In what seems like a turn in his policy, the President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said in Washington that “a minor border correction with Serbia would be acceptable for a final agreement with Belgrade,” Pristina Gazeta Express website reported on Tuesday, as carried by the Beta news agency.
Thaci, who was in the US for the traditional Prayer Breakfast, added that “the issues of Mitrovica (with its northern part populated by the Serbs), Trepca mining complex and Gazivode lake were non-negotiable, but failed to say what small correction he had in mind.
He had been advocating border correction for a while but said that would never mean any division of Kosovo, but the annexation of Serbia’s southern region Presevo Valley mostly populated by ethnic Albanians.
But on Tuesday, Thaci told the US Council on Foreign Relations which gathered experts in regional issues that “if a small border correction were a price for reaching the final peace agreement, that would be acceptable.”
He added Kosovo had “always wins when it acts in coordination with the US and that despite painful compromises, the outcome is always beneficial to Kosovo when it is in an alliance with the US.”
The idea on border correction was rejected by much tougher negotiator Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj who gained popularity at home by opposing any border change which was seen as the partition of Kosovo.
However, the two had a meeting in Haradinaj's office ahead of Thaci's trip to the US, and media speculated thy agreed on Thaci's talks in Washington.
Thaci on Tuesday failed to mention the 100 percent import duties imposed on goods from Serbia and Bosnia last November, which the US and the European Union had repeatedly demanded to be suspended or abolished, while Haradinaj remained firm on conditioning them to Belgrade's recognition of Kosovo independence.
The EU-facilitated Belgrade – Pristina on normalisation of relations supported by Washington, has been on halt for months and Serbia says it won’t resume before Kosovo withdraws the decision on taxes.