The future of the EU facilitated Kosovo-Serbia dialogue appears uncertain as leaders and representatives of both countries gave contradicting statements regarding its continuation.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told Euronews Serbia that there will be no dialogue with Kosovo as long as Prime Minister Albin Kurti remains in power in Prishtina.
“I am worried about Kurti’s irresponsible behavior, we will do our best to preserve peace and stability, but I am asking a few countries to help us with that, to help us reason with Kurti,” he claimed during the interview.
On the other hand, Kurti told Voice of America (VOA) that he is always willing to travel to Brussels in order to meet with Vucic and is hoping to do so by the end of August.
“We have never denied the importance of these talks, but we have said that they should be principled talks in which Kosovo is a party to the talks, and not a topic of conversation as it has been in the past,” he stated.
“Kosovo is an independent, sovereign, democratic country with clear territorial integrity, but at the same time we accept that our relations with Serbia are not normal…therefore we want the normalization of these relations…which should have the goal of a legally binding agreement focused on mutual recognition,” Kurti added.
Following the interview, Serbia’s head negotiator for the dialogue Petar Petkovic said Kurti is a liar for stating that Serbia is trying to sabotage the dialogue.
“Everything else is a futile and unsuccessful attempt to remove responsibility for the collapse of the dialogue. This is also evidenced by the refusal of his chief negotiator to meet with me in Brussels on several occasions,” he claimed.
Kosovo and Serbia have been engaged in a dialogue for the so-called normalization of relations since 2011, which has yielded poor results despite some 33 agreement signed but implemented partially and only selectively. The thorny issue of mutual recognition, vehemently opposed by Serbia, has never been on the dialogue table.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic confirmed that his government has no desire to recognize Kosovo’s independence following a European Parliament resolution on the matter.
Meanwhile, Serbia insists that Kosovo set up a Community of Serb Municipalities, a self-governing association of municipalities where a Serb majority population resides. While previous Kosovo governments had reached an agreement on this matter, in 2015, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court ruled that the agreement was unconstitutional. It stated that the association cannot have executive rights reserved exclusively for the central government.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Albin Kurti has reiterated that his government opposes the establishment of a mono-ethnic association of Serb municipalities, arguing this would lead to a dysfunctional Kosovo state.
With the most hotly contested issues not on the dialogue table, any meeting between Kurti and Vucic—even if it were to happen in the near future—is sure to end at an impasse.