March 2. 2024. 2:00

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Kosovo PM receives support for ongoing dialogue with Serbia during Tirana visit


The ongoing dialogue with Serbia was high on the agenda as Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti met with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, Parliament Speaker Lindita Nikolla, President Bajram Begaj, and opposition leaders in Tirana over the weekend.

In Brussels in February and Ohrid, North Macedonia, earlier in March, an agreement to normalise relations and an annexe were verbally agreed on by Kosovo and Serbia, the EU announced.

February’s 11-point plan said both parties must develop normal, good-neighbourly relations and respect each other’s independence and territorial integrity. The annexe provides further details on provisions as well as foreseeing the creation of a Joint Monitoring Committee that would be chaired by the EU.

Following the meeting between Rama and Kurti, the former wrote on social media that he had encouraged Kurti to implement some of the sticking points between Belgrade and Pristina.

“I encouraged the prime minister to take further steps, either for the guarantee of Serbian municipalities in the framework of the association that guarantees the self-management of the Serbian community or for the operation with the necessary guarantees of the Serbian Church in its places of worship in Kosovo, ensuring that in this, not easy process, he has my full support,” Rama wrote.

The association was agreed on in 2013, but in 2015, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled it was unconstitutional. It remains a contentious issue as Belgrade continues to insist on it while Pristina argues it cannot set up a mono-ethnic structure with executive powers.

Nikolla congratulated Kurti for his patience, calmness and courageous stance amid the ongoing EU-facilitated dialogue, and for his government’s Euro-Atlantic perspective.

“We support the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia as the best and only way to mutual recognition between the two countries, we think the European Plan is a good starting point for the dialogue, and we support the commitment of the EU and the USA in the implementation of the annexe of this Plan,” a statement from Nikolla reads.

“We support the Euro-Atlantic perspective of Kosovo and continue to lobby for new international recognitions, membership in the Council of Europe, the UN and international organisations,” the statement continues.

Begaj, who became president in 2022, said he appreciated the results of the Ohrid meeting as it was another guarantee for peace, stability, and the future of the region. He also welcomed the leadership and courage demonstrated by Kurti.

The president’s office released a statement which said Begaj hopes “the appropriate mechanisms will be found so the public agreement of Ohrid turns into a binding and applicable agreement for the parties internationally.

Kurti also met with the leader of the opposition Freedom Party and former president Ilir Meta who, after the meeting, praised Kurti for Kosovo’s progress over the last few years.

“I appreciate Kosovo’s extraordinary progress in strengthening the rule of law, accountability, free and fair elections, the fight against corruption, and economic and social development,” said Meta.

Meta also said he supports the ongoing dialogue process, adding it should lead to mutual recognition, but must have the backing and support of all political forces in Kosovo.

(Alice Taylor | Exit.al)