Breakaway province has agreed to greater autonomy for its minority population, says Serbian president
Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo have made progress in normalizing relations, reaching agreement on several crucial points, President Aleksandar Vucic announced on Saturday. He said that Pristina had consented to the establishment of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (CSM) which would give greater autonomy to the Serbian population in several areas of Kosovo.
Speaking after a high-level meeting in Ohrid, North Macedonia, attended by Kosovo Prime Minister Aljbin Kurti and senior EU diplomat Josep Borrell, Vucic said that if he “didn’t sign anything today,” the parts “had made good progress in a constructive atmosphere.”
“It wasn’t D-Day, but it was a good day” he summarized.
“These few points on which we have agreed will be part of the negotiating framework of each of the parties… The European Council will assess what the implementation plan has done, which will have to be fleshed out”, Vucic said.
He stressed that Belgrade attaches great importance to the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities. “That’s why I’m really happy. It was stated that the CMS training should be started immediately, but I don’t know if Pristina will do that.
“If we want to persevere on the European path, our progress will also be appreciated in the implementation of what I have spoken to you about this evening”, added the president.
Progress was also confirmed by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. “The parties are fully committed to honoring all articles of the agreement and to implementing their respective obligations promptly and in good faith,” he tweeted.
Last month, the EU unveiled a proposal for “path to normalization” relations between Belgrade and Pristina. At the time, the bloc insisted that the two develop “good neighborly relations”, recognize each other’s documents and “start from the principle that neither can represent the other in the international sphere.”
Both parties must also “ensure an appropriate level of self-governance for the Serbian community in Kosovo”, the EU said at the time.
However, Vucic signaled that while Serbia is ready to work on implementing many points of the EU-backed plan, Kosovo’s formal recognition and membership in the UN is out of the question.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008 with the support of the United States and many of its allies. The breakaway region is not recognized by several countries, including Russia, China and Serbia itself.
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