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tv   France 24  LINKTV  August 22, 2022 5:30am-6:00am PDT

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aviation administration. ♪ this is al jazeera and these are your top stories. four explosions that hit a military air force in russian occupied crimea. attacks on russian military facilities in the peninsula have increased last week. ukraine's president held talks with his turkish counterpart and the u.n. secretary general in lviv. it has been shelled multiple times and there are fears of a possible nuclear disaster.
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>> it is unacceptable russia is potentially bringing us on the verge of radiation capacity on a global scale. we have agreed with mr. secretary-general with parameters for the possible visit of a mission to the nuclear power plant, in a legal way that involves their movement through territory which is free of occupying forces. >> the u.s. says israel provide -- will provide more details on why it shut down seven palestinian ngos in the occupied west bank thursday. some groups have funneled donor aid to palestinian fighters. the organizations deny this. it has been 100 days since israeli forces shot and killed and al jazeera journalists. a vigil was held at al jazeera arabic headquarters here in delhi. the network has been calling for those who killed her to be brought to justice.
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talks aimed at ending a months long political deadlock in iraq are at risk despite agreeing wednesday to work on a roadmap out of the crisis. they are refusing to take part in the dialogugue is being led y the caretaker prime minister. 10 months after general election , iraq still has no government because of disagreement about forming a coalition. media companies in the u.s. are going to court to get more information about the fbi's search of donald trump's home. the agents found 11 sets of classified documents while searching the former president's home must week. the justice department says if the affidavit is made public, it will compromise its investigation. next, "inside story." ♪
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mohammed: what is behind the recent tension between serbia and kosovo? the two sides have met in brussels to dissolve a dispute marked by vehicle lessons plans. -- plates. but are they going to be able to reach an agreement and avoid conflict? this is "inside story." ♪ alone welcome to the program. i am mohammed jamjoom. the leaders of serbia and kosovo have held rare talks in brussels that european union mediators hope will de-escalate growing tensions. they have been at odds ever since kosovo declared independence from serbia in 2008
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. nato is increasing troop numbers along the border with renewed fears of possible conflict in the region. the alliance's chief jens stoltenberg has met separately both leaders and called for calm, while saying nato troops were ready to intervene if necessary. the latest dispute was parked last month when kosovo said serbian identifying documents and car plate numbers would no longer be valid in their territory. the serb minority in kosovo reacted angrily, prompting kosovo to two delay the measures. first, here's more from brussels. reporter: the first meeting of the highest officials of serbia and kosovo, after more than a year, is taking place at a time of high tensions and rhetoric that is so strange that the european commission describes it as inflammable. european diplomats emphasize that they are determined that
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the meeting will continue until a solution to the current crisis is found. the latest tensions were triggered late in july ahead of kosovo's intention to make all citizens to use kosovo car plates. also people from serbia entering kosovo would have to have issued exit entry documents which would be used as i.d. during their stay. this move triggered local serbs to put up roadblocks and sound air raid sirens. even several gunshots were reported. kosovo postponed implementation of the law for one month, and serbs can remove roadblocks, but tensions have state ahead of september 1, the new date of planned implementation. jens stoltenberg held meetings with both leaders, which was not an unusual practice. his message was loud and clear. nato peacekeeping missing --
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nato is ready to intervene if stability is at risk. >> i call on all sides to show restraint and avoid violence. nato continues to monitor closely situation on the ground. our careful peacekeeping mission remains focused on its u.n. mandate. should stability be jeopardized, we stand ready to intervene. >> we do not agree on almost anything, but what is important is that serbia will stick to international law and agreements and everything that was signed. >> kosovo's institutions and citizens in the current situation have reason to be vigilant about destructive approach of our northern neighbor and the region in general under russia's detrimental agenda for europe and the balkans. reporter: they both said they are willing to work on
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de-escalation in order to find a mutually agreeable solution for the normalization of relations of serbia and his former province that declared its independence in 2008. mohammed: let's get a closer look at this story. kosovo declared independence from serbia in 2008, after years of strained relations between the majority ethnic albanian population and minority serbs. it has not been recognized by the u.n. nursery at. while the u.s. and some countries have welcomed the move. they have blocked kosovo from joining international institutions but both are seeking to join the eu, so normally should is seen -- so normalization is seen as crucial. let's bring in our guest. una hajdari, a reporter for political europe. aleksandar brezar, a western balkans analyst.
