Quinta Group: Serbia and Kosovo to urgently restart dialogue and remove obstacles, the status quo is not sustainable

Kvinta zastave
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“The status quo prevents progress on Kosovo’s and Serbia’s path towards the European Union (EU) and is simply not sustainable,” the Quinta Group wrote in a joint statement today. They called on Kosovo and Serbia to urgently restart the EU-led dialogue. Furthermore, they asked both sides to show a willingness to compromise. „For Kosovo, that means suspending the tariffs imposed on Serbia. For Serbia, that means suspending the de-recognition campaign against Kosovo,“ the Quinta Group underlined.

The governments of the Quinta Group (France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States) wrote in a joint statement that they are standing united in their “aim to see the full normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia via a comprehensive, politically sustainable, and legally binding agreement that contributes to regional stability.”

„After years of stagnation, the time has come to finally end the conflicts of the 1990s and provide a secure and prosperous future for the people of Kosovo and Serbia by negotiating in good faith an agreement that both sides can support,” they emphasized.

According to the Quinta countries, the restart of the dialogue is necessary in order to achieve “a greater Euro-Atlantic integration and its accompanying benefits.”

They also added that they are ready to step up their role in the process in support of the EU High Representative. However, they underlined that they are unable to do so until both sides show a willingness to compromise, remove obstacles and resume discussions.

For Kosovo, that means suspending the tariffs imposed on Serbia. For Serbia, that means suspending the de-recognition campaign against Kosovo.

The Quinta countries joint statement arrives at a time of political instability, but also a time of uncertainty in Pristina.

Almost a month after the resignation of Kosovo Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, a date for calling early parliamentary elections remains unknown, while there is still a possibility that a new government will be formed without any changes to the composition of the Assembly.

However, the position of the critical public is clear. If the Kosovo Assembly is dissolved at the end of August, the autumn elections in Kosovo and the spring regular elections in Serbia will delay the possibility of resuming negotiations until next spring.

On the other hand, forming a new government in Pristina by supporting the new prime minister-designate and abolishing the taxes would create conditions for the rapid resumption of negotiations, which were suspended in November of last year. Numerous announcements recently arrived that 2019 could (theoretically) be the year when an agreement would finally be reached.

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