Mond: Albin Kurti makes Western partners nervous

Miroslav Lajčak i Aljbin Kurti
Source: Tviter/Miroslav Lajčak

Analyzing the recent tensions in the North of Mitrovica, The French newspaper "Mond" states that the behavior of Albin Kurti irritates the diplomats dealing with Pristina, Ekonomia online reported.

"If there is no justification for the Serbian side to use warmongering rhetoric, the source of tensions this time should be sought in Pristina. Since the beginning of 2022, the current left-wing nationalist Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who speaks Albanian, has been increasing his share in North Mitrovica, even at the cost of breaking the status quo, which was preferred by Europeans and Americans until now," the paper's correspondent from Vienna, Jean-Baptiste Chastand, writes.

The article states that there is some kind of change concerning the previous policy of unconditional obedience to Western embassies.

"When political crises flare up in Kosovo, protests or thoughtful messages from various Western embassies, mostly the American embassy, are enough to calm the local political elites. Almost two million Kosovars know that they owe a lot to the decisive NATO role in the war against Serbia in 1999, and they do not want disagreements with their Western sponsors, especially in front of a government like the one in Belgrade, supported by Russia, which still does not recognize the independence of its former province," the text reads.

According to reports, Albin Kurti is being targeted precisely because of this questioning of the "YES man" relation toward the international community, based on the statements of the Albanian Prime Minister.

"The former leader of the Student Movement in the 1990s, Mr. Kurti, aged 47, stands out for his legendary rigidity, which is criticized even by the head of the Albanian government, Edi Rama. He forged his character in Serbian prisons, where he was imprisoned for two years, before he founded Self-Determination on the radical rhetoric idea of uniting Kosovo with Albania. After years in opposition, he won the parliamentary elections in February 2021, promising to fight endemic corruption. His victory was well-received in many European capitals. Kurti spoke very little about Serbia during that campaign, assuring that the new government's priorities would be the jobs creation and reform in the judiciary," it is stated.

However, "Mond" hints that upon coming to power, encouraged by the new international context of alliance that Serbia showed with Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, the new prime minister changed his approach, emphasizing reciprocity measures with Belgrade.

"Albin Kurti chose an offensive strategy in Mitrovica in early 2022. In April, he first banned the holding of Serbian parliamentary elections. In August, he demanded that Serbia recognize personal documents and Kosovo license plates, threatening that local Serbs would be denied the right to travel to Serbia with their documents. Simple reciprocity, Mr. Kurti claims. But each time, these claims have provoked violent reactions from the Serbian minority in Kosovo, which still lives with the illusion of returning to Belgrade bay, but also at the same time, the concern of Western offices, which have asked the Kosovo side to postpone its actions until later. According to the newspaper's commentary, which emphasizes that these behaviors irritated his Western allies, the Kosovo Prime Minister responded precisely to their demands," the text states.

The Franco-German plan is mentioned at the end of the analysis, for which it is said it would force Kurti to make concessions.

"France and Germany have put on the table a draft agreement that would enable a form of unofficial recognition of Kosovo, following the model of the two Germanys during the Cold War. However, in order to reach its signature, this agreement will force Kurti to make concessions regarding the rights of the Serbian minority," the text concludes, which was reported by Ekonomia online portal.