European Western Balkans

Vučić-Kurti meeting in Brussels: Without any deal on ASM, talks will continue

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

BRUSSELS – During the first high-level meeting after the Ohrid agreement, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti adopted a Declaration on Missing Persons, but the two leaders once again failed to reach any deal on the Association of Serb Municipalities. Serbian President said after the meeting that “talks hit a wall”, while Kurti underlined once again that the presented draft statute of ASM is contrary to Kosovo’s constitution.

EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josep Borrell assessed that the adoption of the Declaration on Missing Persons and the fact that the first draft statute of the ASM was presented were “good news”, adding that the situation on the ground could undermine the implementation of the recently reached agreements.

“I didn’t expect anything else. I was sure that the parties had different views on the nature of the Association Community of [Serb-majority] municipalities. But, even if they disagreed, they agreed to start negotiations on the statute of this Association/Community in the near future, taking this first draft as a starting point for the discussions”, Borrell stressed.

He said that recently held extraordinary local elections in four northern Kosovo municipalities with a “very low turnout do not offer a long-term political solution”.

“On the contrary, they have the potential to lead to escalation and to undermine the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement. And this is not what we want to happen. I hope nobody wants it to happen. But there is a big risk, and therefore I have urged both parties to find a solution that enables Kosovo Serbs to swiftly return to the institutions they left in November last year”, Borrell said.

Vučić: Talks hit a wall

Serbian President told reporters that Belgrade accepted the EU draft statute of the ASM, but that Pristina rejected it. Speaking after the meeting with Kurti, he said that he does not see a solution at present and that he is not optimistic.

“I’m worried, and it is clear that Pristina does not want to fulfill its commitments from ten years ago. I knew and understood that. But today, we have hit a wall”, Vučić said.

He added that the draft statute of the ASM does not include a single point that hadn’t been previously discussed and signed.

“They claim that it is contrary to Kosovo’s constitution, that they do not want a Republika Srpska…Even though all the points of the draft clearly call on previously agreed articles from 2013 and 2015… The four of us did not see a solution tonight and we left in the hope of finding some agreement in the coming days. I warned from the start and I knew which way things were heading”, he said.

According to him, during the meeting, they discussed the current situation in Kosovo following the local elections in the north, which the Kosovo Serbs boycotted. He said that Pristina also rejected the EU proposal for returning Serbs to Kosovo institutions.

Kurti: ASM fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution

After the meeting with Vučić, Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti said that he presented his own framework for the association, adding it adheres to the propel values and principles and should be treated seriously by mediators.

Kurti criticized the draft presented by the EU consisting that 67 articles, calling it “fundamentally incompatible with the Constitution, legality, democracy, European values, human and minority rights according to European standards”.

Kurti said that during the meeting he also submitted a document on how from February 27, when the basic agreement between Kosovo and Serbia was reached, Serbia violated it.

“In this document it is seen, factually and documented, that out of 11 articles of the basic agreement, eight of them have been violated by Serbia. In March and April alone, eight articles were violated. I also submitted a document with three statements of the president of Serbia where he says that he did not agree with the basic agreement to implement it in its entirety”, Kurti said, RTK reported.

He has added further that he has requested guarantees from the EU’s high representative for foreign policy, Josep Borrell, and from the emissary for dialogue, Miroslav Lajčak if there is an agreement. Kurti said that he received this guarantee. Kurti has also told the media that he has also submitted a document about the member of the Management Team drafting the draft statute for the Association, Danijela Vujičić.

“I said that she was sworn in the Parliament of Serbia and has a conflict of interest. I have listed some facts about the coordinator. I told them in a reasoned and logical manner that the draft statute is fundamentally incompatible with constitutionality, and therefore it is better to start discussions based on a draft vision that I proposed,” he concluded.


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