EU warns of consequences for Serbia, Kosovo

The EU warned Kosovo and Serbia of consequences if the two sides do not agree to normalize relations according to a proposal of the international community.

Envoys of the European Union (EU), the United States, Germany, France and Italy last week met the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to persuade the parties to sign an 11-point agreement to reduce bilateral tensions, which have lasted since the conflict. conflicts in 1998-1999.

“The international community will react accordingly. We will support one side more, reduce support for the other side,” EU envoy for Serbia-Kosovo dialogue Miroslav Lajcak told the channel. Klan Kosova TVPristina headquarters, January 25, when asked about the case where one party does not accept the agreement.

According to Mr. Lajcak, if both sides refuse, they will lose economic, political and investment support from the West.

“In March, we will know if the situation has progressed or not. If not, we will know the reason and who is responsible,” Mr. Lajcak added. “We’re all part of the international community. It’s important to be seen as part of the solution or the problem, because it will determine how the international community treats you.”

EU Envoy for the Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue Miroslav Laicak in Vienna, Austria, June 18, 2021.  Photo: Reuters

EU Envoy for the Serbia-Kosovo Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak in Vienna, Austria, June 18, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Kosovo has an area of ​​​​about 10,800 km2, is a breakaway territory located in southwestern Serbia, with a majority of the population is Albanian. The region declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 with Western backing, following the 1998-1999 war in which NATO intervened to protect Albanian groups.

Most Western countries recognize Kosovo’s independence, but the breakaway region has not been given a seat at the United Nations, due to objections from Russia and China.

Kosovo has about 1.8 million inhabitants. Some recent estimates suggest that around 50,000 Serbs live in northern Kosovo. The group does not recognize the government in Pristina, instead being politically loyal to Serbia, which still provides them with financial support.

Kosovo leader Albin Kurti said the 11-point peace plan could be accepted if it didn’t include a 2013 EU-brokered deal approved before he took office. The 2013 deal allowed for the establishment of semi-autonomous communities with the Serb majority in Kosovo, a move Mr. Kurti said would affect Kosovo’s sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic did not mention the possibility of Belgrade approving the plan. He only said there would be “economic and political” losses if links with the EU were lost.

Mr. Vucic said that the envoys had warned that Serbia would suffer if it worked with Kosovo to resolve its differences. Under the plan, Serbia would not be required to recognize Kosovo’s independence but could not lobby to block Kosovo’s participation in international organisations.

Location Serbia and Kosovo.  Graphics: BBC

Location Serbia and Kosovo. Graphics: BBC

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