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Kosovo talks falter, Serbia threatens blockade

Serbia is refusing to rule out a complete blockade on Kosovo if it declares unilateral independence. A third day of talks on Kosovo’s future is beginning, with a formal peace agreement appearing distant. However, hope remains for some sort of compromise.

Many fear Serbia will react with an economic and travel blockade against an independent Kosovo.

“We will react as each normal country in Europe would react if its territory would be in danger. So I can't tell you what concrete measures will be taken, because it comes to the discretion of state measures but of course it will and it would react,” said Slobodan Samardzic, Serbian minister for Kosovo.

Serbia is desperate not to lose a piece of is diminished territory. Backed by Russia, it’s trying to put up a robust diplomatic fight.

The Albanians of Kosovo are backed up by the United States.

The Kosovars are not ready to postpone a declaration of their independence, especially when it seems so close.

“We can discuss, we can have negotiations 100 years more, but we can have no compromise between Kosovo and Serbia for status. Kosovo will be a state and this process will continue through peace and stability. No more war, no more killing, no more crisis in the region,” stated Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister-elect of Kosovo.

The European Union is the compromise mediator, although it has made it clear that it supports the eventual independence of the province if the two sides can manage to agree.

The bleak assessment from the international envoys overseeing the talks raises the likelihood that Kosovo will declare independence unilaterally at some point after December 10 – the deadline for a Troika report to be handed to the United Nations.

The Russian representative Aleksandr Botsan-Kharchenko says there’s no chance of a breakthrough but nevertheless the talks must continue. He said that a unilateral declaration of an independent Kosovo would send the Balkans back into turmoil and set a dangerous precedent for separatist movements worldwide.

The troika of mediators, which comprises the European Union, Russia and the United States, will be holding their first media conference on Wednesday.