The leaders of Kosovo and Serbia have agreed on “a number of points” on a plan to normalize their mutual relationship. Led by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, they negotiated for 12 hours in North Macedonia.
The foreign chief previously spoke with both Service President Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti before the three of them sat around the table. “Despite the differences of opinion, it was a decent conversation,” Borrell said.
In a post-negotiation press conference, Borrell said Vucic and Kurti have reached an agreement on how that normalization should happen. Kosovo is said to have promised a form of autonomy for ethnic Serbs in Kosovo.
Years of conflict
Serbia and Kosovo have been at loggerheads for decades. In the years 1998 and 1999, this led to a guerrilla war in which the Albanian majority in Kosovo wanted to fight for secession from Serbia. In 2008, the Albanians in Kosovo declared independence, but Serbia continues to see it as its own province. The Netherlands, among others, does recognize Kosovo as a country.
Since then there have been countless conflicts, such as riots, roadblocks, border closures, threats of war.
Both countries hope to become a member of the EU one day, but then they must first restore their mutual ties. Last month, the leaders already agreed on an 11-point plan to smooth out the folds. In fact, Vucic and Kurti have now agreed that further talk is needed.
“Today’s goal was to reach agreement” on how to implement the 11-point plan, Borrell says. He spoke of “practical steps to be taken about what needs to be done, by whom and how”.
Resolving the dispute between both countries has become increasingly important recently since the outbreak of war in Ukraine. There are fears that Russia is trying to cause instability between the two Balkan countries. Serbia has traditionally maintained a good relationship with Russia.
“It is clear that both sides will benefit significantly from this agreement, because the dialogue is not just about Kosovo and Serbia. It is about the stability, security and prosperity of the entire region,” Borrell said.
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