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Kosovo, Serbia endorse Western-backed deal to normalise ties: EU

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have endorsed the European Union’s proposal on normalising relations between the two countries, the bloc’s top diplomat announced.

Hosted by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti held talks in Brussels on Monday within the framework of the EU-led Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.

“President Vucic and Prime Minister Kurti have agreed that no further discussions are needed for the European Union’s proposal titled ‘Agreement on the path to normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia,’” Borrell said at a news conference after the negotiations.

He said technical discussions will continue on the agreement’s implementation and the leaders will meet again in March.

“The agreement will put the relationship between Kosovo and Serbia on a new and sustainable basis,” he added.

More conversations

Borrell stressed that the deal serves the interests of the citizens of Kosovo and Serbia by allowing them, for example, to move freely with their own passports and study and work in the other state.

He also expressed hope that the normalisation of relationships will “bring new opportunities to increase financial assistance, business cooperation and new investments” as well as increase trade by cutting red tape.

Vucic told the media that Serbia and Kosovo are continuing the talks but the EU expects something by March 24.

“We had the usual difficult meeting. We will continue in the coming period. I believe that there will be many more conversations in the next period. As I understand it, we should see each other on the territory of North Macedonia on March 18, when the EU high representative, Josep Borrell, will visit the region,” said Vucic.

Until then, he added, they should talk with the EU’s special representative for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, about matters related to implementation.

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Mutually agreeable solution

According to Vucic, the priority in the implementation of previously reached agreements is the formation the Community of Serbian Municipalities.

“Mr. Kurti came to sign something. It was not discussed. I am waiting to see the implementation plan, which primarily concerns the previously signed agreements,” he added.

Launched in 2011, the EU-led Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue aims to find a mutually agreeable solution for the disputes in the framework of a legally binding agreement.

Following last summer’s border tensions, Lajcak in September presented the bloc’s latest proposal on normalising relations.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, with most UN member states, including the US, UK, France, Germany and Türkiye, recognising it as a separate autonomous country from its neighbour. 

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