Serbia and Kosovo are on the verge of a Historic Agreement, despite Moscow's attempts to derail it

World » SOUTHEAST EUROPE | February 25, 2023, Saturday // 11:18
Bulgaria: Serbia and Kosovo are on the verge of a Historic Agreement, despite Moscow's attempts to derail it @Pixabay

A new round of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina will take place in Brussels on Monday. The aim of the meeting is for the two sides to accept the European proposal for the normalization of relations, said the mediator in the dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak. He pointed out that there is no time to waste and that this year is crucial, as there are elections next year in both Europe and America.

The plan to be discussed on Monday is not a temporary solution, but will become binding on both sides, Lajcak said.

If Serbia and Kosovo accept the EU-US-backed plan to normalize relations on Monday, it will de facto mean mutual recognition, a senior EU official said on Friday, according to the Hina news agency.

After a months-long hiatus, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti will meet in Brussels on February 27 to discuss a plan to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

Serbia does not recognize the independence that its former southern province of Kosovo declared in 2008.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the senior EU official said he expected Vucic and Kurti to accept the plan and that Monday's meeting would deal with the implementation of the document rather than its content.

Many say that accepting the proposal means de facto recognition, and this is so, the diplomat said, quoted by BTA.

Accepting the proposal, he added, means agreeing to fulfill the commitment to create a Union of Serbian Municipalities in Northern Kosovo, which is Serbia's main demand for resuming negotiations with Kosovo.

After years of attempts as part of the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo to normalize relations, which achieved very modest progress, Germany and France launched an initiative, supported by the United States and the European Union, to make progress on this front as quickly as possible in the context of the war in Ukraine.

The meetings held in the past few years were mostly about resolving crises, the diplomat said, adding that the approach is now aimed at normalizing relations, making Monday's meeting different from previous ones.

There are visible attempts by Russia to dissuade Serbia from accepting the plan, but President Vucic has hinted that Russian pressure will not sway him, the diplomat added.

The German-French initiative led to a draft agreement, the essence of which is the mutual recognition of documents, stamps, passports, identity cards and national symbols.

Serbia is expected not to block Kosovo's membership in international organizations and both countries are expected to develop good neighborly relations based on equal rights. Kosovo is expected to provide an appropriate degree of self-government for its Serbian community and to formalize the special status of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The two countries are also expected to open diplomatic missions in the two capitals.

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Tags: Serbia, kosovo, EU, Russia
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