The United States is calling for the prompt finalization of “mutual recognition” between Serbia and Kosovo. Ned Price, speaking on behalf of Secretary Blinken, told The Pavlovic Today that the United States wants the “EU Proposal – Agreement on the path to normalization between Kosovo and Serbia” to eventually result in “mutual recognition.”
The upcoming round of talks between Serbia and Kosovo, scheduled to take place in Ohird in North Macedonia on March 18, 2023, will focus on implementing the European proposal agreed upon by Serbia’s President Vucic and Kosovo’s PM Albin Kurti.
The Serbian side has stated that the implementation of the Association of the Serb Majority Municipalities, a provision of the 2013 Brussels Agreement that has yet to be fulfilled, should be the first item on the agenda.
When asked by The Pavlovic Today in what order the implementation of the Association of the Serb Majority Municipalities will be addressed, Price said that the agreement on the implementation annex is essential to normalization under this EU proposal.
“Progress towards establishing the Association of Serb majority Municipalities remains critical to building Kosovo’s future as a sovereign, multi-ethnic, and independent country integrated into Euro-Atlantic structures,” said Price.
“Through the dialogue, Serbia and Kosovo, we believe, should come to a comprehensive agreement on the normalization of relations. Progress will then open the door to European integration of both countries,” he said.
Price stressed that normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is “essential to greater security, stability and prosperity” of the Western Balkans.
Blinken’s spokesperson reiterated the US support for the progress of the dialogue between President Vucic and PM Kurti, stating that while the Brussels talks that took place in late February were a positive “step forward,” difficult work remains. “We believe that normalized relations should be centered on eventual mutual recognition,” said Price.
“This is an EU-led process. The United States has supported our allies in the European Union in every way we can. We have been present for these talks. Gabe Escobar, our Deputy Assistant Secretary, has been actively engaged with the parties as well and will continue to do what we can to support this process. That, again, has moved forward in important ways, with some difficult work ahead.”
Regarding the timeline for mutual recognition and how far are we exactly from that happening, Price told The Pavlovic Today that the Biden administration wants to see the issues and tensions between Kosovo and Serbia “resolved as soon as possible” but that they cannot set a specific timeframe.
“We want these issues, these tensions between Kosovo and Serbia to be resolved at the earliest possible opportunity,” responded Price. By supporting the EU led dialog, Price said that the US will take “any steps” as a partner to Kosovo, Serbia and EU to “support the acceleration in every conceivable way of the improvement of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, but we just can’t put a timeframe on it.” Price noted that “of course,” the US wants to “see these issues resolved as soon as possible.”