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and human rights lawyer milan antonijevic. a warm welcome to you all and thank you so much for joining us. una, let me start with you. from your perspective, can this meeting yield any concrete results? una: what we have seen so far is that the kosovo prime minister has said he is not withdrawing his pledge to apply reciprocity measures starting on september 1, which means that the kosovar side is not going to back down from insisting that serbian citizens who enter kosovo not be able to travel with license plates issued in serbia, and need central -- need special entry documents. at precisely this moment we are waiting for the eu to hold a conference, a press conference and gave some indication of what the agreement is in brussels. but what i am predicting at this
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point is they are going to try to find an intermediate solution that will try to comb over some of the differences that exist between the two sides. in order to delay the intensity, or the tensions we are seeing right now. mohammed: milan, the serbian president said he expected difficult talks with kosovo's prime minister. he said, we do not agree almost on anything. so from your vantage point, how difficult do you think these talks are going to be? milan: i believe that there is an urge to come to agreement. we saw what the measures introduced by kosovo on august 1 produced, and that they produced also an insecurity on the north of kosovo. knowing that, knowing all the facts related to security, i believe the serbian side is ready and willing to negotiate. they showed it in the past.
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there were some agreements, not at the highest level, such as the agreement on the energy sector recently. so i believe that there is potential, that serbia should insist on already signed agreements, that serbia should also insist on the future of the dialogue as such, and to see how to overcome the difficulties that exist at the moment. we saw a few months ago, we had the very tough discussion, society dealing with serbia and kosovo relations. but i expect in the name of security, the agreement must be on the horizon, and that this is a good start, no matter how the first positions are far from each other. mohammed: aleksandar, from your perspective, what does brussels hope to achieve both in the short term and in the long-term? aleksandar: i think this is a
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really important key question today, especially. as both sides have said, the dialogue has stalled over the past year or so, if not longer. we have seen several flareups in the meantime. brussels is always attempted to be the mediating, pacifying side to this. if we're going to be perfectly honest about this, i don't expect much more than just the usual kicking the can down the road. brussels does not necessarily, the officials in brussels do not necessarily have much of a stick to the carrot they have offered to both sides in this. i do not expect some sort of a grand solution to the outstanding problems when it comes to this issue.
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or anything that is going to go beyond we have usually heard, which is that both sides have a very rigid stance on the problems. mohammed: una, of course there are many who are worried right now that kosovo and serbia might be headed towards another war. you wrote a police -- you wrote a piece for politico saying on the piece -- on the ground in kosovo, panic had subsided for now. so what is the mood at the moment? una: as i said in the article, and many others have echoed, people are surprised there's suddenly such a global interest in the conflict between kosovo and serbia. i should be careful with the terms i used. when i say conflict, i.e. mean the intractable tensions between the two countries, but they are not armed by any means at this
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point. they are surprised there is such interest in this happening because various, similar forms of violence and tensions had existed and have been occurring over the past couple of years. i think everyone understands that everyone in europe is in a much higher level of alertness and anxiety over this because of the ongoing invasion of ukraine. but people don't understand why people are so interested. on the other hand, i feel like the stakes are very high right now because, primarily serbia is the country being pushed into a corner. it's been expected to make a final move with regard to sanctions towards russia. it is one of the few countries in europe not participating in sanctions packages against the russian federation. everyone in kosovo believes because serbia is being pressured by brush or -- by
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brussels, it could be more prone to radical moves, especially when it comes to kosovo. mohammed: milan, i know you touched on this, but where do things go from here? what are the next steps? milan: i fully disagree with this statement that there is a can in this and it's hit down the street. i heard it today before with negotiations. i would not semper fi it -- not simplify it as such. there's a sense of insecurity people feel from the serbian community on the north. there is also the announcement that the president will talk with the serbian community today, counting it down, as he did also at the beginning of the first crisis, if we may call it that. so i would not make a bigger parallel with russian aggression to ukraine. there is no possibility that
