BRUSSELS / PRISTINA – The Kosovo government’s decision to lift the 100 percent tariffs on goods from Serbia is the first concrete step in caretaker Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s willingness to approach the EU-facilitated dialogue, said newly appointed EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák, reports Radio Free Europe.
“I expect Pristina and Belgrade to renew their engagement with the same determination. It is important for the well-being of the people on both sides. I am convinced that if there is genuine political will, we can achieve the results that we strive for the benefit of the people of Kosovo and Serbia,” Lajčák wrote in a letter to Kosovo caretaker Prime Minister Albin Kurti, stressing that the coronavirus will not prevent him from engaging with the issue.
Lajčák added that his appointment to the post means a return of the EU engagement in the dialogue, and that his aim is to “work tirelessly and dynamically to advance the dialogue”.
Lajčák emphasized in the letter that he was encouraged by the fact that, as Kurti wrote, Kosovo is committed to normalizing relations and the dialogue process and that it is ready to work towards a comprehensive and legally binding agreement.
In a letter to Lajčák, Kurti reaffirmed the commitment of the Kosovo caretaker government to the dialogue, stating that both parties must work intensively to reach a final agreement on all contentious and unresolved issues in the bilateral relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
“It is a prerequisite for the outcome of the dialogue to be successful,” Kurti added.
On April 3, Kurti congratulated Lajčák on his appointment and expressed his views on the future of dialogue.
“The parties must ensure that issues of mutual sovereignty, territorial integrity and internal affairs are not discussed in any case and situation. We do not need a dialogue involving maps on the table, nor a process that leads us to redefine borders. This is of essential importance,” added Kurti.
He also said that the EU and the US must facilitate the dialogue, and that the final agreement should be accompanied by “a package of political, economic and financial measures that would accelerate the convergence of living standards in both countries, as well as their integration into the European Union”.
Kurti announced that he would form and lead a negotiating team for the dialogue, which will include, besides him, Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi, Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani, as well as other members or representatives of political parties in the Kosovo Assembly.
He added that the EU has not lost its relevance and historical significance and that his government is committed to fully integrating Kosovo into the EU.