The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have agreed in principle to implement a European Union plan to normalize their relations after decades of tension. EU foreign chief Josep Borrell made this statement on Saturday evening after almost twelve hours of negotiations between the two parties, AP reports.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti “have agreed on how this should be done,” Borrell said at a press conference following talks in North Macedonia’s resort town of Ohrid – though he warned there were still points to be made. be disagreement.
The two leaders agreed last month to the text of an 11-point EU plan to normalize ties between the two neighboring countries after their 1998-1999 war. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but the country does not recognize the sovereignty of its former province. This regularly leads to tensions.
Path to the EU
“The aim today was to agree on how to implement the agreement accepted at the previous summit,” Borrell said. Although he entered the negotiations with “a more ambitious text” than was finally agreed, “it will become an integral part of their path to the European Union,” he said.
Read also: Tensions in Kosovo: the words war and Balkan fall into one ominous sentence again
Both countries hope to join the EU. The condition for this is that they improve their relationships. The conflict between Serbia and Kosovo has also been made more urgent by the war in Ukraine amid fears that Russia could stir up instability in the Balkans, where Moscow has traditionally held influence.
The EU plan, drawn up by France and Germany with US support, calls on both countries to maintain good relations and to recognize each other’s documents and national symbols. If implemented, it would stop Serbia from blocking Kosovo’s attempts to join the United Nations and other international organizations. The plan does not call for explicit mutual recognition, but for acceptance of the current borders.
Although Vucic agreed in principle last month, he later appeared to backtrack on some key points following pressure from far-right groups in Serbia. He has previously said that he will never recognize Kosovo and said on Thursday that he would not sign anything, despite Kurti’s insistence. “It is now up to the EU to make it internationally binding,” Kurti said.
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