European Western Balkans

Kurti-Vučić meeting in question over wartime missing people

First official Vučić-Kurti meeting in June 2021; Photo: Twitter

BRUSSELS – Disputes over wartime missing people are putting in danger the dialogue process, as well as a meeting between Kosovo’s Albin Kurti and Serbia’s Albin Kurti due by the end of September, N1 reported.

Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister, simultaneously Kosovo’s chief negotiator at the dialogue Besnik Bislimi, said on Wednesday that no significant and tangible progress has been achieved for a high-level meeting to take place.

His remarks came after a meeting with the Serbian delegation in Brussels, for the second day of talks mediated by the European Union.

He accused official Belgrade of sabotaging the dialogue process, adding that they discussed missing persons and agreed to open archives. “Serbia wants to see the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) archives but they do not exist. We do have state archives on the UCK,” he said.

His counterpart Petar Petkovic told reporters that progress had been made on the missing persons issue but accused Bislimi of “avoiding the issue of the Community of Serb Municipalities, the judiciary, energy and freedom of movement”.

The two leaders last met on July 19, but the meeting ended in a second standstill, yielding no agreements on contested issues.

On Wednesday, delegations from both Kosovo and Serbia met with Miroslav Lajcak, the Special Envoy of the European Union. The parties discussed only the issue of the more than 1,600 people still missing from the Kosovo War. Bislimi said the parties have expressed readiness to give access to each other’s state archives.

The parties also strongly agree that working groups on the issue should meet regularly and that the bodies found so far should be returned to their families.

Bislimi stressed that Kosovo refuses to accept Veljko Odalovic as head of the Serbian delegation on this issue, as Odalovic was Slobodan Milošević’s main henchman during the war in Kosovo.

The Kosovo and Serbian negotiators will meet again in late October.

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