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European Union to press the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to set a long time of enmity behind them

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The European Union is ramping up political strain on Serbia and Kosovo to normalize their relations

ByThe Related Press

October 26, 2023, 6:15 AM

On this photograph offered by the Serbian Presidential Press Service, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, third proper, welcomes Italian diplomat Alessandro Cattaneo, left, French President’s Advisor Emmanuel Bonne, second left, European Union envoy Miroslav Lajcak, third left, US Deputy Assistant Secretary Gabriel Escobar, second proper, and German Chancellor’s Advisor Jens Plettner, proper, in Belgrade, Serbia, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. The envoys of the European Union and the US urged on Saturday Kosovo and Serbia to renew dialogue as the one approach to de-escalate the hovering stress between the 2 nations. That is the primary such go to since Sept. 24 when round 30 Serb gunmen crossed into northern Kosovo, killing a police officer and organising barricades, earlier than launching an hours-long gun battle with Kosovo police. (Serbian Presidential Press Service through AP)

The Related Press

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BRUSSELS — The European Union is ready to ramp up strain on Serbia and Kosovo to normalize their relations by enlisting the leaders of three heavyweight member nations and senior officers to make a serious push to get the previous warfare foes to put aside a long time of variations.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Albin Kurti mistrust one another and usually are not more likely to meet nose to nose. However they’re on account of maintain talks individually with the leaders of France, Germany and Italy, plus the 2 EU officers supervising a stuttering “dialogue” between them.

The conferences in Brussels come on the sidelines of an EU summit. Fears are excessive of a resumption of the violence that characterised their ties throughout a 1998-99 warfare and since Kosovo unilaterally broke away from Serbia in 2008. Belgrade nonetheless considers Kosovo a Serbian province and has by no means acknowledged its independence.

Each Kosovo and Serbia wish to be a part of the EU, however they’ve been warned that they need to kind out their variations first.

The Europeans have been spurred into motion by a serious gun battle in northern Kosovo on Sept. 24, when about 30 Serb gunmen crossed into northern Kosovo, killed a police officer and arrange barricades. Three gunmen have been killed within the shootout with Kosovo police.

Thursday’s talks are aimed toward placing into motion an settlement that Vucic and Kurti reached in February, though the 2 have raised points regarding that deal since. The thought is to work on new “proposals and concepts” floated in exploratory talks final weekend, stated Peter Stano, spokesman for EU international coverage chief Josep Borrell, who supervises the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.

“I hope for ambiance, however it gained’t be straightforward,” Vucic informed Serbian state tv community RTS on the eve of the conferences. “We’re most definitely open for dialogue, and they’re knocking on an open door.”

The massive downside is that neither he nor Kurti wish to be the primary to make concessions with out ensures that the opposite will reciprocate.

The EU and U.S. are urgent Kosovo to permit the creation of an Affiliation of the Serb-Majority Municipalities to coordinate work on training, health care, land planning and financial growth in communities of northern Kosovo largely populated by ethnic Serbs.

Kurti fears such an affiliation can be a step towards making a Serb mini-state with broad autonomy.

The very last thing the Europeans need is extra battle of their yard. The warfare between Serbia and Kosovo left greater than 10,000 folks {dead}, largely Kosovo Albanians.

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