The two letters that destroyed the efforts to organize the elections of Serbia in Kosovo

QUINT has ascertained the impossibility of finding a formula for the organization of Serbia's elections in Kosovo, after two letters that arrived at the EU Office, copies of which were provided by KOHA. One is from the Liaison Officer of Serbia, in which the Government of Kosovo is not mentioned, nor was it requested to allow the elections, but only cooperation to enable the OSCE to collect the ballots. The other is Kurti's, in which, after listing the problems with the letter of the Liaison Officer of Serbia, it is emphasized that no unconstitutional model can be used

The content of the two letters has been decisive in collapsing QUINT's efforts for a solution regarding the holding of Serbian elections in Kosovo.

The first one was addressed by the liaison officer of Serbia and forwarded to his Kosovar counterpart through the EU Office in Pristina. The second has the signature of Prime Minister Kurti.

TIME has provided both.

Through the letter, communication channel Serbia has used the liaison officer and not the Liaison Office.

"Dear Kosovo Liaison Officer, in accordance with liaison arrangements, please inform the relevant governing authorities of Kosovo that Serbia will hold parliamentary and presidential elections on April 3, 2022," the first paragraph of the letter reads. sent from Belgrade. "Serbia asks Kosovo to cooperate in enabling the OSCE to organize a 'ballot collection' operation, which will allow eligible voters residing in Kosovo to vote on election day ".

In the third and last paragraph of this letter from the liaison officer of Serbia, it is emphasized that this country asks the relevant authorities of Kosovo to facilitate the operation of "ballot collection", including that related to the physical locations necessary for the process of voting.

During an interview on KTV on Thursday, Prime Minister Kurti confirmed the contents of the letters and said that he had been set up in Serbia.

"Practically, they have prepared a trap in which I would end up not recognizing the Republic of Kosovo", he said. "So, for me, the constitutionality of Kosovo and the law in our country must be respected first of all by myself even in such a communication", he added, explaining his decision not to respond positively to the letter of the liaison officer of Serbia .

Prime Minister Kurti had written only to the head of the EU Office, Tomas Szunyog. After thanking him for the proposal from Belgrade that he forwarded to him last Friday evening, he wrote to him that the April 3 elections in Serbia can be held in Kosovo only in accordance with an agreement between the two respective governments.

"For this purpose, we were waiting for a request from the Government of Serbia directly to the Government of Kosovo. Liaison offices (as opposed to 'officials') are only vehicles for carrying inter-governmental communications, not political or institutional substitutes for such communications," says Kurti's letter. "Furthermore, Belgrade does not even mention our Government, but calls us the "relevant governing authorities of Kosovo".

The Head of the Government wrote that it is regrettable that, while Kosovo is working in good faith with the EU and QUINT to find a mutually acceptable solution between the governments, the illegal structures of Serbia are trying to prepare and organize elections in the territory of Kosovo as if the Government did not exist. According to him, they were doing this with funding from Belgrade.

"This is perhaps why the proposal (in its first paragraph) states that elections 'shall be held', rather than requiring that they be held, thereby taking for granted Belgrade's competence to decide on the territory of Kosovo", says this letter of Prime Minister Kurti.

There was another remark about the content.

"In particular, Belgrade uses the term 'voters with the right to vote' to refer to Kosovo Serbs who have dual citizenship. However, this is according to the civil registry determined and possessed by the illegal municipal structures of Serbia in Kosovo, thus violating the Constitution and our laws", it is stated in this written communication. "It is important that this effort is not legitimized by the EU or OSCE authorities. Also, their reference to 'voters with the right to vote' and not 'voters abroad', is inconsistent with international best practices".

For the head of the Government, the attempt to belittle Kosovo and its state institutions occurred at a time when Belgrade is being destructive in many ways: by refusing to solve the problem of non-payment of electricity in the north of Kosovo; due to the lack of agreement on the license plates of Kosovo and Serbia; appointing illegal structures as election commissioners; using administrative means to carry out ethnic cleansing against Albanians in Presheva, Medvegja and Bujanovc through their deregistration as residents; and refusing to join EU and US sanctions against the Russian Federation for its military aggression and occupation of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Kurti's letter concluded with a thank you and appreciation for the ongoing efforts of the EU and QUINT to help resolve this issue, which he qualified as challenging.

Prime Minister Kurti's response prompted QUINIT's reaction, threats from official Belgrade and protests by Serbs in Kosovo.