European Western Balkans

Borrell: Kosovo and Serbia should focus on deescalation of the situation

Vučić-Kurti meeting in Brussels, 18 August 2022; Photo: FoNet

BRUSSELS — Belgrade and Pristina should return to the dialogue in line with the European plan and all parties should focus on deescalation of the situation in Kosovo, as EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell stated ahead of the European Council summit on 15 December. 

“It is absolutely important that these kinds of problems stop, that the barricades are removed,  the situation calms down and that we return to talking about the proposal that we put on the table in order to find a permanent solution to the tensions between Pristina and Belgrade,” Borrell said.

According to FoNet, he called for deescalation and dialogue, as it is “the only way for the European perspective of Kosovo and Serbia.” He added that he will inform the EU27 leaders about the problems in the north of Kosovo and the conclusions of the meetings EU Special Representative for Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák had with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti two days before the summit in Belgrade and Pristina. 

On 13 December, Lajčák met with Kurti in Pristina together with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar. Following the meeting, he stated that “we urgently need a political solution to help restoring freedom of movement for all.”

Lajčák wrote on Twitter after meeting with Vučić the next day that the Serbian president understands the seriousness of the situation and that they had “an open and honest discussion on a political solution that would lower tensions and allow for dismantling of barricades.” 

In an interview for Radio Free Europe, Escobar said that the US “categorically rejects” the idea of Serbian army returning to Kosovo and that “Kosovo has very strong security guarantees from the US.” He added that he expects the barricades to be removed by those who set them up. 

Serbs in the north of Kosovo erected the barricades on the roads leading to administrative crossings with Serbia, Jarinje and Brnjak, on 10 December, to protest the arrest of former policeman Dejan Pantić, who was accused by Pristina of attacking the police and members of the local election commission. 

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