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Kosovo leaders tell Lajcak they will not discuss Association with Serbia

For some time now, the European Union has been announcing continuation of discussions between Kosovo and Serbia, first at the level of coordinators and then at the level of leaders. The meeting announced at the end of September was postponed due to Kosovo’s refusal to discuss the Association of Serb Municipalities.

The two parties negotiating a peace agreement have failed to agree on the issue of the Association. In the last meeting at the level of coordinators, Serbia insisted that this topic be discussed but it was rejected by Kosovo.

The stagnation of this phase of discussions made the EU special envoy for the dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, pay a visit to the Western Balkans. He will try to persuade Kosovo to return to talks for a final solution.

Since Serbia has conditioned the dialogue with the discussion on this topic, while Kosovo is saying the opposite, until tomorrow when Lajcak will address the media, it is not known if a solution that would unblock the talks has been found.

Based on what state leaders are saying, Kosovo remains united in terms of the Association.

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti yesterday after the meeting with Lajcak assured the media that there will be no talks about an association with executive powers.

“This is not an easy process; there are difficult topics such as the Association and other topics, but we will approach all of them based on clear principles that have been made known to the assembly and citizens,” he said. “After two years of stagnation of the dialogue and inability to move forward the process of relations between our two countries, we managed to meet and discuss the final agreement on the normalization of relations. During this process we must deal with difficult topics, that is why we are here. The Association is a closed topic with the agreement of 2013 that was ratified in the Assembly. There is also the agreement of principles in 2015 and the opinion of the Constitutional Court on this matter. We have all the guarantees and the support of our partners that this Association will not have executive competencies.”

Yesterday, the Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani also met Lajcak. She said after the meeting that no final agreement that could be reached with Serbia but is not acceptable to the Assembly, will be ratified.

The most reserved in statements on the issue of the Association and if this topic was discussed with Lajcak was President Hashim Thaci after the meeting they had today.

In a statement to the media, Thaci spoke about the final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, saying that this was the main topic of talks with Lajcak.

“Our conversation was correct, constructive, open and friendly about opportunities to reach a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia that would mean mutual recognition and the possibility for Kosovo to join the UN,” he said.

Prior to his visit to Kosovo, Lajcak was clear about the message he is expected to bring to the country. He opposed those who are saying that now is not the time for the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities.

“When, if not now? You have signed the agreement,” he said in an interview for Wiener Zeitung while commenting on the current process of dialogue between the two countries.

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