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anything like it happens in our region. as long as both parties are dedicated to dialogue. mohammed: aleksandar, jens stoltenberg said the situation on the ground has improved. where do things stand right now? aleksandar: look, there's something that has to be said about this. it's related to what milan said before me. when it comes to kicking the can down the road in brussels, it is important to note that these meetings have recently been all about kicking the can down the road, because brussels has not offered anything to any of the sides. i am not just talking about kosovo and serbia, i am talking all the balkan states, who are trying to be eu members at some point down the road. in terms of serbia, it's moving along. for kosovo, it's getting visa
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liberalization, etc. so these meetings are a convenient way for both sides, and on both ends now you have strong men, especially the president of serbia. but also on the kosovo side. both sides are flexing muscles and trying to push the other side into some kind of a corner where they will have to make a mistake. it's all about this kind of diplomatic/political/wh at-do-you-want-to-call-it, arm wrestle. this is important and something milan might not know, because i don't know the last time he was in the north of kosovo. i am there, it is my job to do that. people's's concerns might be legitimate. we were talking about ethnic serbs in the north of kosovo,
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they might be legitimate in them feeling afraid or scared, or pushed into a corner, again, in a very direct sense. but belgrade is not helping much either, and belgrade is not helping much either by continuing this cat and mouse game without actually getting to any kind of solid result, or any kind of practical resolution to any of the problems. regardless of the provocations from both sides. that has to be taken into account. in terms of the general security situation, it's worth noting that just 60 kilometers down the road in the capital, you have people going on with their lives as though there is no crisis. and people who have been caught in the crosshairs here, these very ethnic serbs, are the ones who are legitimately concerned.
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but i do not see that their leaders, their representatives, are actually doing anything to make their lives better. this is not just about finding a solution, this has a lot to do with finding practical things to do on the ground, where belgrade claims to be responsible for these people. it basically does nothing, and has done nothing for years except use them as political pawns in this, like i said, cat and mouse game between the two sides. mohammed: una, in the event that fighting were to actually erupt, if tensions escalate again, kosovo and serbia are bound by an agreement in which nato has the final say. i want to ask you, how entwined nato and the eu are in the local peacekeeping efforts? una: nato is absolutely the final arbiter in any conflict or escalation that could erupt between kosovo and serbia. when the nato bombing of yugoslavia happened, or
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montenegro, and kosovo too in 19 99, an agreement was signed was unprecedented, that continues to be unprecedented in nato history, which basically means that anytime serbia would want to encroach the territory of kosovo, militarily or otherwise, it would immediately provoke reaction from nato. so, something that the public might be more familiar with in terms of the article five protections of nato exists when it comes to kosovo, even though kosovo is not a nato member. this is why people on the ground have, to some extent, downplayed the possibility of an all-out war happening. that does not mean there cannot be incidents. sadly, tensions or even loss of life. but a full on conflict, similar to anything happening in ukraine, is almost entirely impossible, precisely because nato's forces on the ground in kosovo have spent the last 20 years almost exclusively
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protecting the northern border and making sure both the albanian and kosovo serb community are protected in those territories. again, that does not mean there cannot be incidents, but an actual, full on conflict is entirely unlikely. mohammed: milan, in the aftermath of the latest flareup, -- what has the response been from serbia? milan: well, licking serbia to russia fully -- linking serbia to russia fully is more of a fake dilemma. there is a serbian policy fully independent from any russian influence, and the security of the population of the serbs up north is their own stake, and belgrade does not play with that as far as i can see. i have been to kosovo just a month ago. nato forces are protecting there. they are also working in the
