European Western Balkans
Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue

Lajčak: Time to bring the process to an end

Skender Hyseni, Miroslav Lajčak and Marko Đurić; Photo: Twitter / MiroslavLajcak

BRUSSELS – It will take some time to reach a comprehensive agreement on the normalization of relations, because it should regulate all open issues and have clear provisions on the manner of implementation and monitoring, said the EU Special Representative for Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčak, N1 reported.

Nonetheless, he still believes that a comprehensive agreement can be reached in months rather than years.

According to Lajčak, in the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, we talk about the normalization of relations between two sides.

Lajčak told that both parties have their own understanding what normalisation means to them and both parties have elements of the comprehensive agreement that are a clear priority to them.

Lajčak pointed out that both parties know that their respective European paths go through the Dialogue and that there is no alternative to the Dialogue.

“An EU-facilitated normalisation agreement will make this European perspective very tangible for both. Of course, the EU has clear accession criteria, i.e. on reforms to be met, but, the way I see it, constructive engagement in the Dialogue and a successful conclusion through a comprehensive agreement should accelerate their respective European paths”, he said.

Lajčak said that he discussed the elements of the comprehensive agreement with President Vučić and Prime Minister Hoti.

“Both agreed to them in principle, so there are no surprises in terms of substance, and I also explained our methodology”, Lajčak explained.

He reiterated that the EU is the biggest investor, donor and commercial partner of the region, but EU welcomes it if the commitments made at the White House mean that the U.S. will contribute financing existing projects.

“EU member states welcomed the joint statement of President Vučić and Prime Minister Hoti saying that they give the highest priority to EU integration and will continue the work on the EU-facilitated Dialogue, and that they are committed to redoubling their efforts to ensure further EU alignment in accordance with their respective obligations. But the EU member states are also watching future actions very carefully and expect both to act in line with their statement”, Lajčak said.

He said the there is absolutely no rivalry between the US and the EU regarding the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

On the question how would he comment on the view that a solution to relations between Belgrade and Priština shouldn’t be sought through Brussels-based dialogue, but rather at a Dayton-style international conference that would include the participation of other major world powers, Lajčak said Dayton is an important agreement, it put an end to the war.

“We are comparing apples with oranges here. We are speaking about the normalisation of relations, not ending a war”, Lajčak concluded.

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