europe," Kokanovic concluded.