From: Exit Staff
Association of Serb Municipalities Hinders Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue  

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti has repeated his stance that the Kosov Association of Serb Municipalities (ASM) is a closed topic, and it can’t be renegotiated. This is despite warnings by the Serbian side that the dialogue would come to an end if the ASM is not discussed in the Brussels dialogue again.

“The association is a closed topic, concluded in 2013. But the dialogue will not stall because of Kosovo. We are an independent state, we have clear principles, agreed with our international friends, on the basis of which we are ready for dialogue,” Hoti stated on Thursday in Prizren, Kosovo.

It comes after EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak cancelled the meeting of technical teams scheduled for Monday, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

When he announced the meeting last week, Lajcak also mentioned that one of the parties did not agree to discuss the ASM, hence it would not be on the table.

The cancellation of the Monday meeting was followed by warnings from Serbia. “If the idea for the Association is dead, as Pristina says, then the possibility of a successful dialogue is dead,” Chief negotiator Marko Djuric stated on Tuesday.

The European Union, on the other hand, maintains that Kosovo has to establish the ASM in accordance with two agreements signed in Brussels in 2013 and 2015, and after considering a decision by the Constitutional Court of Kosovo. The latter found that the ASM envisaged in the agreements was not in line with the constitution.

“It is up to Kosovo to propose how to move forward, with the implementation of the 2013 and 2015 agreements, taking into account the opinion of the Constitutional Court,” EU spokesman Peter Stano stated on Wednesday.

Kosovo and Serbia signed the Brussels Agreement in 2013, which stipulated the establishment of the ASM. It passed the parliament with two-third of votes.

In 2015, they agreed on principles for the establishment of the ASM. In October, Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga sent the agreement to the Constitutional Court for interpretation.

In December 2015, the Constitutional Court found that 23 items of the ASM agreement were not in line with the Constitution of Kosovo.

The Kosovo government insists that the ASM is a closed topic, according to the 2013 agreement. Serbia wants it renegotiated and implemented in a short time.

As pointed out by the EU, Kosovo has yet to show how they plan to implement the 2013 agreement, while also integrating in it the 2015 Constitutional Court decision.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has warned that they would not recognize an agreement implemented according to Kosovo’s laws, possibly implying the requirements of the Constitutional Court of Kosovo for the ASM.