The international community on the agreement, leaders in BG and PR have their own versions of the story

Vučić Kurti Borelj
FOTO: JosepBorellF/ Twitter

The President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti held a meeting in Brussels this Monday a part of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue process. After the meeting, it was announced that the parties agreed that „no further talks are needed“ regarding the European proposal and its 11 articles – whose full content was published that same evening under the name „Agreement on the Path to Normalization Between Kosovo and Serbia.“ Furthermore, they announced another meeting in March to discuss the finalization of the second part of the agreement – the Implementation Annex.

Although this statement sparked confusion in the public, given that it could not be published as a direct acceptance of the so-called Basic Agreement, along with the statements of both Vucic and Kurti from Brussels that the agreement had not been signed, the talks in Brussels were partly interpreted as an agreement with its content.

Moreover, Borrell said on Monday evening that the parties will deal with “determining the modality of implementing the provisions of the agreement,” and further negotiations will entail only details as to how agreement will be implemented.

On Thursday, a group of US senators congratulated the Kosovo and Serbian governments on reaching the Interim Agreement on Normalization, noting that the two leaders must now meet to in order to agree on how it should be implemented.

After returning from Brussels, however, both Aleksandar Vucic and Albin Kurti commented on the EU proposal in terms of their internal policy in a somewhat different tone than the one used in Brussels and Washington.

The following day, the Serbian President said during a guest appearance on RTS, while commenting on the article of the proposal calling on Serbia not to oppose Kosovo’s membership in international organizations, that he would not support Kosovo’s membership in the United Nations.

„I’m not going to enforce the UN membership or anything like that.“

The text of the agreement, article 4, states: “The Parties proceed on the assumption that neither of the two can represent the other in the international sphere or act on its behalf. Serbia will not object to Kosovo’s membership in any international organization.”

During the same interview, Vucic also underlined that he repeatedly told Macron, Scholz, Lajcak, Borrell, and everyone in the assembly that he would not participate in the implementation of certain elements.

„As long as I am the President of the Republic, I will not accept formal or informal recognition of Kosovo, nor entry into the UN, and you see what you will do after I’m no longer in power,” Vucic said.

Shortly after, Vucic’s statement was criticized in Pristina. Kurti pointed out that the Serbian president started violating the latest agreement not even a week after it was discussed.

Although he critiqued Vucic, the Kosovo Prime Minister himself indicated a negative attitude toward the second part of the agreement only four days later. Admittedly, this is the part for which the two leaders have not yet „agreed that it is no longer necessary to consider its content“.

Kurti also found himself the target of criticism yesterday during a session of the Kosovo Assembly. Opposition leaders accused him of agreeing to the content of the proposal, even though Article 7, the only one that concerns the Kosovo Serb community, actually stipulates the definitive formation of the Association of Serb-majority Municipalities.

The “disputed” seventh article of the proposal states that both parties commit to establishing specific arrangements and guarantees, in accordance with relevant Council of Europe instruments and by drawing on existing European experiences, to ensure “an appropriate level of self-management for the Serbian community in Kosovo and ability for service provision in specific areas, including the possibility for financial support by Serbia and a direct communication channel for the Serbian community to the Government of Kosovo.”

„To conclude, the Association was passed here in the Assembly. The association shall not come to be, not according to the court, or the people, the prime minister, or the government, but it was passed here with you,“ Kurti told the opposition MPs.

He singled out the „inherited obligations“ as a problematic part of the proposal, which, as he claimed, were imposed on him by the current opposition and the former government.

Several years ago, Vucic sent similar messages from Belgrade, accusing the former government of establishing the border at Jarinje, as well as taking dialogue on Kosovo out of the hands of the UN and handing it over to the European Union, and as a final blow to Serbia, contributing the decision of the International Court of Justice on the status of Kosovo.

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