Germany’s special representative for the Western Balkans, Manuel Sarrazin, said that Russia was clearly not interested in a peaceful solution for Kosovo, but that forecasts as to the actual strength of its influence should be offered cautiously.
“It is relatively clear that Russia is not interested in conciliation. Not to support Serbia though, but rather because it wants the European Union absorbed in a conflict, so that it can undermine the Western Balkans’ future in Europe,” Sarrazin said in an interview with the Welt daily.
The German envoy has also said that one should be “carful with interpretations,” as suggestions have been made openly that “the Russian influence, particularly in North Mitrovica, is coming directly from Moscow, and no longer via a third party.”
Sarrazin said he was optimistic about the materialization of the Agreement on the path to normalization between Kosovo and Serbia, informally known as the Ohrid Agreement. According to the German envoy, even though the two parties are yet to reach a consensus, it’s the first time that specific proposals as to how to reconcile Serbian interest and the state viability of Kosovo are on the negotiating table. It has been just “a matter for theoretical debate” before.
The German diplomat explained that he was not worried about the economic preferences of Serbian citizens regarding his country, because, as he put it, “everyone in Serbia knows what’s best for Serbia.”
“What gives me headache is how the people feel about the country’s foreign policy. There’s so much pro-Russian propaganda driving it further away from Europe,” Sarrazin said in the interview.