Global“We tried everything”: new failure of discussions between Serbia and Kosovo in...

“We tried everything”: new failure of discussions between Serbia and Kosovo in Brussels

Since the war, which ended in 1999 with NATO bombings, relations between Pristina and Belgrade have gone from crisis to crisis.

Serbia refuses to recognize the independence proclaimed in 2008 by its former province, whose population of 1.8 million inhabitants, overwhelmingly of Albanian origin, includes a Serbian community of around 120,000 people, who live mainly in northern Kosovo.

After the failure of similar discussions in June, Mr. Borrell thought he had found a way out with a compromise, the “only realistic way” to unblock the negotiations, he stressed.

The Serbian side first wishes to obtain a form of association of Serbian communities in the north, while the Kosovar side demands recognition by Belgrade of the independence of Kosovo before any discussion.

Faced with this impasse, Mr. Borrell suggested a “parallel process” implementing these two conditions set for the negotiation.

But, he lamented, the Kosovar Prime Minister was “not ready to move forward” in this direction.

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“In the end, we, as Serbia, accepted the EU compromise. Kurti refused it and the meeting ended,” said the Serbian president.

Mr. Borrell also deplored the renewed tensions in the region, calling on both parties to take “immediate measures” to bring them down.

Mr. Kurti, for his part, assured that he had only received an old document dating back “at least six months” reiterating the Serbian request in advance. “I cannot accept such a thing,” he reacted.

Northern Kosovo, where the Serb minority is concentrated, is the scene of recurring unrest. The situation there suddenly worsened in May when the Kosovar authorities decided to appoint Albanian mayors in four municipalities mainly populated by members of the Serbian community.

Mr. Borrell once again called for the resignation of these four mayors, the “best solution”, and for the organization of new elections.

At the end of May, some 90 soldiers from KFOR, the force led by NATO in Kosovo, were injured in clashes with Serbian demonstrators.

Since then, calm has returned but the situation remains particularly “unstable”, KFOR commander General Angelo Ristuccia warned on September 6.

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