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    • For a successful dialogue in the triangle Belgrade-Pristina-Tirana is crucial to change the opinions of citizens

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    • Date: 24 January 2014
      Domestic political tensions have significant impact on conflicts with neighbors and for a successful dialogue it is essential to change the attitudes within each of the analyzed community, it was concluded during the Forth Security Research Forum Belgrade-Pristina-Tirana which was jointly organized by Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, The Institute for Democracy and Mediation and Kosovar Centre for Security Studies.

      How much Serbian policies reflect public perceptions was the topic of presentation of BCSP Director Sonja Stojanovic Gajic during the Forth Security Research Forum Belgrade-Pristina-Tirana which was held in Tirana on 24 January 2014.

      Public opinion on regional cooperation

      In the framework of the Security Research Forum Belgrade-Prishtina-Tirana, the three partner organizations conducted a public opinion survey on Serbian-Albanian relations in the context of personal safety, national security and security integration in September 2013. BCSP Director Sonja Stojanovic Gajic discussed on Serbian public opinion findings on regional cooperation.

       "In Serbia, young people are more skeptical than older ones regarding Serbian-Albanian relations. Serbs think that Serbs in Kosovo require extra protection. Kosovars and Albanians feel the same about Albanians in Serbia“, said BCSP Director.

      Florian Qehaja, Director of Kosovar Centre for Security Studies and Foto Duro from The Institute for Democracy and Mediation discussed the main findings and highlights of the public opinion perception related to regional cooperation in the Kosovo and Albania.

      During the discussion the panelists agreed that domestic political tensions have significant impact on conflicts with neighbors. They pointed out that for a successful dialogue in the triangle Belgrade-Pristina-Tirana it is essential to change the attitudes of citizens within each of the analyzed community.

      Moderator of a discussion, Executive director of IDM Sotiraq Hroni underlined the fact that sometimes the public, compared to its political elite, is more advanced in supporting cooperation among other countries of the region, especially in the area of security. He mentioned the fact that more than 2/3 of the public opinion in Serbia, and about 60% in Kosovo, support cooperation between Serbian and Kosovo police. He underlined the fact that majority of public in the three communities, even though in different levels, support the political dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo initiated with the agreement signed by the prime ministers in April 2013. 

      Police cooperation in the region

      During the event it was also discussed on police and law enforcement cooperation between Serbia, Kosovo and Albania. Cooperation on police matters between Belgrade, Prishtina and Tirana has been identified as the most advanced area of cooperation. What are the main achievements of this cooperation and what remains to be done in order to meet the EU conditions on police and law enforcement cooperation are some of the topics which were discuss by: Artan Bajraktari, Director of International Cooperation and Coordination Directorate, General Directorate of State Police, Veton Elshani,  Head of Section for International and local Cooperation at Kosovo Police (ILECU) and Clive Rumbold, Head of Political Section, EU Delegation to Albania.

      "Since the beginning of implementation of the Brussels agreement, there are regular weekly and monthly meetings between the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia, Kosovo Police and EULEX representatives. These meetings are held alternately in Raska and Kosovska Mitrovica. Also in 2013 Serbia, Albania and Kosovo performed the first ever joint police action in cooperation with the member states of the European Union. The goal of that action was a search for stolen cars in the EU", said Veton Elshani.

      Given that area of police cooperation falls under the chapters 23 and 24 of the acquis communautaire the development of cooperation in this area will be beneficial to the countries involved as it will mark a further progress in the EU accession process. It was said that EU will demand from Balkan countries to move from reactive into proactive police cooperation.

      This event is a  part of the Security Research Forum Belgrade-Pristina-Tirana, a joint initiative of three independent think-tanks specialised in security research:  Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS) and Institute for Mediation and Democracy (IDM). The project is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
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