The implementation annex agreed upon by Serbia and Kosovo in Ohrid, North Macedonia, consists of twelve provisions. The Pavlovic Today asked US Deputy Assistant Secretary Gabriel Escobar on Monday about the timeline for implementing all provisions of the annex. What exactly does the future hold for the implementation annex? Serbian President Vucic’s post-meeting remarks suggest that there may be a need for future upgrades.
Responding to The Pavlovic Today, Escobar emphasized that the agreement between Serbian President Vucic and Kosovo’s PM Albin Kurti signifies the beginning of the reconciliation process between the two countries. He also emphasized that there is still much work to be done beyond the agreement.
“This agreement on normalization is the start of the reconciliation between Serbia and Kosovo. So there will be a lot of work to continue to be done,” said Escobar. “Beyond this agreement, additionally, the EU-facilitated dialogue will also continue,” he clarified. Acknowledging that “there’s a lot here” to be done, Escobar stated that “what’s important is that we have set clear markers on how the two countries are going to relate to each other going forward.”
Regarding the implementation timeline, Escobar said that it “has to start immediately” and without delay. “We are going to have to move through what was agreed on in an expedited fashion,” he stated. “And as they do, the countries will see the benefits flowing. So hopefully very soon, we’ll start announcing some new initiatives with both countries that are going to be in support of their implementation and their integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.”
While stressing the need for the implementation annex to be implemented, Escobar also noted that Kosovo is expected to fulfill “any remaining unfulfilled commitments” from the Brussels agreement. According to the Deputy Assistant Secretary, the US “is intent on making this normalization plan work.”
Esobar clarified that the agreement signed by Serbia and Kosovo is a legally binding obligation that both parties have agreed to uphold. “The messaging around the signing is really focused on something that does not materially impact the fact that we have an agreement. It is an agreement, and we are treating it as such,” concluded Escobar.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken commended the President of Serbia and Prime Minister of Kosovo for their leadership in reaching the implementation annex agreement. He emphasized the importance of fulfilling obligations under the Basic Agreement and maintaining a sustained commitment to reconciliation, which will benefit the people of both countries and hasten their paths towards European Union membership.
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