From: Bledar Qalliu
Serbia Demands Association of Municipalities and Elections in Kosovo in Meetings with EU, US Envoys

The leaders of Serbia have demanded the EU and US envoys for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue to pressure Kosovo to establish an association of Serb-only municipalities and to allow for Serbian elections to take place in the country.

Miroslav Lajcak and Gabriel Escobar, respectively the EU and US envoys for the dialogue, are visiting Belgrade following their visit in Prishtina. This is a fresh attempt to restart the dialogue between the two countries which has stalled since July 2021. They met with President Aleksandar Vucic, Speaker of Parliament Ivica Dacic, and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic.

In a press statement, Vucic praised the EU for “ensuring an atmosphere of neutrality” in the dialogue, and slammed Kosovo’s alleged “unilateral provocations and unrealistic expectations from the dialogue mediators.”

Dacic and Brnabic asked the envoys to influence Kosovo to allow the establishment of an association of Serb-only municipalities and for Serbia’s elections to take place in the country.

Serbs in Kosovo comprise the largest of the seven ethnic minorities representing somewhere between 1.5 and 7.8 percent of the total population.

The association is a very controversial issue in Kosovo. Two agreements for its establishment were signed in 2013 and 2015 between Kosovo and Serbia under the EU’s facilitation. However, in 2015 the Constitutional Court deemed them in breach of the constitution.

The Kosovo government says they will stick to the court ruling and not allow the formation of an association with executive powers that would rival the central government.

Similarly, they say they won’t allow Serbia’s April 2022 elections to take place in their country. Ethnic Albanians living in Serbia do not vote within Serbia during the Kosovo elections.

However, these two stipulations remain Serbia’s conditions to return to the dialogue table with Kosovo.

After meeting with Lajcak and Escobar, Speaker of Parliament Ivica Dacic echoed Vucic’s vows, reiterating in a TV interview that Serbia will never recognize Kosovo, “directly or indirectly.”

Meanwhile, the two envoys stressed the joint EU-US vision for the dialogue, which should lead to a comprehensive final agreement and the implementation of all previously signed agreements, including that on the association.

As he did in Prishtina, Lajcak said that Serbia’s elections should in principle be allowed to take place in Kosovo as well.

The Kosovo government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti has attempted to establish reciprocity measures in relations with Serbia since it came to power last year.

They want the dialogue to result in Serbia recognizing Kosovo.


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