April 13. 2024. 6:35

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EU’s Lajcak to meet Vucic and Kurti separately ahead of Ohrid

The EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajčak, will separately visit Pristina and Belgrade in preparation for a high-level meeting in Ohrid on 18 March.

On 27 February, the leaders of both countries met in Brussels for a high-pressure round of talks on normalising relations.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbia’s President Aleksander Vučić verbally agreed to a EU-brokered proposal to normalise relations between the neighbours following the 1998-1999 war, Kosovo’s 2008 unilateral declaration of independence and over a decade of tensions.

The 11-point plan would see the two countries maintain good neighbourly relations, recognise each other’s official documents and national symbols, and would see Belgrade allow Kosovo to seek membership of the EU and United Nations.

EU stakeholders have hopes pinned on the agreement being signed at the meeting in Ohrid, North Macedonia, with the belief that “no further discussions” are needed. However, following the Brussels meeting, Vučić appeared to change his mind, signalling to the EU that more talks may be needed.

“We are ready to negotiate the implementation plan, but I will not sign this,” he told local media at the start of March.

Lajčak will first be in Pristina from Thursday to Friday (9-10 March), where he will talk to Kurti, Peter Stano, the lead spokesperson for external affairs of the EU, confirmed.

“Lajčak will speak about the possible modalities of implementation of the agreement on the road towards relationship normalisation, which both sides have accepted in Brussels and agreed that no further discussions on the text are required”, said Stano.

Lajčak will then continue his trip to Belgrade next week from 13-14 March, where he is set to meet Vučić.

Stano also said that the dialogue’s end goal is for both countries to sign a legally binding agreement on the normalisation of the Belgrade-Pristina relations, though the process is not yet in that phase.

(EURACTIV.rs | Milena Antonijević, Alice Taylor | EURACTIV.com)