From: Bledar Qalliu
Germany Brings Kosovo, Serbia Leaders Together in Push to Revive Dialogue 

EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak has been able to have the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia come together in an informal dinner in Berlin hosted by the German government.    

“Welcome the opportunity for an informal dinner discussion about the Dialogue with Prime Minister Kurti and President Vucic in Berlin. Grateful to the German government for hosting. We will continue the discussion on the level of Chief negotiators on 13 May,” Lajcak tweeted late on Wednesday evening.

Kurti and Vucic have not met since July last year, and the dialogue has not advanced despite meetings of technical teams. 

Earlier in the day, they both had separate meetings and press conferences with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who urged both to resume the dialogue with renewed energies, while pointing out Germany’s position that it should result in mutual recognition.

“Progress in the dialogue is of enormous importance, both for securing lasting peace and stability in south-eastern Europe and with a view to the EU integration of both countries,” Scholz said after meeting with Vucic. 

The Chancellor noted that the aim of the Brussels dialogue is a comprehensive, sustainable agreement between the two countries, which opens up their EU perspective and contributes to regional stability.

“[the dialogue] is indispensabile and it will work only through agreements reached by both countries […] which naturally include what Germany has done a long time ago: the recognition of Kosovo. These topics require short-term or long-term strategies, but they should all progress rapidly,” Scholz said in the press conference with Kurti.

He called on both states to clarify open questions in dialogue. “It takes courage and determination. All commitments made must be honored. Unilateral actions and polemical rhetoric are not helpful.” He told Vucic that he was convinced that “especially in times like these, when a brutal war is being waged in our immediate vicinity, it is of central importance that both countries gradually resolve their conflict”.

Serbia struggled under EU and US pressure to vote for UN Assembly resolutions condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the country’s leadership has failed to express the same condemnation in public at home. In addition, they have vowed not to impose sanctions against Russia, resisting EU calls since the 2014 invasion of Ukraine, which have intensified recently.   

Earlier in the day, Scholz praised Kosovo’s stance regarding Ukraine.

“Kosovo, as a country with a relatively young war history, took up its position in all international forums very early on, clearly and in conjunction with it, and supports the sanctions,” he said. “That deserves great recognition,” the Chancellor added.

Kurti assured Sholz of Kosovo’s dedication to be proactive and constructive in the dialogue with Serbia by “bringing in proposals in line with EU values”.

“The dialogue must be centered around mutual recognition, i.e. not as recognition that comes at the end of a long process, but as dialogue for an agreement with mutual recognition at its core. It is our position and conviction that mutual recognition must be at the center and not at the end [of the process],” Kurti stressed.

Serbia categorically refuses to recognize Kosovo, and the issue has never been on the dialogue table since 2011.