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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Serbian president refuses to sign international documents with Kosovo

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said Belgrade was committed to normalizing relations with Pristina, but would not sign any legally binding international document with Kosovo because Serbia does not recognize its independence.

The announcement comes a day after Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said on Saturday that the verbal agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, reached after a 12-hour meeting, constituted “de facto recognition” of the autonomy of Kosovo.

Recall that on Saturday, Vucic and Kurti agreed to take steps to normalize relations during a meeting with EU representatives, although no documents were signed.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Serbia and Kosovo were unable to agree on a plan to normalize relations because it did not correspond to a “more ambitious” proposal. and detailed” of the EU. According to him, Kosovo did not have enough flexibility on the substance of the proposals, and Serbia refused to sign the document, while Belgrade was “fully ready to implement it”.

“Serbia wants to have normal relations with Kosovo. We want to travel, we want to do business, you can’t live isolated behind 100-meter walls,” Vučić told reporters on Sunday.

Serbia is seeking to join the EU, and one of the conditions for membership is the normalization of relations with Kosovo, which declared its independence in 2008 but which Belgrade does not recognize.

“Last night I didn’t want to sign either the appendix on the implementation of the agreement or the EU-backed agreement (discussed in Brussels last month), Vučić told reporters. “I don’t want to sign any legally binding international document with Kosovo because Serbia does not recognize its independence.”

Under the terms of the verbal agreement, Kosovo pledged to grant greater autonomy to Serb-majority areas, and Serbia agreed not to interfere with Kosovo’s membership of international organizations. The EU has promised to organize a donors’ conference for the two countries, with the allocation of financial assistance depending on measures to improve relations.

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