EU: Serbia-Kosovo dialogue deadlocked, new discussions “in coming days”

EU: Serbia-Kosovo dialogue deadlocked, new discussions “in coming days”

Kosovar and Serbian leaders did not reach an agreement Thursday (August 18) in Brussels under the aegis of the EU in order to ease tensions between the two countries, but ” discussions will resume in the coming days “, announced the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell.

« There’s still time until September 1 “, scheduled date of entry into force of new administrative and border rules imposed by Pristina and denounced by Belgrade, he added, at the end of the meeting convened after a new episode of violence in northern Kosovo at the end of July. He did not specify the format of the upcoming talks.

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, meeting within the framework of the “Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue” piloted since 2011 by the European Commission, have ” agreed that the process should continue […]. I do not give up “said Mr. Borrell, reporting on the discussions to the press.

Aleksandar Vucic admitted, in a message on Instagram, that “ the day had been complicated » : « I cannot say that it was successful, but I will not comment further, as I remain hopeful that, by some miracle, we can arrive at a compromise solution “, he added. He is due to meet representatives of Kosovo Serbs in Belgrade on Sunday (August 21).

NATO had warned on Wednesday (August 17), after a meeting with the two leaders, that its peacekeeping force in Kosovo (Kfor) was ” ready to intervene if stability is threatened and to reinforce its staff if necessary.

As the Russian offensive in Ukraine continues, the international community does not want to see renewed tensions. Both parties will be fully responsible for any escalation in the field », warned Josep Borrell.

Before the meeting, he had judged that ” it was time to move towards full normalization of relations between the two countries, a key condition for their accession to the EU.

Invoking a principle of reciprocity Pristina plans to impose temporary residence permits on people entering Kosovo with Serbian identity cards, and requires Kosovo Serbs to replace Serbian license plates on their vehicles with Republic plates of Kosovo.

These new measures led to a new episode of violence at the end of July in northern Kosovo, where the Serbian minority considers them vexatious. Under pressure from the United States, Pristina had postponed their implementation until September 1.

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Wednesday in Brussels blamed the tensions on ” illegal Serbian structures turned into criminal gangs, erecting barricades in the north of the country.

Belgrade has never recognized the independence proclaimed by Kosovo in 2008, a decade after a bloody war that left 13,000 dead, mostly Albanian Kosovars.

Since then, the region has been the scene of episodic frictions. The approximately 120,000 Kosovo Serbs, a third of whom live in the north of the territory, do not recognize the authority of Pristina, remaining loyal to Belgrade.

Serbia and Kosovo both aspire to join the EU: Belgrade has had official candidate status since 2012, which has allowed it to start negotiations, while Kosovo is only potential candidate “. However, five EU countries still refuse to recognize the independence of the former Serbian province.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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