Advisers to Merkel and Macron came with a special message for Kurti; Thaci disappointed with „empty promises“

Kurti - savetnici merkel i makron

Advisers to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel and French President, Emmanuel Macron, Jan Hecker and Emmanuel Bone held separate meetings today with Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, and Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci. They conveyed a „special message“ to Kurti. The visit of the German-French delegation comes at a time of increased pressure on Pristina to abolish tariffs and continue dialogue with Belgrade.

Advisers to German chancellor and the French president arrived in Pristina this morning to meet with the Kosovo president and prime minister.

Before meeting with Kurti, the German-French advisers told the media that the reason they came to Kosovo was to deliver “a special message” to Kurti, Pristina-based Koha reported.

The meeting with the Prime Minister of Kosovo was also attended by the German Ambassador to Pristina, Christian Helt.

The key message was the abolition of the 100% tariffs and the presentation of the approaches of the two most influential EU leaders – Macron and Merkel, RTK reported.

The French-German delegation then met with Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci, who soon expressed his disappointment with the meeting via Twitter.

“Disappointed. Nothing new from the meeting with envoys. Nothing on visa liberalisation, no new ideas for dialogue, no encouragement for EU perspectives. Empty promises,” Thaci tweeted.

According to Thaci, the EU should first decide on visa liberalization, and then consider whether it has “the capacity, vision and space and whether it is ready to initiate a dialogue on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.”

„They are now completely unprepared for that, let alone for reaching an agreement,“ Thaci said, adding that the EU should „respect Kosovo as an independent and sovereign state and not coordinate its decisions and opinions with the opinions of five countries that have not recognized Kosovo“.

Thaci also underlined that the dialogue should not be lead by “a representative from a country that has not recognized Kosovo and from a country that voted against Kosovo’s membership of UNESCO.”

 Just a day before meeting with the French-German delegation, Thaci said that the EU is “keeping Kosovo isolated” and punishing it by not deciding on visa liberalization.

„The EU should first make a decision on visa liberalization and then it can think about its role and can play a role in the dialogue… And if they seek the dialogue and keep Kosovo isolated, my response to them would be negative,“ Thaci said yesterday after meeting with parliamentary leaders.

The visit of international officials comes at a time of increased pressure on Pristina to abolish tariffs and continue dialogue with Belgrade. The position of Western countries on the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue differs significantly. While on the one hand, Washington is pressuring Pristina to abolish the tariffs and unlock dialogue – which, as many have already warned, should receive the final epilogue as soon as possible; on the other hand, the EU – Germany above all – only cautions that any possibility of an ethnic division of the territory should be excluded.

The vast differences in attitudes on these issues are also noticeable in the Pristina government itself. The LDK supports Washington’s stance, clearly stating that the country should not enter into conflict with Kosovo’s strongest ally. Conversely, Kurti made a decision to gradually abolish the tariffs in early March and to completely revoke them on March 15th. Kurti insists on reciprocity, setting conditions before Serbia: for it to stop the campaign on withdrawals of Kosovo’s recognition and remove trade barriers. Serbia, though ready to lift the barriers – should tariffs be completely revoked, continues with their campaign of withdrawals of recognition.



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