PRISHTINE/PRISTINA, 3 June 2015 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on South East Europe, Roberto Battelli (MP, Slovenia), is visiting Belgrade, Prishtine/Pristina and Skopje this week for meetings with high-level officials and representatives of OSCE field presences for discussions on political developments in the region, including the ongoing dialogue between Belgrade and Prishtine/Pristina and the situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
“My aim is to receive first-hand information about the current state of regional co-operation, institution-building in these parts of the former Yugoslavia and about the valuable work of the OSCE field operations,” said Battelli.
“The Parliamentary Assembly gives its full support to the OSCE missions on the ground and we will continue to offer our assistance to them, to the countries of the region, and to their parliaments, wherever they see that we can be of help — especially in fostering internal and regional dialogue,” he added.
The Special Representative underscored his strong opposition to calls by some OSCE participating States to downsize field operations in South East Europe.
On 1 June in Belgrade, Battelli met with Vladimir Marinkovic, Vice-President of the National Assembly of Serbia, and with members of Serbia’s Delegation to the OSCE PA, including Delegation Head Dijana Vukomanovic and human rights committee Rapporteur Gordana Comic. He also held discussions with Ambassador Peter Burkhard, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, representatives of the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship and members of the international community.
In talks on the ongoing dialogue between Belgrade and Prishtine/Pristina, the Special Representative welcomed, in particular, the success of the continuing co-operation between prominent Serbian and Kosovar women in the framework of an initiative facilitated by the OSCE missions to Serbia and in Kosovo.
“As is so often the case, women are demonstrating again that they can play a leading role in furthering dialogue and a positive development between former parties to a conflict,” he said.
Battelli also emphasized the strong leadership role of the Serbian OSCE Chairmanship and the active contribution of Serbian members of parliament to the work of the OSCE PA.
In Prishtine/Pristina, the Special Representative was received by Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga on 3 June. The sides agreed that while the many documents resulting from the Belgrade-Prishtine/Pristina dialogue are a positive sign, implementation will be the key to real progress. The Special Representative supported the Kosovo President’s call for a more inclusive approach to Kosovo’s representation in international organizations.
Battelli also held extensive talks with Kosovo former Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Kosovo Assembly Enver Hoxhaj. Among topics of discussion, the sides considered possibilities for enhancing co-operation between the OSCE PA and the Kosovo Assembly without violating the status-neutral approach of the OSCE towards the issue of Kosovo’s independence.
The sides also discussed minority issues and related developments in the region, including recent incidents in Kumanovo, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Both agreed that the standstill in the EU-accession process for the country and the halt in Skopje’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, caused by the name dispute with Greece, are creating serious challenges and are among the most important causes for the rise of conflict situations.
At the OSCE PA’s 2014 Annual Session, parliamentarians from across the OSCE area approved a resolution on co-operation in South East Europe that encourages the countries of the region to better work together and calls upon the European Union, in particular, to avoid creating artificial obstacles along tracks toward accession.
While in Prishtine/Pristina, Battelli also met with Sasa Milosavljevic, Chief of the Kosovo Assembly’s Srpska Lista group, and Jasmina Zivkovic, Chair of the Kosovo Assembly Committee on Rights, Interests of Communities and Returns. He continued discussions on co-operation between Serbian and Kosovar women with Teuta Sahatqija, Chair of the Kosovo Assembly Committee on European Integration and former Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
The Special Representative held further meetings with Ambassador Jean-Claude Schlumberger, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, and with representatives of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX); the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (SRSG); the Commander NATO Kosovo Force (COMKFOR); and the Council of Europe.
Battelli is also scheduled to meet with Kosovo Assembly Chair Kadri Veseli before traveling to Skopje.