European Western Balkans

Osmani: Kosovo is close to solving crisis in the north

Vjosa Osmani at the EP Plenary session; Photo: EU

STRASBOURG – Institutions of Kosovo are close to a “forward solution” regarding the tensions in the north of the country. During the press conference in Strasbourg, after the her speech in the European Parliament, Osmani said that Kosovo is currently facing challenges, adding that Kosovo is on the right track to overcome them.

The European Union has taken measures against Kosovo for its disregard of its demands regarding the reduction of tensions in the north and has warned that further measures will be taken. However, during her stay in the European Parliament, Osmani said that possible measures were not mentioned to her.

“I am constantly in discussions, in contact with our partners, with the United States, with our partners in individual European Union member states, with EU institutions, and I would say that we are close to reaching a common solution for the way forward. There are some details that still need to be discussed, but I have full confidence that this challenge will be overcome because the way forward needs to be a shared path,” said Osmani, Euronews Albania reported.

She stated that that the international community’s demands and those of Kosovo are similar.

“As far as international demands are concerned, we are close. Many of issues that exist and our demands, such as the rule of law, are also their demands. So, it is a common demand”, Osmani told.

According to her, there are two legal options when it comes to a resolving situation in the north of Kosovo and issue of new elections.

 “There are two legal options. The first depends on the political will of the current leaders – the possibility of resignation, which I do not interfere with. The second, which I believe is much more democratic and ensures the participation of Serbs in the election process, is through gathering 20% of signatures of those listed as voters. As for other issues, there are sill discussions, but I believe we are close to finding a solution”, Osmani said.

In addition to the replacement of the newly elected mayors in the municipal buildings and the withdrawal of special units of the Kosovo Police from the north, another request from the Serbs is the establishment of the Association of Serbian Municipalities.

President Osmani stated that Kosovo is drafting a proposal for this Association because, according to her, it is an obligation of Pristina arising from the dialogue process.

“The institutions of the Republic of Kosovo have undertaken obligations in the dialogue process in Brussels, for the Kosovo institutions to prepare the draft. That draft is being prepared, work is being done, and it is that draft that will form the basis of discussions in Brussels regarding the Association, always taking into account three very important parameters”, Osmani said.

She underlined that the first parameter is Kosovo’s Constitution, the second is the Constitutional Court decision of 2015, and the third is the US position, published in writing by Chollet and Escobar. “These are the premises, the parameters. Our experts are working, and the drafts are being consolidated,” added Osmani.

Stano: EU may adopt other punitive measures against Kosovo

European Union Spokesperson Peter Stano said in Brussels that the bloc does not rule out the possibility of Kosovo facing additional measures if the Government fails to meet international demands.

“There is a series of measures, or proposals for a series of measures. Some of them have already come into force. Some are still being discussed, and member states will gradually implement them if there is no change in the approach of the authorities in Kosovo. The spectrum is relatively wide,” said Stano at a press conference, FoNet reported.

According to him, the measures taken against Kosovo are not sanctions or restrictive measures in the classical sense.

Stano stated that the measures are temporary and are a response to the “failure” of Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti to take concrete and immediate steps to reduce tensions in the northern part of Kosovo.

When asked why the EU is not taking measures against Serbia, which “does not implement the agreement with Kosovo, instigates problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and does not support sanctions against Russia”, Stano said that these issues should not be mixed with each other.

He added that Serbia has taken steps to reduce tensions by making partial withdrawals of the army from the areas near the territory of Kosovo.

Stano reiterated that despite efforts and bilateral discussion between high-level EU officials and Prime Minister Kurti, the letter has “not taken the necessary steps to reduce tensions”.

“The letter he sent to the High Representative Borrell, where he made five proposals, does not address the main problem and fails to take steps to reduce tensions”, Stano concluded.

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