Vucic and Kurti meet EU leaders amid push to normalise relations

Vucic and Kurti meet EU leaders amid push to normalise relations
EU Council President Charles Michel meets President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic. Michel met separately with Kosovo's Prime Minister Albin Kurti. / European Union
By Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje October 27, 2023

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo held separate meetings with the heads of Germany, France and Italy in Brussels on October 26, engaging in discussions aimed at normalising relations between the two countries.

The meetings that took place on the margins of the EU summit are part of the dialogue process. They followed a series of violent incidents in recent months which culminated with an incident on September 24 in Banjska, northern Kosovo, resulting in the deaths of one Kosovan police officer and three Serbian assailants.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti held separate meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Vucic and Kurti also met the EU's High Representative Josep Borrell, European Council President Charles Michel and EU special envoy for the dialogue Miroslav Lajcak. The discussions represent a significant push towards overcoming the decades-long discord between Belgrade and Pristina.

“The message of the EU is that we expect both sides, Serbia and Kosovo, to immediately return to the obligations arising from the dialogue, as well as to work immediately to reduce tensions," EU spokesperson for foreign policy, Peter Stano, said.

Borrell underlined the imperative nature of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue as the primary avenue for normalising relations.

"There is no other solution. The European path of Kosovo and Serbia goes through this Dialogue in order to normalise their relations. There are other crises; we do not have to forget other crises," Borrell stated.

As Serbian broadcaster RTS reported, Vucic reiterated Serbia's stance on the implementation of all previous agreements, but emphasised the country's opposition to UN membership of Kosovo or its recognition by Belgrade.

He commended the October 21 proposal as a solid foundation for future discussions and affirmed that the Serbian side stands fully prepared for the establishment of the Association of Serbian Communities in northern Kosovo in alignment with the proposals it has received.

The sole point of contention for Belgrade, Vucic said, revolves around Kosovo's potential membership in the UN and its proclaimed independence, including discussions on its territorial boundaries.

Vucic said that Serbia supports the actions of Nato-led mission in Kosovo, KFOR, and expressed expectations for an augmentation of their personnel.

Kurti emphasised the paramount importance of Kosovo's security in the aftermath of the September 24 ‘terrorist’ attacks.

He expressed his willingness to jointly sign the EU/US proposal of October 21, alongside the Basic Agreement. However, he noted that Serbia refused to do so.

“Despite my offer, Serbia refused to sign both the agreement & Oct 21 draft. To the contrary, it demanded a side letter that would nullify three principles of the Basic Agreement, its Annex and the October 21 proposal. Acceptance means signing, and signing guarantees acceptance & implementation,” Kurti wrote on X network.


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