US senators tell Kosovo to get deal with Serbia done this year

US senators tell Kosovo to get deal with Serbia done this year
US senator Chris Murphy urged Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti to move forward with setting up the Association of Serbian Municipalities in northern Kosovo. / Chris Murphy via Twitter
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje May 23, 2023

Kosovo must implement the EU-brokered deal with Serbia this year and move on toward a normalisation of relations with Belgrade, US Democratic senator Chris Murphy said on May 22.

An 11-point normalisation agreement between the two sides was verbally accepted (though not signed) in Brussels earlier this year, followed by agreement on the implementation annex of the deal in Ohrid, North Macedonia in March. 

Following his meeting with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Murphy a member of the US Senate foreign relations committee, underscored the importance of expediting the implementation of the Kosovo-Serbia normalisation agreement.

“This is the year to get this done and to be able to move on toward a pathway of normalisation leading to mutual recognition,” he said, adding that both sides are facing “tough choices”. 

Recognising the challenging decisions required from both sides, Murphy stressed Serbia's responsibility to stop impeding Kosovo's entry into international organisations.

Additionally, he advocated for the provision of coordination opportunities in services for the Serb-majority municipalities, referring to establishment of Association of Serbian Municipalities in northern Kosovo.

"I pressed my good friends Prime Minister Kurti and President [Vjosa] Osmani to move forward quickly on establishing the Association of Serb Municipalities, a key element of normalization w Serbia," Murphy wrote on Twitter.

Murphy was accompanied by his colleague Gary Peters on his visit to Pristina, where he also met Osmani, speaker of the parliament Glauk Konjufca and a group of Kosovan Serb civil society representatives.

After his meeting with Osmani, Murphy emphasised the enduring and vital nature of the strong US-Kosovo alliance. He expressed gratitude for Kosovo's steadfast support and collaboration with the United States, particularly in critical global matters.

Murphy noted Kosovo's prompt response to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine and its alignment with the US and its partners in imposing sanctions on Russia

Addressing local media at a roundtable discussion, Murphy reaffirmed the unwavering support of the US for the success and sovereignty of Kosovo. He assured that the US would not entertain any concessions or actions that would compromise the country's future safety and security.