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Serbia to continue pursuing revocation of Kosovo independence, says expert

The head of the Center for the Study of Modern Balkan Crisis at the RAS said that currently there is a pause in the Belgrade-Pristina talks, with both parties trying to consolidate their positions

MOSCOW, December 10. /TASS/. Most of the countries, which could potentially revoke their recognition of Kosovo’s independence, have already made decisions on that score, but Serbian diplomats will push ahead with its efforts along these lines, Yelena Guskova, Head of the Center for the Study of Modern Balkan Crisis at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Slavic Studies, told TASS on Monday.

"Today, Serbian diplomacy has done a lot to ensure that a number of countries revoke their recognition of Kosovo’s independence, thus removing the discussion of this issue at the UN General Assembly," she said. "I believe that the bulk of [the countries that could revoke their recognition of Kosovo’s independence] have revoked their decisions by now. However, Serbian diplomats will continue working along these lines, and every such revocation will be a big win even in resolving domestic political disagreements."

According to the expert, currently there is a pause in the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, with both parties trying to consolidate their positions. While Pristina uses violence and provocations, in particular by imposing 100% duties on Serbian goods and announcing the creation of its army, diplomacy continues to be the key tool for Belgrade.

"Despite the fact that [Serbian President Aleksandar] Vucic sometimes announces the army’s high alert and tries to use the language of force, diplomatic means are Serbia’s key arguments. That's why we cannot expect anything else from Belgrade," Guskova went on to say.

"All these steps on the part of Pristina, which exacerbated the situation, made Serbia feel insulted, because Belgrade was making concessions on the issue all the time [during negotiations with Kosovo], but no one did anything for the Serbs in Kosovo even under the 2013 agreement between Belgrade and Pristina [on normalizing relations] signed in Brussels," she stressed.

The Serbian Foreign Ministry earlier reported that Madagascar had been the 12th country to revoke its recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Diplomats both in Serbia and Kosovo have been making vigorous efforts to win over developing countries to their side. On the one hand, in February, Kosovo’s foreign minister said he had received recognition from another country, that is, Barbados. On the other hand, Papua New Guinea, Ghana, Burundi, Suriname, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Lesotho have revoked their recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

The Serbian autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija unilaterally declared its independence in February 2008. In 2010, its independence was recognized by the UN International Court of Justice. According to Serbia, the Republic of Kosovo has been recognized by 104 countries, while Pristina says there are 117 such states. More than 60 countries, including Russia, China, India, Israel, Greece and Spain, oppose Kosovo’s recognition.