Oliver’s murder, the future of talks and implications for Macedonia’s security

By Selim Ibraimi- (MONTHLY DISPATCH #1)

Introduction

The State Prosecutor’s Office of Kosovo has nothing yet to clear the murder of Serbian politician Oliver Ivanovic around two weeks ago.

“Regarding the investigation of the assassination of Oliver Ivanovic, we are working intensively on the discovery of the perpetrators of this murder, whenever we get newer results, the public will be notified in time,” said for media the Prosecution spokesman, Ekrem Lutfiu.

Ivanovic’s spokesman, Ksenija Bozhovic, said that as ten days after the tire leader’s assassination, there is no information as to where the investigations went. According to her, since the day of the assassination, a special team has been created to investigate this case, but the only answer to date is that “investigations are continuing”.

In meanwhile Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said the Serbian government would provide all possible assistance in investigating Oliver Ivanovic’s assassination and that if Serbia is not allowed to participate in the investigation, it will investigate itself.

The Serbian delegation in Brussels has halted the talks due to the murder of the SDP leader in Northern Mitrovica Oliver Ivanovic.

Analysis

The return of assassinations with various purposes poses an additional risk to the fragile stability of the Balkan region.

First, the assassination against Oliver Ivanovic is a serious blow to the efforts of Kosovo and the international community for peace and security in the north of Kosovo’s territory.

Secondly, killings give a bad picture to democratic governments in the Balkans, especially in the face of the EU, which looks forward to reforms from the Balkan states.

Third, the Belgrade-Pristina talks can take on a new dynamic after Oliver Ivanovic assassination.

As far as Macedonia is concerned; the media and the head of state with a dose of restraint and without giving any political background has followed the murder of the Serbian leader.

In fact, the cold strategy of the Macedonian government is linked to Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s new policy of non-interference in the domestic affairs of neighboring states.

And this policy must be valued because by not mixing with the problems of friendly states, Macedonia can gain much in terms of the seriousness of the new government to build a democratic state and foreign policy, with new concept “zero problems with the neighbors “.

Oliver Ivanovic’s murder, the possible implication of the assassinations in Macedonia’s security, and whether all these developments will be repeated in other Balkan states, it’s very hard to predict. All plausible events from this stance could give us just a fallacy.

The risk of fragmented identities

Currently only in Bosnia there is a risk of increased political and ethnic extremism, which may lead to activities that would affect the fragile peace of the Bosnian Federation.

In Macedonia, nationalist groups of political parties may, during the negotiation process with Greece over the name issue, raise their voice against Zoran Zaev’s government and cause incidents across Macedonia’s roads and public places.

To this end, current tensions in northern Kosovo, Macedonia, should be take seriously in terms of the transfer of malign actors to the country.

Concerns have to be assessed by all security institutions because of the approach of direct talks with Greece.

On the other hand, the chances of interrupting the talks between Pristina and Belgrade are minimal.

But one fact should be taken into account that from now on Belgrade will find it easier without Oliver Ivanovic, in the policies of influence in the north of Kosovo.

The Kosovo government now will operate without Oliver and in that direction; other Serb leader will rise and expand their influence in northern Mitrovica.

There is constant dilemma and rise a big question for all involved actors: Can new Serbian leader in Northern Mitrovica operate independently from Belgrade?

The prospects for dialogue between the two countries will mainly depend on developments on the ground in the north and on the disposition of Belgrade to have a different approach to Kosovo.

If the Serbian government will receive new concessions from the EU and the U.S., then local policy in relation to the Serbs will change and will be more relaxed over the next five years.

If the Russian position will dominates the Serbian policy, then the prospect of calm will decrease, and inter-ethnic shocks will increase not only between Belgrade and Pristina, but also the Serb community itself in Kosovo.

Kosovo’s tense policy, do not signing the demarcation and last attempt to abolish the Special Court, implies that, relations between the two states will be difficult to normalize.

On the other hand, the duality of Serbia’s foreign policy between the West and Russia will make the talks between Pristina and Belgrade more complicated.

In the new state of affairs after Ivanovic’s assassination, Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and its government, is likely to be more practical in terms of resolving key and urgent problems.

Historically, the Balkans has been sparked by the assassinations, beginning with the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo (1914) by Gavrillo Princip, the assassination of Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Marseille, France (1934), and the continuation of the assassinations in modern times such as Zoran Djindjic’s murder and finally Oliver Ivanovic.

However after the visit in Kosovo, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic warned of the possibility of a referendum in which the citizens of Serbia would be declared for the Kosovo issue.

The practice of referendum in Serbia is not frequent but not unknown.

Sometime a preliminary atmosphere precedes the assassinations and this is related to some previous events that increase the political extremism in particular regions of the Balkans.

Furthmore, Macedonia should take immediate action on all open issues.

 ISSDMACEDONIA

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