Germany calls for Serbia and Kosovo to return to negotiating table

by Cristian Florescu

Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz has called for Serbia and Kosovo to return to the negotiating table, writes Euronews

Scholz, who met with Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s prime minister Albin Kurti on Wednesday, said peace and stability were a precondition for both joining the European Union.

Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared independence from Belgrade in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognise this and continues to treat Kosovo as if it were under its sovereignty despite a decade of EU-mediated talks between the two sides.

“I talked with Vucic about the importance of progress in the dialogue that should lead to a comprehensive agreement, and all agreed obligations must be respected, unilateral moves are not useful,” said Scholz after the meeting.

“I want to contribute to the countries of the Western Balkans becoming members of the EU, and the precondition for peace and stability in the region is the agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. 

“We want to progress and therefore gladly help to hold such meetings. I have the impression that there is a great desire to move forward now.”

Vucic replied with a promise to do his best to revive the stalled dialogue.

“That dialogue with Pristina is not easy for us, but we will do our best to reach a compromise, but those solutions cannot be just our wishes. The word compromise applies to us as well as to the other side,” Serbia’s president added.

Kurti acknowledged the void between the two sides.

“Recent Russian aggression in Ukraine added to our disagreements,” Kurti tweeted. He later told Kosovo’s public television RTK that “I can’t say there’s been progress. There is no distancing from Milosevic’s policies [from Serbia], there’s no distancing from Putin. There are only old positions and, I’d say, erratic behaviour.”

Vucic also told reporters he had promised Scholz that his country would not be “the source for any kind of problems” in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bosnia has been going through its worst political crisis since the end of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, with Bosnian Serbs challenging state institutions as part of their long-time bid to secede and eventually join neighbouring Serbia.

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