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Kosovo – Serbia: further rapprochement in negotiations

Serbia and Kosovo drew closer over the weekend during hours-long negotiations on an agreement to normalize their relations. Both sides were unable to agree on signing an agreement during the talks mediated by the EU. After the marathon meeting in Ohrid, North Macedonia, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced that there was now an agreement between the two countries.

“We have an agreement,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Twitter last night. Kosovo and Serbia had “agreed on the implementation annex of the agreement on the way to normalize relations”. Both sides have “unreservedly committed themselves to complying with all articles of the agreement and to fulfill their respective obligations expeditiously and in good faith”.

Vucic: “Decent conversations”, Kurti: De facto recognition

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said at a press conference that agreement had not been reached on all points. “Despite the differences, we had decent talks,” said the President, who is struggling with domestic resistance. Before he left for Ohrid, thousands of nationalists protested in Belgrade against the agreement with Kosovo. Many Serbs see Kosovo as a breakaway province, even though it declared independence in 2008 with US and EU support. Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti concluded after the negotiations: “This is a de facto recognition between Kosovo and Serbia.”

“Important for Peace, Stability and Prosperity”

EU Council President Charles Michel called the deal on Twitter “important for the peace, stability and prosperity of the entire Western Balkans”. However, what is now “decisive” is its implementation.

Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Helga Maria Schmid, congratulated both sides on the “crucial agreement to normalize relations between Belgrade and Prishtina”. The OSCE looks forward to “soon progress in implementation”. Schmid assured both countries of the OSCE’s support “in the areas assigned to it”.

Kurti and Vucic had been negotiating for nearly 12 hours over a peace plan for the two states presented by the EU last month.

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