Milivojevic: Pristina's moves lead directly to conflict, KFOR to make a statement
Former diplomat Zoran Milivojevic told for RTS that the only chance to resolve the crisis in Kosovo was to meet the demands of the Serbian side - the withdrawal of special police forces and the release from prison of those people who were illegally arrested, and that any other solution would lead to a direct conflict outside controls.
Serbs from the north of Kosovo are at the barricades for the 17th day. They say that they will be removed when Pristina releases Dejan Pantic, Miljan Adzic and Sladjan Trajkovic and when special police forces are withdrawn from the north.
Milivojevic points out that we are getting closer to escalation, the moves of the Pristina side and the Pristina authorities since yesterday will directly lead to escalation if there is no reaction from KFOR.
"It is not by chance that on Catholic Christmas we have a ban on the entry of Patriarch Porfirije and an attempt to provoke a direct incident and somehow provoke the Serbian side," said Milivojevic.
"The news appeared via Koha yesterday that the KFOR patrol was attacked, it is a direct call for escalation and the argument - as far as I'm concerned - shows that there was an attempt to escalate the matter and to take advantage of it," added Milivojevic.
According to his words, the Pristina side is committed to a solution by force, and at this moment what suits them best is escalation.
Albin Kurti announced talks with the KFOR commander after Christmas.
Speaking about the possibility of violently removing the barricades, Milivojevic indicates that this would be a prelude to a direct conflict, the only chance to get out of the crisis is to meet the demands of the Serbian side: withdraw the special police forces and release from prison two or three people who are illegal arrested - leads to a direct out-of-control conflict for a long time.
"If they do not have understanding in KFOR for these positions, then they can contribute to the escalation, I refer to the news about possible support for the Pristina side for a solution by force," he says.
Belgrade's determination to be on the side of the Serbian people
The Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Army, General Milan Mojsilovic, went to Raska.
Answering the question of what this arrival of the military leadership means, Milivojevic says that it is a confirmation of Belgrade's position that it will defend the Serbian people in every way and that no new Storm operations will be allowed.
"Serbia's determination to be on the side of the Serbian people and two that the only solution should be sought through dialogue. Belgrade makes it known that it is in favor of a dialogue solution, a political solution, but is determined to defend the Serbian people, if there is an escalation - that is for KFOR very clear message," notes Milivojevic.
Going to the field is a confirmation of Serbia's position, it is a sufficient argument for KFOR to take it into serious consideration, he says.
When it comes to KFOR and that part of the international community, Milivojevic notes that there are also differences in approaches - there is a radical current that advocates a solution by force - Germany is partial, but there is another more rational group of countries where Washington plays the main role - to avoid escalation.
Certain media outlets report that the representatives of the Quint countries have asked President Vucic to withdraw the barricades within 24 hours or they will be forcibly removed.
Milivojevic says that it does not seem politically serious to him in this situation, and that part of the international community would lose credibility if it actively acted in these areas.
"Secondly, there is nothing to name-call President Vucic, Belgrade did not set up barricades, the Serbs opted for a peaceful protest," notes Milivojevic.
He points out that the barricades are a symbol of peaceful protest, and the possibility of seeking political solutions, the only way to return to dialogue and peace is to reach out to the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, if these two demands are met, it would not be a problem to remove the barricades.
"We live in a time when everything is possible, the law is not respected, but then we leave the circle of diplomacy, if we want peace and stability, KFOR will know what to do, it will side with what leads to peace, it will not support the Pristina authorities, the policy that leads in escalation," Milivojevic said.
"War is possible if the Pristina side is allowed to implement its political ideas", Milivojevic underlines.
About the request sent to KFOR
Milivojevic does not expect a positive response from KFOR to Belgrade's request for the return of Serbian soldiers and policemen, but not a direct negative response.
It indicates that they have to respect Resolution 1244, they can say that the situation is under control and indirectly make it known that it is not necessary for the representatives of the Serbian army to return to the field, but it is necessary for them to guarantee it.
"Now it is time for KFOR to declare whether it is within its mandate, to not allow the possibility of escalation and the attempt of escalation from the Pristina side to be realized on the ground," Milivojevic pointed out.
"The reinforcement of soldiers at the administrative crossings is a sign that Belgrade is clear in its position - we will defend the interests of the Serbian people and we will not allow another pogrom, we will not allow another year 2004," Milivojevic concluded.