Serbia and Kosovo to resume talks in Brussels next week

By: AFP      Published: 09:03 PM, 9 Jun, 2021
Serbia and Kosovo to resume talks in Brussels next week

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo will resume EU-mediated talks in Brussels next week aimed at finding a solution to one of Europe's most intractable territorial disputes, an EU spokesman said Wednesday.  

The Balkan neighbours last spoke by videolink almost a year ago as part of long-running negotiations to resolve disputes still poisoning relations more than two decades after they separated in war.

Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence after the province broke away in the bloody 1998-99 conflict that was ended only by a NATO bombing campaign against Serb troops.

The meeting on Tuesday will be the first since Kosovo's left-wing reformist prime minister Albin Kurti claimed a landmark win in parliamentary elections in February pledging to take a new tack in the talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. 

"The main intention of the discussions is to discuss the way forward because we have a new partner on the Kosovo side," EU spokesman Peter Stano said. 

The EU and United States have been pushing both sides to resume the talks since the change of leadership in Kosovo

"We are expecting from both countries continued commitment to engage in this dialogue, and to implement all the past agreements and show the willingness and the necessary readiness for a compromise in order to arrive to the final, comprehensive agreement on the normalisation of relations," Stano said. 

The United States has an outsized role in Kosovo, sometimes called the most pro-American country in the world, after leading the NATO intervention that forced out Serbia.

Kosovo has been recognised by more than 100 countries but Serbia still considers the territory as its southern province, and is supported by Russia and China.