March 4. 2024. 5:50

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US hopeful over Kosovo-Serbia agreement, Vucic not convinced


US stakeholders in Kosovo have spoken in support of comments from Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Friday that he would accept the EU proposal, backed by France and Germany, for the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

The advisor of the US State Department Derek Chollet spoke with Kurti on the phone and said on Twitter he welcomes the signal but the proposal needs to be implemented as it will have “significant benefits for both countries.”

This was complemented by the US Ambassador in Pristina, Jeffry Hovenier, who said that the US will fully support the next steps of the European proposal for an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.

“We will fully support the next steps for the EU proposal. This progress is important for Kosovo as we support its full integration into Euro-Atlantic and international structures,” Hovenier wrote on Twitter.

Last week at the meeting of the heads of EU governments in Brussels, the EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said he wanted to bring both Kurti and Serbian President Aleksander Vucic around the same table.

“The proposal is on the table. I have invited the two leaders to come to Brussels soon, within a few weeks, so that we can finally push this proposal forward. We have gone from one crisis to another. Now is the time for de-escalation and constructive work,” said Borrell.

But Vucic said he was not interested in a meeting until the Association of Serbian Municipalities is created.

“I have never run away from talks about anything or any issue. Before that, the Association of Serbian Municipalities is needed. If they think to call me to Brussels and tell me that the association should be done at the same time as who knows what, or after something, then don’t invite me. I have been to Brussels 200 times, I don’t go for tourism,” said Vucic.

The exact setup of the association is yet to be confirmed, but it is likely to be a parallel structure with its own executive powers. Internationals, including US stakeholders, have said it will go ahead without the prime minister’s permission but also said it would be created in a way that does not violate the constitution.

All sides have expressed concerns about not creating a situation like with the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Furthermore, while the agreement related to the association was signed in 2013, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court later ruled that it was not constitutional.

Kurti said that “a mono-ethnic association in Kosovo with a multi-ethnic Constitution is not possible.”

While not ruling out the association in its entirety, he gave specified conditions under which it should be created.

(Alice Taylor | Exit.al)