June 21. 2024. 7:39

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Vucic says Municipalities Association key for Belgrade-Pristinia talks to continue


The Serbian Municipalities Association (SMA) must be established if the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue is to continue, President Aleksandar Vucic said ahead of the upcoming round of negotiations in Ohrid.

Vucic is to meet Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti for the next round of negotiations in Ohrid on 18 March.

“I will go, and I will say the same thing. In all of the conversations that I have had, SMA is the condition which needs to be fulfilled,” Vucic said.

“Just do not waste our time anymore. If you want to form it, you do. If you don’t, you don’t. I will be going to Ohrid because I do not want to allow the possibility of someone presenting us as insane people who do not want to talk. I do not understand the point of it. Why would we be invited to join a wedding party if there is no bride and no groom” he added.

Speaking in the predominantly Albanian community of Bujanovac, Vucic said that it is important for people to realise that “the time of hate between Serbs and Albanians is long gone”.

“We need to cooperate, Albanians need to be asked about more things, and we need to know if we can do more for them. It is not a question of politics but the life of ordinary Albanians; therefore, my door is always open”, he said.

However, Pristina has been adamant that such a structure is incompatible with the country’s constitution. The SMA would see a mono-ethnic structure, with executive powers set up in parallel to the government.

A 2015 Constitutional Court ruling states it is not possible, and the current government have said they cannot overrule the court. Both Kurti and Osmani have said a structure for Serbs can be created, but that it must not have executive powers and that recognition of Kosovo’s independence must be a part of the process.

The SMA issue is one of the main sticking points in the dialogue between the two countries, along with mutual recognition, which Serbia says will never happen.

Vucic will meet the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, on Monday and Tuesday in Belgrade, ahead of the meeting in Ohrid on Saturday (18 March). Lajcak spoke to Kurti in Pristina last week.

(EURACTIV.rs | Bojana Zimonjić Jelisavac)