Adviser on Kosova-Serbia dialogue, David Phillips to resign over the partition deal

Statement of Principle on the Partition of Kosova

I have worked for Kosova’s independence over thirty years as a US official, on Capitol Hill, at think-tanks such as the Council on Foreign Relations and as a scholar at Columbia University. The Government of Kosova recently asked me to serve as an adviser on the Kosova-Serbia dialogue. I agreed because I believe that an agreement could be reached by devolving power, enhancing the rule of law, and increasing pressure from the international community on Serbia to recognize Kosova as an independent and sovereign state within its current frontiers.

Some in the Kosova institutions are pursuing a different course. They endorse adjusting borders, conceding territory to Serbia. I believe that partition or adjusting borders is a bad deal, which will not normalize relations with Serbia or put Kosova in a position to gain greater global recognition. The proponents of border adjustment believe that EU non-recognizers would recognize a reconfigured Kosova and that the US can convince Russia and China to lift their objection to Kosova’s membership in the UN. There is no known basis for this conclusion.

Moreover, border adjustment represents an historic betrayal of the Kosovar people. It undermines the democratic principles of multiculturalism and political pluralism for which many have died in the western Balkans. It is potentially dangerous, destabilizing, and could lead to renewed violence and fragmentation.

I cannot participate in the proposed partition plan, which is strategically flawed and fundamentally contradicts my values. As a matter of principle, I have informed members of the Kosova government of my intention to resign, rather than be party to partition.

David L. Phillips
Prishtina, Kosova
11 October 2018