© Reuters. Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti seems to be on as he speaks to the media, in Ohrid, North Macedonia March 18, 2023.REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
By Fatos Bytyci
OHRID, North Macedonia (Reuters) -Kosovo and Serbia have reached an settlement on implementing a European Union-backed deal to normalise ties, EU international coverage chief Josep Borrell mentioned late on Saturday, although the 2 leaders mentioned disagreements stay.
Kosovo and Serbia have been in EU-backed talks for practically 10 years since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, virtually a decade after battle ended Serbian rule. However Serbia nonetheless regards Kosovo as a breakaway province and flare-ups between the Balkan neighbours have stoked fears of a return to battle.
The settlement on Saturday got here after 12-hour talks between Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and EU officers on implementing the deal, which each side had agreed to in Brussels final month.
The 2 leaders held separate conferences with Borrell earlier than a three-way session in North Macedonia.
“Kosovo and Serbia have agreed on the implementation annex of the settlement on the trail to normalisation of relations between them,” he advised reporters after assembly each leaders within the North Macedonian city of Ohrid.
Vucic advised a information convention the events haven’t agreed on all factors.
“Regardless of variations, we had first rate dialog,” he mentioned.
Talking at a unique information convention, Kurti mentioned, “It is a de facto recognition between Kosovo and Serbia” since Serbia has not but signed the settlement.
Borrell mentioned the EU will now forcefully demand each side to fulfil obligations in the event that they wish to be part of the bloc, warning there could be penalties in any other case.
He additionally touched upon a proposed affiliation of Serb municipalities in Kosovo, which might give better autonomy to Serb majority municipalities, a protracted disputed matter.
“Kosovo has agreed to launch instantly – and when I’m saying instantly, I imply instantly – negotiations with the European Union facilitated dialogue on establishing a particular association and ensures to make sure an appropriated degree of self-management for the Serbian communities in Kosovo,” the EU high diplomat mentioned.
Within the annex on the implementation of the settlement printed on Saturday night, the EU dedicated to organising a donor convention inside 150 days to arrange an funding and monetary support package deal for Kosovo and Serbia.