European Western Balkans

Borrell: Kosovo and Serbia must fulfill their obligations

Josep Borrell in Serbia; Photo: Tanjug / Rade Prelić

BRUSSELS – The EU’s High Representative, Josep Borrell stated that in the meetings he had Thursday with the Prime Minister of Kosovo and the President of Serbia, they agreed that snap elections should be held in the four northern municipalities of Kosovo.

He said they have “identified possible ways forward, but both parties must fulfill their obligations”.

“Today’s meeting did not focus much on what, but on how and when – how to calm the situation on the ground, how to organize new elections, and how to return to dialogue and fulfill all obligations of the dialogue, especially the latest agreement on the path of normalization,” said Borrell on Thursday.

Borrell added that in the meeting with Kurti, he reiterated the request for elected Albanian mayors in Serbian municipalities to work from alternative premises.

Regarding the arrests of some Serbs in Kosovo after the recent protests in the north, Borrell said that “there can be no impunity for the perpetrators of violence”.

However, he stressed that “the arbitrary arrest or unjust mistreatment of prisoners is entirely unacceptable”. Furthermore, Borrell stated that he had told Vučić that the three Kosovo police officers being held in pretrial detention in Serbia “must be released immediately and unconditionally”.

Three Kosovo border police officers were arrested by Serbian forces on June 14. Serbian authorities claim they were arrested deep within Serbian territory. Meanwhile, Kosovo authorities emphasize that the three Kosovo police officers were abducted within the territory of Kosovo.

Borrell added that he will be in close contact with both parties in the coming days and will report to the EU foreign ministers on Monday on “where we stand and where we need to go”.

Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti expressed readiness for the announcement of snap local elections in Kosovo, but “in accordance with the country’s legal framework”.

“We understand that there is a need for snap elections in the four municipalities in the north, with a process that is preceded by rule of law, an open and fair campaign, and free and democratic elections. I cannot say that the situation is secure due to bilateral meetings, and we have a stable peace, but based on the mediator’s optimism, I can say that the days ahead will be better than what we have left behind,” said Kurti, Euronews Albania reported.

He insisted that he was ready to meet with the Serbian President, but the latter refused.

“I came to meet with the Serbian side to discuss the steps forward, since this is a process involving two parties, it was not possible,” Kurti added, emphasizing that he is willing to engage in negotiations until a solution is found.

After the meeting with the dialogue mediators, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić said that he cannot confirm that “there is a roadmap” to resolve the crisis in northern Kosovo.

“We discussed the issue, the substance, which was unavoidable but, what we will see tomorrow on the ground, I don’t know… when we have trucks waiting,” he said, referring to the blockage of Serbian goods trucks at the border with Kosovo.

According to N1, Regarding the solution to the situation in Kosovo, Vučić said he fears that “everything has gone too far”.

“We will continue to talk on a daily basis because peace and stability are crucial, but I warned that Serbs are in a very difficult position and they do not want to endure Kurti’s terror in the way they have been forced to endure until now,” Vučić.

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