The chief negotiators of Kosovo and Serbia held their first meeting since the resumption of dialogue between the two countries last month.
The talks focused on a review of the implementation of more than 30 agreements signed since the start of the dialogue in 2011.
On Wednesday, the two teams met in Brussels, following separate meetings with EU Envoy for Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak. The Kosovo team was led by Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi and the head of the Serbian delegation was Petar Petkovic, who heads a government office based in Kosovo.
In a Twitter post, Lajcak stated that “just ended two days of extensive and in-depth discussions with the two Chief Negotiators and their teams on the full range of elements of the Dialogue – past agreements, current issues and next steps in normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
“We all agreed that there is still a lot of work to be done and we will continue.”
Just ended two days of extensive and in-depth discussions with the two Chief Negotiators and their teams on the full range of elements of the Dialogue – past agreements, current issues and next steps in normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia.
– Miroslav Lajčák (@MiroslavLajcak) July 7, 2021
Both sides expressed their concerns regarding the implementation of the agreements. Kosovo noted Serbia’s non-compliance with agreements signed on issues such as border management, recognition of university degrees, recognition of dangerous goods certificates and free movement. Serbia complained about the non-implementation of an agreement by Kosovo that allows the establishment of an association of Serb-only municipalities.
The Constitutional Court found this agreement in violation of the constitution. The current government fears that an association with executive power that takes direct orders from Belgrade would constitute a state within a state, and thus could paralyze Kosovo. Instead, they want the association to have no executive powers and not to include only Serb municipalities in Kosovo.
The European Union and the United States have urged Kosovo to find ways to implement the agreement while also coming up with the Constitutional Court ruling.
The two sides also discussed the issue of missing persons. Nearly 6,000 people from Kosovo have been missing since the end of the war with Serbia in 1999.
The two leaders are expected to meet for the second time in July, following their first meeting on June 15th. Both teams discussed preparations for the meeting./ ibna