Sutanovac: Thanks to lobbyists, Pristina used the war in Ukraine against Serbia

Dragan Šutanovac
Source: Kosovo Online

President of the Strategic Policy Council and former Minister of Defense, Dragan Sutanovac, assesses that Pristina used the war in Eastern Europe and the EU and US's relationship with Russia to portray Belgrade as a key security risk in the region and that it would be disastrous for Serbia to rely on Moscow's rhetoric to resolve the Kosovo issue only after the end of the war in Ukraine.

"We are now in a situation not only to overcome and make an agreement with Pristina, but that agreement must also suit a third party, and at this moment, the third party has no interest in making an agreement, and that has also been clearly stated. We received a message from Moscow that we should wait for them to finish their business in Ukraine and elsewhere, and then some geopolitical situation will change, and then they will start addressing the Western Balkans, which is completely wrong and misguided. Serbia is surrounded by NATO and EU member states. Our place is in the EU, and Russia's problems with them should not be Serbia's problem," Sutanovac assessed.

He emphasized that the best course of action would be to reach an agreement as soon as possible so that "Serbia can move forward with full force."

"Our interest is for negotiations on Kosovo and any agreements to be made as soon as possible so that Serbia can move forward with full force in European integration and gain the necessary support we have had so far," Sutanovac said.

He assessed that Pristina had used the war in Ukraine to lobby in the US and EU, presenting problems in the Western Balkans as more significant than they really were.

"For decades, Pristina has been teaching us how to lobby throughout Western Europe and America. By this, I mean that they spare no effort in doing so. They had a great sponsor in Washington, Senator Menendez, who will probably end up in jail because he is a proven corrupt politician who represented not Kosovo's but personally Kurti's interests. They also have lobbyists in Europe. That's why there is much more noise around the problems in the region than is realistically the case. This is present in the administrations of prime ministers and presidents of European and US states," Sutanovac stated.

As he assessed, several factors played into Pristina's hands, citing that Europe was not ready for the war in Ukraine, nor was it capable of playing a more significant role in the Middle East, leading them to find "a place in the global redistribution of cards" through the Western Balkans issue.

"Leaders in Europe are trying to find their place in the global redistribution of cards that is currently taking place, and such a thing has not happened for decades. I think this is why they are more interested in the Western Balkans. There is a narrative in which they try to present Serbia as a country destabilizing the region, so accordingly, it is necessary to focus more on Serbia and the region. It all started with the fact that they cannot solve problems neither in Ukraine, nor in the Middle East, nor with the Hutu or Hamas. And all of this leads to the fact that in Europe, a good part of politicians who are unable to do anything on a global scale is focusing on Serbia," Sutanovac said.

Commenting on the anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine, Sutanovac said that this conflict had changed not only the international community's approach to the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue but that it had also produced changes worldwide.

"Definitely, Western countries were not aware of the dangers that various intelligence agencies warned about. The leaders of the Western world, including Zelensky, did not expect something like this to happen, even though they had experience from both Georgia and Ukraine in 2014. They practically found themselves in an undefended position, which is perhaps best seen now, given that for years the Bush, Trump, and Obama administrations warned NATO and EU member states not to allocate as much money as they had committed, primarily for their own security," Sutanovac said.

He is not optimistic that the conflict in Eastern Europe will end soon and that 2024 will be a year of great challenges for the entire world.

"The elections in America, US-China relations, the situation in the Middle East, and then the situation in Ukraine. These are all things that will not end quickly," Sutanovac concluded.