Kokanovic: Serbs from Kosovo under unprecedented pressure; it is important to show unity on this issue

Vladimir Kokanović
Source: Kosovo Online

The President of the Alliance of Serbs in Slovenia, Vladimir Kokanovic, tells Kosovo Online that communication with the state leadership in that country has improved significantly recently, with a "softer and different" narrative, and adds that through their activities, they are trying to draw attention to the position of Serbs in Kosovo, which, as he emphasizes, is "unworthy of human life in the 21st century."

Serbs are the most important ethnic group in Slovenia after Slovenians themselves, and numerous activities of the Serbian Alliance in Slovenia have been directed towards preserving Serbian tradition, culture, and heritage, Kokanovic says.

"We have certainly taken care of almost all important national interests and the most important political issues related to the survival of Serbia and the Serbian people, and we are witnesses to pressures not only on Serbia as a state but also on the Serbian people, greater than ever before," our interlocutor adds.

Regarding the Kosovo issue, Slovenia becomes additionally interesting due to the latest information about the possible candidacy of Borut Pahor for the position of EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. Kokanovic reminds and notes that in the past period, especially in the last two years, they have been active in this field.

"We have already started to establish additional communication with a certain part of the ruling structure to see Slovenia's position on this issue," Kokanovic says, adding that with the engagement of the President of Serbia, the narrative is "somewhat softer and different," even though Slovenia has recognized Kosovo's independence.

The goal, as he emphasizes, is to hear the truth.

"Our basic guideline was to tell our compatriots and Slovenians the truth about events in Kosovo and Metohija. We noticed that there was a lot of disinformation in general, and both Slovenians and, surprisingly, leading Slovenian politicians were generally uninformed about this process. Very few of them heard about the Pogrom on March 17," Kokanovic notes.

Now there is better communication with Slovenia's state leadership and part of the ruling coalition, with whom, as he emphasizes, they often talk about Kosovo, hoping to make a "modest contribution."

Regarding the relationship of the homeland towards the diaspora, he says that the Serbian state leadership really takes care of Serbs from Slovenia more than ever.

He emphasizes that Tanja Fajon no longer leads the Social Democrats party, which, as he notes, is very important, "since she was one of the main advocates of political decisions that did not favor official Belgrade."

"In the past period, vice president positions were also occupied by representatives of the Albanian minority from Kosovo who actively lobbied within Slovenia to take a stance on this issue that does not favor the Serbian side. In recent years, we have begun to actively address this issue, and now we will try to do it even more actively, to create pressure on Slovenia and its state leadership, so that in the end, the truth, above all, will be heard, and the truth at this moment is truly on the side of Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija and the Serbian state," Kokanovic concludes.

Albanians from Kosovo are fewer in number in Slovenia than Serbs, but they have been, as he emphasizes, quite vocal in some segments. They, according to him, actively lobbied and continue to do so.

He also adds that Serbs from Slovenia, in agreement with Serbs from Italy, have visited Kosovo in recent years and organized a series of humanitarian actions.

"We also wanted to draw attention to the wider regional, European, and certainly our Serbian public that we want to help our Serbs from Kosovo and Metohija," Kokanovic says.

He also highlights that, together with Serbs from Italy and the region, they were signatories of memoranda of support for Serbs from Kosovo because they are "under unprecedented pressure and in a situation unworthy of human beings in the 21st century," to show unity among Serbs on this issue.