Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti said that Serbian President Aleksander Vucic is reluctant to sign an agreement but expressed hope for the upcoming talks. The talks are EU-backed and will take place on 18 March in Ohrid, North Macedonia.
Although the EU and US said that they had reached a verbal agreement in Brussels at the end of February, Vucic soon said that he would not sign the deal in front of a domestic audience.
In a video message over the weekend, Kurti said that the only way to achieve normalization of relations is through mutual recognition. He emphasized the need for both sides to come to an agreement on this issue in order to move forward.
The diplomat said that the agreement between Kosovo and Serbia is an important step in recognising Kosovo as a separate country. He believed that full normalization of relations between the two countries requires recognition as the centrepiece of the agreement.
He added that at the trilateral meeting in Brussels on February 27, he had offered to sign the basic agreement on behalf of Kosovo, but that the president of Serbia had refused. He said that he hopes this does not mean that Vucic disagrees with the content of the agreement.
He noted that Kosovo had made great strides in both economic and democratic progress in the last two years and that it is leading the way in these areas in the entire Western Balkans.
According to Kurti, there are encouraging signs that the country will be admitted to the Council of Europe, a prestigious human rights organization based in Strasbourg.
The Council of Europe is overwhelmingly in favour of Kosovo’s membership application, and we hope to move forward quickly with a vote to make it official. This is extremely important to us because it would have such a positive impact on the lives of Kosovo’s citizens.
Over the weekend, President Vjosa Osmani of Kosovo met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias to discuss the dialogue with Serbia. While Greece does not recognise Kosovo’s sovereignty, the president’s office suggested after the meeting that Greece supports the agreement and ongoing stability in the region.
President Osmani has emphasised that the implementation plan of the agreement must be in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic, which will contribute to long-term peace and stability in the region. He has reiterated that the coordination of Kosovo with allies in this process will continue.