The President of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD), Vuk Jeremić delivered a lecture at ADA University, Azerbaijan’s top-tier educational institution, on March 13th, 2023. Entitled “Geopolitics of the Balkans and How it Relates to the Caucasus”, the lecture provided a comprehensive overview of current affairs, with a special emphasis on the issue of Kosovo and Metohija.
In his remarks, Jeremić noted that Kosovo is in the global spotlight, elaborating that Russia continues to support Serbia’s territorial integrity while constantly referencing the Kosovo precedent whenever it feels it should recognize new territories as independent—thereby demonstrating it too can employ double standards.
Reflecting on the ICJ’s position on the Kosovo issue, Jeremić reiterated that the opinion clearly stated that international law does not recognize unilateral declarations of independence. He highlighted that as a result of the ICJ opinion, there was never another wave of recognitions in its aftermath, while many that have previously taken place have since been withdrawn.
Drawing a parallel between Serbia and Azerbaijan and how their sovereignty has been challenged in Kosovo and Karabakh, respectively, Jeremić provided an in-depth analysis on protecting a country’s territorial integrity. “Azerbaijan was faced with unfavorable proposals as a solution to the Karabakh problem, none of which were accepted by Baku,” he stated, underlining that Serbia should learn from that experience, and have the strength, courage, and vision to resist unprincipled pressures.
Responding to the questions from the audience about the so-called Franco-German proposal, Jeremić stated that Serbia is being forced to accept the recognition of Kosovo. He underlined that he strongly opposes the signing of the agreement, and explained that it would cause long-term negative strategic consequences.
He elaborated that according to the provisions of the Agreement, which is publicly announced on the website of the EU, Serbia and Kosovo would treat each other according to principles of sovereign equality, and that Serbia would not block Priština’s membership in international organizations.
“If Kosovo were to become a member of the UN, the next step would be to create a single Albanian state, without any obstacles. This would open a Pandora’s box and cause further instability in the region,” he noted.
As veto-power holders in the UN Security Council, Russia and China’s position has long been to follow Serbia’s commitment to oppose the claim of Kosovo to statehood. However, in the event Serbia changes its position on its own territorial integrity, one should not expect Moscow or Beijing to act as greater protectors of Serbia’s sovereignty than Belgrade.
Jeremić further explained that Kosovo and Metohija is the birthplace of Serbian Christianity and the seat of the Patriarchate of the Serbian Orthodox Church. Should Kosovo ever become a state, the Serbian holy shrines would be placed under the jurisdiction of the Albanian church.
Commenting on the formation of the Association of Serbian Municipalities, he stated that although an agreement over it was reached 10 years ago, it was never implemented. Despite being promised again in this new proposal, it could easily be undone with one decision of the so-called Kosovo government.
Reflecting on the situation in Ukraine, Jeremic concluded that “those in the West who dare to call for peace in Ukraine are ostracized for being pro-Russia. The same goes in Russia, only vice-versa”. He added that the vast majority of the word’s nations are suffering serious consequences as a result of the war, and do not have much sympathy for the other side.
The lecture was attended by a number of university students, professors and faculty, as well as distinguished scholars and diplomats.
The President of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD), Vuk Jeremić delivered a lecture at ADA University, Azerbaijan’s top-tier educational institution entitled "Geopolitics of the Balkans and How it Relates to the Caucasus”.
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