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Amidst a fraught EU-mediated Dialogue meeting, Prime Minister Albin Kurti remains steadfast, rejecting selective implementation and insisting on Kosovo’s sovereignty for lasting regional peace.
Prishtina, Kosovo, – On Monday, September 18, 2023, Prime Minister Albin Kurti of Kosovo, alongside his Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Integration, held a press conference to address the recent developments following the failed EU-mediated Dialogue meeting between Prishtina and Belgrade in Brussels. Prime Minister Kurti presented a detailed account of the events and discussions that took place during the negotiations.
The EU-mediated Dialogue meetings have been ongoing for years, with the aim of resolving the long-standing issues between Kosovo and Serbia. Prime Minister Kurti began his speech by expressing his commitment to constructive dialogue and cooperation to implement the Basic Agreement between Kosovo and Serbia fully. He emphasized the principle of inclusivity, stating that every provision of the Basic Agreement and its Annex must be included in the sequenced implementation plan.
Albin Kurti, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, addressed the media in Prishtina, Kosovo, on Monday, September 18, 2023. During his press conference, Prime Minister Kurti raised concerns about what he perceived as a possible alignment between the EU’s envoy, Miroslav Lajcak, and Serbia, along with their respective interests. He hinted at a potential bias in the ongoing negotiations. (VX Photo/ Vudi Xhymshiti)
Kurti underlined that the principle of inclusivity is not unique but rather common in international agreement implementations. He pointed out that this principle is clearly stated in the Implementation Annex adopted in Ohër on March 18, emphasizing that every provision of the Basic Agreement must be enforced, and no party can obstruct any of its provisions.
In the initial bilateral meeting with EU High Representative Josep Borrell and Special Envoy Miroslav Lajčák, Prime Minister Kurti proposed a comprehensive implementation plan based on the sequenced application of every article of the Basic Agreement. He stressed the need for an agreement on the sequencing plan before moving on to discussing the specifics of Article 7, which concerns the status of the association of municipalities.
Prime Minister Kurti made it clear that such a sequencing plan should be agreed upon and that the Basic Agreement should be signed or at least deposited with the United Nations by Mr. Borrell’s office. This would provide legitimacy to the dialogue process, which has been mandated by the United Nations to mediate between Kosovo and Serbia.
However, the first meeting did not lead to a minimum understanding, as both Mr. Borrell and Mr. Lajčák insisted on sequencing the implementation of the agreement in a way acceptable to Serbia. They proposed focusing on negotiating the status outlined in Article 7 of the Basic Agreement.
Prime Minister Kurti firmly stated that such a step could not be taken without full agreement on the Sequencing Implementation Plan, especially considering that President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić had repeatedly declared that he had not accepted any agreement with Kosovo and would only implement it according to Serbia’s “red lines.” In this context, Prime Minister Kurti stressed that the first step should be a comprehensive Sequencing Plan and the signing or depositing of the Basic Agreement.
In the second trilateral meeting, which included President Vučić, Prime Minister Kurti presented a Sequencing Plan drafted by Kosovo. This plan aimed to sequence the implementation of the Basic Agreement in line with the text of the agreement itself. The plan was the first of its kind presented by Kosovo during a high-level meeting.
However, President Vučić, along with Mr. Borrell and Mr. Lajčák, reacted negatively to the proposal. They argued that the plan was unrealistic, and the only way forward was to implement Article 7 of the Basic Agreement, focusing on the association of municipalities. Prime Minister Kurti questioned which part of his sequencing plan was not in line with the Basic Agreement’s provisions, but he did not receive a clear response.
Moreover, Prime Minister Kurti inquired if Serbia had ever submitted its own sequencing plan. While Mr. Lajčák claimed that Serbia had done so, he did not provide the document for review. Only after repeated insistence, a document purportedly representing Serbia’s sequencing plan was presented.
After analyzing the document, Prime Minister Kurti discovered that it was not a recent submission but rather a proposal made before the Ohër negotiations and the adoption of the Basic Agreement. Serbia had never officially proposed any sequencing plan.
Prime Minister Kurti pointed out that the document provided by Mr. Lajčák was intended to undermine the full implementation of the Basic Agreement. The plan suggested implementing only part of the agreement, particularly the association of municipalities while excluding other vital aspects. This approach contradicted the spirit of the agreement and its commitment to full implementation.
Prime Minister Kurti firmly rejected this alternative scenario, as it would essentially mean abandoning key provisions of the Basic Agreement, which is unacceptable. He reiterated his commitment to uphold the values of the European Union, emphasizing that the Basic Agreement must be fully implemented without selective application.
In the aftermath of the meetings, Prime Minister Kurti criticized the EU mediator’s actions, accusing him of taking positions against Kosovo and the Basic Agreement itself. He expressed concern that the mediator had strayed from his role, potentially harming Kosovo’s future.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Kurti emphasized that Kosovo could not and would not accept partial implementation of the Basic Agreement. He called for a comprehensive and faithful execution of the agreement’s provisions, emphasizing that Kosovo would not compromise on its sovereignty and its commitment to European values.
The situation remains complex, with both sides seemingly at odds over the implementation of the Basic Agreement. The outcome of future dialogue sessions and the role of the EU mediator in facilitating a resolution to this longstanding issue remain uncertain. Kosovo’s leadership remains resolute in its commitment to a fully implemented Basic Agreement, which they believe is crucial for lasting peace and stability in the region.
Redaksia, diplomacia. dk nuk e merr përgjegjësinë për pikëpamjet e autorit në shkrimin e botuar!