Belgrade proposes Hong Kong

Article published on Nov. 12, 2007
Article published on Nov. 12, 2007
During the fourth round of direct negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina taking place in the Austrian capital, Belgrade officially proposed to take Hong Kong as a model to define the future status of Kosovo. Pristina declined the offer, the Serbian media reports.

The Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and the Serbian President, Boris Tadic said that Hong Kong could serve as a model to find a compromise between the Albanian and the Serbian parties. “This is a case where all is regulated on a legal basis, this example should not be imitated, the most important is that the message conveys the spirit of international law”, said V. Kostunica who is still convinced that this will pave the way to a compromise whereas keeping in accordance with both the United Nations’ Charter and the Serbian Constitution.

According to Boris Tardic’s word in Blic Online: “Moreover, no party has the liberty to take unilateral measures as far as constitutional and sovereignty issues are concerned. With such a ruling, international frontiers don’t change and remain protected thanks to the collaboration with the international community; whereas the deployment of security forces is strictly limited to the local level, which guarantees order and peace.”

According to the daily Albanese newspaper Zeri, the Unity Team’s spokesman, Sender Hyena, said that : “there cannot be any negotiation on Kosovo and Serbia’s sovereignty. We are for a sustainable solution. The only stable solution is the independence of Kosovo.  It cannot be an example as the historical background of Hong Kong and that of Kosovo are different”. Blerim Shala, the coordinator of the Albanese delegation, the “Unity Team”, declared in an interview to Voice of America that, more than ever, the last meeting in Vienna proves that there is no hope for a solution.

Hasim Tachi, chief of the democrat party of Kosovo (DPK) and member of the delegation considers that it is impossible to reach a compromise with Belgrade on the status of Kosovo, and rejects the proposition: “Shall we keep on negotiating a hundred years with the Serbs, we will never reach any compromise. Belgrade hopes that Kosovo will remain part of Serbia. Our position doesn’t change. It is our right and our will that Kosovo gains its independence”.

Hong Kong had been a British colony from 1842 to its handover to China in 1997. It is governed as a special administrative region under the Basic law of Hong Kong. The wording of the common Sino-British declaration is that China promises that Hong Kong would keep certain autonomy until 2047 at least, that is to say 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty. According to the so-called “One country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong would keep its legal system, its currency, its political system, its international sports’ teams and its immigration laws.

According to Dragoslav Rancic, a specialist of International Affairs working for the Serbian weekly Nin, the proposition cannot be enforced: “First of all, Hong Kong and China are both inhabited by Chinese people while in Kosovo, 90% of the population is Albanian and doesn’t wish to live with Serbians. The context is different; I was surprised of such a parallel because the solution was conceived for a country with two systems”.

As usual, all the parties considered that the latest negotiation didn’t lead to real improvements, says. The next date set for pursuing negotiations will be November 20th in Brussels.

Snejana Jovanovic //

Translation : Sophie Helbert