“We have a deal”: Borell: Serbia and Kosovo are getting closer


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“We have a deal”
Borell: Serbia and Kosovo are getting closer

In 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. To this day, however, Belgrade considers the country a Serbian province. With the mediation of the EU, the two Balkan states now want to normalize their relations. After several hours of negotiations, an agreement seems to be emerging.

According to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Serbia and Kosovo have come close to settling their relations. “We have a deal,” said the top diplomat late on Saturday evening after twelve-hour marathon negotiations in North Macedonia’s Ohrid on the lake of the same name. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti, mediated by Borrell, reached an extensive agreement on the implementation of an agreement intended to put relations between the two hostile Balkan countries on a new footing.

At the same time, however, the two sides did not follow the “more ambitious ideas” of the EU mediators, Borrell told the media in Ohrid. He did not address the differences in content. Work will continue “until a comprehensive agreement is reached,” he added.

Kosovo, which is now almost exclusively inhabited by Albanians, seceded from Serbia in 1999 with NATO help and declared its independence in 2008. Serbia still does not recognize this. Under the new agreement, Belgrade will not recognize Kosovo under international law, but will acknowledge the statehood of its former province. In particular, it is supposed to recognize Kosovo’s passports, license plates and customs documents, which it has not done to this day. Kosovo, in turn, should institutionally secure the rights of the Serbian ethnic group in the country.

At a first meeting on February 27, both sides verbally approved the draft agreement that the EU had presented on the basis of a Franco-German proposal. On Saturday, both sides reached an extensive agreement on the specific deadlines and dates contained in the annex to implement the individual points of the agreement.

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