May 19. 2024. 2:19

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Serbia still firmly opposes Kosovo recognition, UN accession

Serbia is ready to do “certain things in our European way” but will maintain its red lines on Kosovo recognition and UN accession, President Aleksandar Vučić said on live TV a day after another round of talks on the normalisation of Belgrade-Pristina relations.

Vučić met with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and EU representatives on Saturday in Ohrid, North Macedonia to discuss the annexe of a plan to normalise relations between Serbia and Kosovo. While nothing was signed, the EU announced that both sides had agreed.

But similar to after a meeting in Brussels in February, Vučić backtracked in front of a domestic audience.

“We’ve had a round of dialogue that European and world powers have made extremely prominent in the media, and important. The conversation is never easy or simple when there are sides that are, unfortunately, still against each other and have opposing interests”, Vučić said.

“It will become more difficult in the next six months or year. The good thing is that we no longer rely only on Pristina’s goodwill, but our readiness to do certain things in our European way”, he said, explaining why “nothing was signed” in Ohrid.

“We didn’t sign the so-called Agreement, nor the Annex, first of all, because Serbia is a recognised state, and the so-called Republic of Kosovo, to me, is not. As president, I choose my words carefully because even my statements can be binding for the country. Our red lines are recognition and Kosovo’s ascension to the UN. Serbia is ready to work on the implementation up to its red lines.”

He added that conditions proposed by Kurti for establishing the contentious Association of Serb Municipalities, were not accepted. He maintained that the association was

“Kurti stated his three pillars, which were not accepted, for the Serbian Municipalities Association. And I said, not a problem, I can just leave and say thank you, goodbye, because that means that nothing we had worked on in 2013 and 2015 makes any sense.”

He then told the media that he would never sign the agreement.

“I didn’t want to sign the agreement on the implementing annexe last night nor the EU-backed agreement [in Brussels last month], I don’t want to sign any international legally binding documents with Kosovo because Serbia does not recognise its independence,” he said.

“I have excruciating pain in my right hand, I can only sign with my right hand, and that pain is expected to continue for the next four years,” Serbia’s Vucic said on live TV.

( | Bojana Zimonjić Jelisavac, Alice Taylor |