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International Conference: Northern Kosovo in the Regional Cooperation Perspective

 January 11th 2013 – Becici, Montenegro

The International Conference: Perspectives of regional cooperation for Northern Kosovo in the Regional Cooperation Perspective, was held on January 11 – 13, 2013, at Hotel “Splendid” in Bečići, Montenegro. This International Conference constituted a one-day event attended by prominent international and regional decision makers, public opinion makers and experts engaged in interethnic dialogue and negotiation, including Serbian – Albanian dialogue.

The main topic of the conference tackles the problems of divided societies, such as Kosovo and Northern Kosovo, and divided cities, such as Mitrovica. This issue will be addressed in the perspective of strengthening the Western Balkans and Euro-Atlantic integration.

The main objectives of this event were:

  • Contribute to the process of defusing the tensions and resolving the issue of North Kosovo;
  • Strengthen the regional cooperation;
  • Contribute to unimpeded European perspectives of both Serbia and Kosovo.

Recommendations developed after the conference will set a framework for public and other initiatives and enable a dialogue to find solutions for unresolved issues of Northern Kosovo, and enhance cooperation between Serbs and Albanians in the North and in the rest of Kosovo, and the whole region.

In the view of this conference, the concept of a divided state refers to the states created with the break-up of Yugoslavia, the main feature of which is fragmentation along ethnic, religious and cultural lines. The fragmentation has led to separation of population and to administrative division in a number of cities like Mostar in Bosnia and Hercegovina and Mitrovica in Kosovo. Although a relatively small area that includes three predominantly Serb municipalities north of the Ibar River – Zubin Potok, Leposavić and  Zvečan – and the northern part of Mitrovica, with population of a few thousand people, Northern Kosovo has become one of the most complicated issues in the Western Balkans and South Eastern Europe. It threatens to destabilize Kosovo and Serbia, but also the neighboring countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia).

This Conference was held under the Chatham House Rule to ensure open and free discussions:
”When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed”.
All participants were required to adhere to this rule when discussing with others, including the media, any matters related to the discussions.