The Third Belgrade Security Forum, where global issues are brought to the Balkan strategic discussion, took place over the course of three days at the onset of autumn in Belgrade. This year’s relevant theme dealt with addressing the challenges that Balkan states face in responding to the economic crisis, energy dependence, and inter-state conflicts.
On the second day of the Forum, following the plenary session, the CDRSEE’s Nenad Sebek moderated a breakout session on comparative perspectives of international reconciliation models. The speakers included Dr. Slawomir Debski of the Center for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding, Nora Ahmetaj of the Centre for Research, Documentation and Publication in Kosovo, and Andi Bela, an Albanian-Canadian journalist writing frequently on regional inter-state relations.
As soon as the discussion commenced, it was evident what a challenging and thorny subject the issue of reconciliation is. Some of the questions addressed throughout this dialogue were the existence of a universal principal for reconciliation, the prerequisites needed prior to fostering reconciliation, and the role that CSOs can play in supplanting the state in its support for the reconciliation process. While the panelists were generally reserved and cautious to address these issues, going as far as to recoil from using the term reconciliation due to the politically driven context that it embodies, they did offer some thought provoking ideas for the engaged audience. Among the sternest statements that the panelists offered was that there is an absolute need for institutions to be created to facilitate the process of reconciliation and that leaders and key figures in times of conflict need to be engaged in the process. These statements triggered a discussion that did not lack substantial differences of opinion. The discussion confirmed the difficulties in addressing the reconciliation process in post conflict societies, but also validated the notion that progress and development will endure considerable obstacles all the while issues of reconciliation, dealing with the past, and an establishment of truth are not adequately addressed and embarked upon.