Re: “‘In this fight we shouldn’t be left alone’: Kosovo urges Canada to combat influence of Russia, China in Western Balkans,” (The Hill Times, Dec. 1, p. 6). For many decades, even a century, Serbia and Canada have been close allies. That friendship, understanding, and co-operation has witnessed some challenges and maybe disappointments, but always survived—due to strong commitment of both sides to constantly work on it. Relations are meant to be worked on. Serbia is more than ready. The main disagreement lies in the “Kosovo issue”—Canada was among the first ones to recognize the independence of the southern Serbian province and Serbia is, naturally, against it and not satisfied with that decision. Still, we continue to work together bilaterally and multilaterally, because there is no another way, but to co-operate to overcome differences. The question is how to do that. The recent visit of Vjosa Osmani from Pristina to Canada was significantly marked by messages of “common values and hope” and by a request for Canadian support in putting pressure on Serbia to recognize “this irreversible reality.” Messages from the meetings with high officials in Ottawa didn’t seem favourable to the future of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina that has been created almost a decade ago. And, please don’t forget, with the facilitating role of the European Union—where the Western Balkans is aspiring to become a part of one day. If we all, or almost all, believe in the dialogue as the instrument for bringing opposite positions closer, we should let it. But the dialogue is not supposed to be brought to life to “endorse” the situation on the ground—quite opposite: to revise it. Why? Because, we can all argue what is wrong or right, but the secession (or any unilateral decision) is not something that most of us, including both Serbia and Canada, are advocating for. Ottawa promised to continue supporting Pristina’s aspirations to become a member of international organizations. For that, one should be a state first and then one should implement and respect the values of the organization before joining in. I’m pretty much sure that neither of these requirements have been met. And we have witnessed that, so far, almost every organization, including those technical ones, is politicized and its work is aggravated. I do believe that’s not what we are striving for. Pristina’s bid to join NATO was on the table during discussions in Ottawa. I do hope that was for media only as it’s not serious. The “victim” wants to join the “rescuers” while Serbia doesn’t want to and that makes the region unstable? Is that really a comparison? Serbia has its own unfortunate history with this military organization (we still remember NATO bombing), so no “malicious influence” is needed to decide not to join. I believe it is more than clear to everybody. But it’s a nice music to ears here in Canada introducing “usual suspects” in this context. At the end, just for the record, in the “extension of the values that Canada represents” as Osmani said, half of my family that used to live in Peć/Peja had to flee—for good. Now, everything is fine. Dejan Ralevic Serbian Ambassador to Canada Ottawa, Ont.