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 luglio 2020 


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The International Herald Tribune - February 7, 2008 Serbia's voters have wisely chosen future hopes over past resentments in handing a narrow but important re-election victory to President Boris Tadic. Tadic is a rare moderate in a country too often tempted by the siren songs of demagogues. He believes that Serbia needs to ally itself with the West, though he opposes the European Union-backed plan for conditional independence for the province of Kosovo. And he favors cooperation with the UN war crimes tribunal that is still seeking justice for the 1990s Balkan horrors. His defeated challenger urged closer ties with Moscow and threatened vigorous resistance to independence for Kosovo. Tadic's re-election makes it possible to avoid the worst dangers surrounding Kosovo's long-delayed independence. That will require patience and sensitivity on the part of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders - and their supporters in Washington and Brussels - and political courage from Tadic. Washington and Brussels also need to quickly find ways to strengthen Tadic's hand. Tadic's presidential majority was slim, and his parliamentary position is even more precarious, and depends on support from more nationalist elements. Rather than forcing an immediate crisis, the West should urge the Kosovars to wait a few more months before declaring independence. The European Union could make clear to all Serbs the rewards of moderation by quickly lowering some trade and travel barriers. Kosovo's independence is no longer negotiable. But even if Serbia does not formally recognize that independence, pragmatic arrangements will have to be made about border security and the passage of people and goods. By putting off its independence declaration until April or May, Kosovo can give Tadic a chance to discuss such arrangements. Even if he stubbornly refuses to do so, the gesture is worth making. Europe rightly insists that Serbia cannot join its Balkan neighbors on the path to formal membership until it turns over the leaders who orchestrated the mass killings in Bosnia. Brussels is prepared to sign an interim agreement with Serbia this week to maintain momentum until the war criminals are delivered to the tribunal. Serbia's voters and politicians have been slow to come to terms with the crimes and consequences of Slobodan Milosevic's murderous dictatorship. Tadic's re-election is a hopeful sign that many of them, if still not able to fully acknowledge that past, are prepared to embrace a more constructive, realistic future.

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