European Western Balkans

US welcomes talks between Serbia and Kosovo to normalize ties

US State Department; Photo: Flickr / NCinDC

WASHINGTON – The United States welcomes leaders’ talks under the EU – facilitated Dialogue and strongly supports the process of normalization of their relations”, State Department Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. He assessed that Monday’s meeting was “a good step forward”, adding that difficult work remains.

“Agreement on the implementation annex is essential to normalization under the EU proposal. Progress towards establishing the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities remains critical to building Kosovo’s future as a sovereign, multiethnic and independent country integrated into Euro-Atlantic structures”, the statement said.

EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčak and US Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar agreed on the need for implementing the existing dialogue agreements. Lajčak wrote on Tuesday evening that, following the high-level meeting in Brussels on Monday, he and Escobar met to coordinate the “next steps in the run-up to the next meeting”.

“We agreed on the importance of agreeing on implementation modalities and the need to implement all existing dialogue agreements”, Lajčak said.

Following a joint meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti on Monday in Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the two leaders agreed to the EU Proposal – Agreement on the path to normalization between Kosovo and Serbia, but announced additional negotiations on the “implementation annex” that will guide the implementation phase of the Agreement.

The text of Agreement on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina has been published

Aleksandar Vučić said on Tuesday evening that Serbia is prepared to work on the implementation of many things contained in the European plan for Kosovo, adding that there be no discussion on mutual recognition or Kosovo’s membership in the EU.

Vučić said the implementation roadmap was not agreed on at the Monday meeting in Brussels, but that Serbia’s position is that it cannot include recognition of Kosovo’s independence and its membership in the UN.

He explained that the European proposal has de facto become a framework for a non-negotiable negotiation process but stressed that, while he is president, he will not sign or accept either formal or informal recognition of Kosovo or its membership in the UN.

The President emphasized that the formation of the Association of Serb Municipalities (ASM) has to be the first item in the implementation roadmap and that other topics can only be discussed after that. He expressed doubt that Pristina would form the ASM in the near future.

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