European Western Balkans

Vučić and Zelenskyy meet at the Athens summit, de-escalation in Kosovo discussed with von der Leyen

Aleksandar Vučić and Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Athens; Photo: Twitter / @ZelenskyyUa

ATHENS – The summit of leaders of the EU and candidate countries in Athens on Monday and Tuesday, organized by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, featured, among other, a bilateral meeting between President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as discussion on the de-escalation in the north of Kosovo.

Vučić and Zelenskyy previously met briefly in June, at the sidelines of the European Political Community Summit in Moldova. Serbia has supported Ukrainian territorial integrity, including in the United Nations General Assembly, but has not imposed any sanctions on Russia.

Following today’s meeting in Athens, Vučić described the conversation as “honest and friendly”. He stated that Serbia continues to support Ukrainian territorial integrity and that he believes that “there will not be a change in Ukrainian position on the territorial integrity of Serbia”, referring to the latter’s non-recognition of Kosovo.

Vučić, however, also said that he did not agree with the inclusion of the call for “more effective implementation of the sanctions against Russia” in the joint Declaration, Radio-Television of Serbia reported.

On his Twitter account, President Zelenskyy said that he had an “honest, and fruitful meeting” with Vučić.

“Good conversation on respect for the UN Charter and the inviolability of borders. On our nations’ shared future in the common European home. On developing our relations, that is in our mutual interest”, Zelenskyy said.

On Monday evening, Vučić and Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti met separately with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who on both occasion emphasised the need for constructive engagement to de-escalate the situation in the North of Kosovo.

Writing on Twitter after the meeting, Kurti said that he emphasized “the importance of full and unconditional implementation of the Basic Agreement” during the meeting with von der Leyen. Vučić said that he expects the visit of the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčak soon.

Von der Leyen also met with the Prime Minister of North Macedonia Dimitar Kovachevski.

“At the meeting, opinions were exchanged about the latest developments in the context of the start of the process of constitutional amendments, for which the country has the support of the EU in order to continue the process of European integration of North Macedonia”, Government of North Macedonia released in a statement.

Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission exchanged opinions on the course of the screening process and the expected opening of the first clusters of the negotiations.

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