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enclaves, and they are very agile in avoiding any of the provocation from other side. but the thing that i know, speaking with the servant community in -- the serbian community in the north, kosovo forces in the north, there are always incidents. however, if tensions are rising, i believe these incidents could be seen as a provocation. i hope the kosovo side will not try to make any reasons for the serbian community, that is frightened at the moment, to react. so, the responsibility is shared for both sides. they are meeting in brussels in front of the community there, t he envoy, and also -- they are aware of these facts. and that everything that both
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serbia and kosovo will get, they will get it on the negotiating table. i believe this notion is well-placed in belgrade. i hope and this is the message that we transfer when i spoke with him in june, that the negotiating table should be the only table for solving any of the issues. luckily there is no zelenskyy in that region, there is no putin in the region either. so there's no possibility for any conflict to evolve. also jens stoltenberg's message to the security and -- is given the strong signal that none of the possibilities for greater conflict is not on the western balkans, and that we're just following the situation and trying to solve every issue that exists, especially issues related to freedom and --
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freedom of movement. serbia supporting the visa for kosovo citizens related to the eu. these are the gestures that should be seen as positive, because they will, and they have the possibility to open many of the -- still in brussels. mohammed: aleksandar, the eu said serbia and kosovo need to normalize elation's if they wish to ultimately join the bloc. if the eu were to eventually accept them as member states, is that something that would diffuse these tensions at all? aleksandar: that is a really good question. here is the thing. for serbia to enter the eu, it has to recognize independence of kosovo. the 35th chapter of the current
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eu negotiations states exactly that. it is absolutely clear. it has become absolutely clear over the years that the only way for suburbia to become if -- for serbia to become a full-fledged member state is to recognize kosovo. now, with that recognition will look like in practice is a different thing. obviously, there might be a little bit of room to maneuver there. but i do not see serbia entering the eu without actually resolving this in a way that's positive for everyone, not just one side. as far as kosovo is concerned, there are several things that play when it comes to its eu membership bid. as you know, it's bundled together with bosnia-herzegovina as a quote-unquote potential candidate country. it's what i like to call a cardboard medal that was given out to the two countries.
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based on at lease the officials in brussels, the two do not fulfill certain requirements to be full-fledged candidate countries like montenegro and albania. on the other hand, if you look at all the actual practicalities of what life is like in kosovo, what the political life is like in kosovo, we're talking about the youngest democracy in the world, western-style democracy in the world. we are talking the youngest country, the most recent -- the country that is most recently declared independence and has been partially recognized. the second youngest in the world. it is a very vibrant society, it is a very vibrant environment. could even say it is much more democratic than some other candidate countries from the region. and despite this, i mean, the position it has found itself in
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is, in my opinion, is very sad for the 2 million people who live there. mohammed: i am sorry to interrupt, we only have about 1.5 minutes left. i want to ask, if nato were to intervene or step up its presence even further, is that something that would really be a de-escalatory measure? would it ultimately help, or could that flames things -- inflame things as well? aleksandar: there are some rules and regulations that determine how much involvement nato can have, including in bosnia-herzegovina. obviously things would have to escalate between kosovo and serbia first to intervene. could it be more physically present on the ground? could there be more actual boots on the ground? that's a really interesting question and whether that will lead to anything.
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i don't think there is a need for that at the moment. i personally do not see it. and i do not see that that would play into this whole thing as a factor that would make things worse. i think nato's presence in kosovo is a positive thing and makes everyone feels much safer, the ethnic serb community and all other communities in kosovo. mohammed: we have run out of time so we have to leave the conversation there. thank you so much to all of our guests, una hajdari, aleksandar brezar, and milan antonijevic. and thank you for watching. for further discussion, go to you can also join the conversation on twitter, @ajinsidestory. for me on the whole team here, bye for now. ♪
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