The EU has called for urgent discussions with the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia

by Cristian Florescu

The European Union has requested the presence of the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo for urgent talks, aimed at resolving the ongoing violent clashes near their border, with deep concern over the potential reemergence of open conflict.

The EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, expressed his intention to hold “prompt meetings” with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Brussels on Thursday.

It wasn’t entirely clear if they would have a direct meeting with Borrell or if they would each have individual discussions with him. Borrell stated on Twitter before the talks that it is of utmost importance for the region and the EU to have immediate de-escalation and new elections in the north with the participation of Kosovo Serbs. The 27-nation bloc has been engaged in talks for a number of years with the aim of reconciling the two adversaries, albeit with limited success.

The conflict that occurred in 1998-99 resulted in the unfortunate loss of over 10,000 lives, with the majority being Kosovo Albanians. However, Belgrade declined to acknowledge Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008. Serbia has always viewed Kosovo as its spiritual and historical homeland, and it has been the site of significant battles throughout history. It still has the privilege of hosting some of the Serbian Orthodox Church’s most respected monasteries.

Tensions escalated once again last month when Kosovo police took control of local municipality buildings in northern Kosovo, where Serbs constitute a majority, in order to appoint ethnic Albanian mayors after a local election in which Serbs largely refused to participate.

In response to recent clashes between Kosovo Serbs, Kosovo police, and NATO-led peacekeepers, Serbia has placed its troops on the border on the highest level of alert.

In recent weeks, NATO has deployed additional forces.

Last week, there were continued tensions as three shock grenades were detonated near Kosovo police stations in the northern region of the country. Additionally, Kosovo Serbs peacefully demonstrated in front of municipality buildings.

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