May 24. 2024. 5:45

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Serbia remains firm on Association of Serb Municipalities after day 1 with Lacjak

Forming the Association of Serb Municipalities in Kosovo is a prerequisite for normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina, Vučić said after his first day of meetings with the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajčak in Belgrade on Monday.

Lajčak, who had already met with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti last week, met Vučić during his two-day trip to Belgrade to prepare for the upcoming high-level meeting in Ohrid on 18 March.

In Belgrade on Monday, Vučić and Lajčak discussed the EU proposal, the formation of the Association and other necessary steps to normalise relations between Serbia and Kosovo.

Serbia aims to achieve a compromise and sustainable solutions necessary for a normal life and a better future for all citizens, with clearly stated limitations, Vučić emphasised.

The president added that the association is a prerequisite for the normalisation of relations and the security and protection of ethnic Serb rights in Kosovo.

The association would see the creation of a mono-ethnic structure with exectuive powers, operating independently from the Kosovo government. Signed on during EU dialgoue in 2013, the Kosovo Constitutional Court ruled in 2015 that it was incompatible with the constitution.

Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has since refused to implement the association, but has laid down conditions under which it could be formed, including Belgrade recognising Pristina’s independence, it not having executive powers, and not being mono-ethnic.

President Vjosa Osmani also said an association could be formed but it must be similar in structure and power to an NGO.

The Serbian minority in Kosovo enjoy considerable rights under the constitution, including Serbian being an official language, guaranteed seats in parliament regardless of election results, representation at a municipal level, the right to nominate key police officials in Serb majority areas, Serbian language taught and studied in Serb-majority schools instead of Albanian, and at least one minister from the Serb minority in government.

Vučić answered questions from journalists about Lajčak’s visits to Pristina and Belgrade, the EU proposal for resolving the Kosovo issue, the Brussels Agreement, the SMA and his expectations from the meeting in Ohrid.

“I will talk to Lajčak today and tomorrow and on Wednesday and Thursday, before the meeting in Ohrid. Then I will say how I see everything and what we should do in the coming period,” Vučić added.

( | Milena Antonijević, Alice Taylor |