Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić are participating in a new round of talks in Ohrid on the implementation of the agreement on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. The first EU diplomat Josep Borrell is also at the meeting.
The talks are led by the EU’s senior foreign policy representative Josep Borrell and the EU’s special envoy for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina Miroslav Lajčak.
After their separate talks with the two leaders, joint talks are now taking place, followed by a press conference.
“I’m optimistic,” Kurti said before the meetings. He added that he came in good faith and with the hope of a final agreement on normalization.
US Envoy for the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar who is also attending the meeting in Ohrid, meanwhile warned that there may not be a final agreement yet, but that he expects “great progress”.
They reached an agreement in principle in February
Vučić and Kurti last met in Brussels at the end of February as part of the dialogue. At that time, they agreed with the content of the agreement on the path to the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, which was prepared by the EU and supported by the United States. Now they have to complete its implementation.
The agreement stipulates, among other things, the mutual recognition of documents and national symbols and that Serbia will not oppose Kosovo’s admission to international organizations.
It also stipulates that countries will be guided by the principles in the United Nations Charter. In doing so, it emphasizes the sovereign equality of states, respect for independence, autonomy and territorial integrity, and the right to self-determination. It also emphasizes the obligation to implement already concluded agreements within the framework of the dialogue.
Due to his support for the agreement, Vučić is facing pressure and protests from the right at home, because it means the actual recognition of Kosovo. It firmly denies this and insists on the establishment of the previously agreed community of Serbian municipalities in Kosovo, which Pristina opposes.
The Serbian constitution designates Kosovo as an integral part of Serbia, although this former Serbian autonomous province declared independence as early as 2008.