The West welcomes the Kosovo-Serbia agreement, doubts in both countries

The United States and the European Union welcomed the agreement on Saturday night between Kosovo and Serbia on the roadmap for the implementation of the agreement for the normalization of relations between them.

The spokeswoman of the American National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, said that “we welcome the agreement mediated by the European Union and supported by the United States for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, and we encourage both parties to start implementing their obligations as soon as possible.” theirs”.

The Ambassador of the United States in Pristina, Jeff Hovenier, distributing a post of the American envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, called the agreement important. He wrote on social networks that “the United States will provide full support for the implementation of obligations in accordance with long-term efforts to advance the security, stability and progress of the people of Kosovo and the region”.

Kosovo and Serbia agreed last night after more than 12 hours of talks mediated by the European Union on the annex to the implementation of the agreement for the normalization of relations between them. There was no document signing by the parties, but, as the head of foreign policy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, said, they have pledged to respect all the points of the European plan that they have agreed on since February 27 in Brussels.

“Kosovo has agreed to start immediately, and when I say immediately, I mean immediately, negotiations facilitated by the European Union for a specific agreement and guarantee to ensure an appropriate degree of self-management for the Serbian community in Kosovo. The parties also agreed to adopt as a matter of urgency the declaration on missing persons as negotiated within the EU-facilitated dialogue,” Mr. Borrell said.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, said last night that the agreement reached in Ohrid is “de facto recognition”, while he criticized Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for avoiding signing it.

The Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic, said on Sunday at a press conference in Belgrade that Serbia is ready to work on the implementation of the agreement, but up to its red lines. He said that he did not sign the agreement because Serbia is an internationally recognized state, while Kosovo is not.

“I don’t want to make international legal agreements with the Republic of Kosovo, as president my statements are also mandatory and for this reason I choose the words carefully which are related to the recognition of Kosovo and its admission to the United Nations Organization, this I say it even today, so that no one thinks about imposing a legal obligation on Serbia”, said President Vucic.

The non-submission of the document has raised doubts about whether the agreement can be treated as legally binding. Mr. Borrell said both documents are considered approved through his statement. The agreement, he said, will be part of the integration process of both parties in the European Union.

“And to make it very concrete, I will start work immediately to officially include the relevant amendments in Chapter 35 of the framework of negotiations between Serbia and the EU and in the agenda of the Special Group of Kosovo for Normalization. In this way, both parties will be bound by the Agreement which will be part of their path to the European Union. And we in the European Union will forcefully ask the parties to fulfill their obligations. Failure to fulfill them will bring consequences,” said Mr. Borrell.

The roadmap for the implementation of the European plan envisages that both countries are fully committed to respect all the articles of the Agreement and its Annex.

The parties have agreed to adopt the Declaration on Missing Persons, as negotiated within the dialogue mediated by the EU, as an urgent matter and the implementation of Article 7 of the plan, which foresees that Kosovo immediately start negotiations to ensure a degree of proper education for the Serbian community in Kosovo, in accordance with previous agreements.

Prime Minister Kurti said last night, speaking about the establishment of the Association of municipalities with a Serbian majority, that the seventh point of the plan is not about self-government, but about “self-management”.

Serbian President Vucic said that for Serbia it is important that the Association will be established according to the agreement reached in the talks mediated by the European Union.

The agreement was criticized by the two largest opposition parties in Kosovo, the Democratic League and the Democratic Party.

The chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo, Lumir Abdixhiku, called it fraud and the loss of a historic opportunity. He wrote on social networks that in addition, “an agreement without recognition, not final and with association plus in it is what Kurti brought to Kosovo today. This new situation, transformed as an integration obligation for the country, is irreparable”, he wrote.

The chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Memli Krasniqi, said that with last night’s agreement, Kosovo will inherit the frozen conflict with Serbia for years. “The agreement without mutual recognition, focused on an advanced association and political autonomy for the Serbian community and without guarantees for the Euro-Atlantic integration of Kosovo is a great political and national failure, which we will all pay dearly and for a long time”, he wrote.

The leaders of Kosovo and Serbia agreed on February 27 with the European Union’s 11-point plan for the normalization of relations, which is considered very important for Western diplomacy after Russian aggression in Ukraine and concerns that Russia may try to foment instability in the Balkans by using its influence its history in Serbia.

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