Top officials from the United States and the European Union ended Kosovo visit urging to resume talks on the normalization of ties between Kosovo and Serbia. The visit came after Lajcak and Palmer met in Brussels last week to talk about the Western Balkans and the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
The US and EU envoys for the EU-mediated dialogue, Matthew Palmer and Miroslav Lajčák met leaders in Pristina in an attempt to display a concerted effort to resolve the dispute between the two countries. Both envoys had a number of separate meetings with the authorities and opposition in Pristina, including President Vjosa Osmani and Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani told them that Pristina expects the dialogue with Belgrade to end in mutual recognition with full respect for territorial integrity. In a press release issued after the meeting with the American-European duo, the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Kosovo highlighted that the dialogue should be “fair, principled and in the service of the people, overall peace and security.” PM Kurti described the meeting as important particularly bearing in mind that it arrives ahead of the meeting in Brussels, scheduled to take place in mid-June. PM Kurti also underlined the joint coordination of the EU and the USA in the renewal of the political dialogue, alleging that such “cooperation and coordination was welcome and necessary“.
US Deputy Assistant of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Palmer said that United States is a partner in the dialogue.
“The US strongly supports the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia…It is not up to the US to identify compromises. It is not up even to my friend Miroslav [Lajcak]. It is up to the sides to agree on parameters of the dialogue. We are here to help and advocate. We [the US] continue to believe that mutual recognition is the right way,” Palmer said.
Since 2011, talks between the two sides have brought some progress in technical issues but not on the main political point of Kosovo’s independence. An attempt by the US in 2020 under Donald Trump to nudge matters forward foundered after Kosovo President Hashim Thaci was indicted for war crimes and had to resign abruptly.
In September 2020, under the auspices of Trump, Kosovo and Serbia signed separate cooperation agreements at the White House without EU involvement. The agreements were signed with the US, not with each other, and focused on economic rather than political issues.
Both the United States and the European Union have repeatedly said that normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo are essential for their further integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.
Serbia and Kosovo have both applied for EU membership; Kosovo is aiming for NATO membership, too.
The visit of the top US and EU officials comes ahead of a planned meeting between Kosovo and Serbia’s leaders in mid-June.
News Agencies Reports European Western Balkans, Press Release/