March 4. 2024. 7:26

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Agreements regarding Kosovo must be implemented, says US Ambassador to Serbia


Agreements regarding Kosovo, including on the Community of Serb Majority Municipalities, must be implemented, said US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said on Wednesday, adding that the US wants to be a part of the implementation process.

The US wants to be a part of the process and guarantees implementation of the agreement’s outcome, said Hill, adding that it is clear that people in Serbia are worried about who will guarantee the agreements.

“We should return to the fundamental question, which is the future of the Serbian community in Kosovo because they must know what their future is. The fundamental question is to deal with what originates from the original Brussels agreement. That is CMS. It absolutely must be implemented, if we expect anyone to have confidence in future agreements,” said Hill on K1 television.

“I am not saying that the French-German proposal is not at variance with the Brussels agreement, they are connected. The concept that the previous agreement must be implemented is a part of that proposal,” the American ambassador added.

“Also, we have the Washington agreement that had been committed to the economy to ensure that Belgrade and Pristina could solve some problems and directly affect the lives of people,” he said.

Hill believes that the deadline for the formation of the CSM and the implementation of the French-German agreement is realistic and that the CSM could be formed by the summer, adding that the French-German proposal could be implemented by the end of the year.

“I think the proposal is positive and can be implemented,” said Hill, adding that the US absolutely supported the French-German proposal and everything the EU had done.

The association was agreed and signed upon in 2013 under the previous Pristina government, but it has not been implemented along with many other agreements, including that Serbia would not impede Kosovo’s hopes of international integration and recognition.

Minorities 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.

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.

Stakeholders have drawn parallels between the demands for a Serb minority in Kosovo and well-documented reports of the removal of ethnic Albanians from the civil registry in certain parts of Serbia, including the Presevo Valley.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has refused to implement the CSM as it violates a constitutional court ruling, and there are fears it would result in a situation like in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Republika Srpska.

In January, he laid down conditions under which the association could be accepted. These include it being in line with the constitution and any laws in force and not being mono-ethnic. He stressed it should serve as a horizontal cooperation of municipalities, as per the constitution and should also strengthen the principle of reciprocity between Serbia and Kosovo.

Additionally, before the association is established, any illegal activity in the north, including criminal organisations, must be disbanded and illegal weapons surrendered. The agreement must also be part of the final agreement and would only be implemented after mutual recognition is confirmed.

Lastly, it would require that Serbia withdraws the letters he said they sent to the five EU states that do not recognise Kosovo, asking them to not accept its EU membership application.

(EURACTIV.rs | Tamara Milošević Grbić, Alice Taylor | EURACTIV.com)