The US State Department praised on Monday what it called tireless efforts of the Special Representative of the European Union Miroslav Lajcak in the Kosovo-Serbia talks. The comments came in response to a request by the Voice of America for a reaction about the statements of the Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti, who today accused Mr. Lajçak of bias and positions against Pristina, in last week’s meeting between the parties. Prime Minister Kurti said that he had sent letters on this issue to the main western countries while accusing Mr. Lajçak, among other things, of “distorting the process”.
In the response to the Voice of America, the DASH spokesperson did not confirm or deny whether the letter had arrived in Washington, but said that: “We (the US) remain closely engaged with Kosovo, Serbia and EU partners in the dialogue facilitated by European union. We thank and recognize the tireless efforts of the EU Special Representative, Miroslav Lajcak”. Likewise, the DASH spokesperson expressed disappointment over the lack of progress at the September 14 meeting, adding that dialogue facilitated by the EU is the only way forward for Kosovo and Serbia.
“We expect both countries to take seriously their obligations under the agreement on the road to normalization that they reached earlier this year. Time is running out. We want to see progress on existing and previous obligations based on the dialogue (facilitated by the EU) and the Ohrid agreement, including the establishment of the Association of Municipalities with a Serbian majority.” The DASH spokesperson concluded his response by adding that Washington is fully united with the Quint partner countries in supporting the dialogue process. He said the US would consult both internally and with its European partners on next steps.
On Monday, during a press conference in Pristina, the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, accused the European Union’s special envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia talks, Miroslav Lajçak, of not being “impartial” in last week’s meeting between the parties. He said that on September 14, there was a clear positioning of the mediator, against Kosovo in general and against the basic agreement in particular. “Either we will implement the basic agreement in its entirety or we cannot implement only what Serbia wants. This logic is dead and an independent Republic of Kosovo cannot, should not and will not walk on such a path”.
Prime Minister Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic disagreed last week on steps to implement the agreement to normalize relations, but European officials said it was Prime Minister Kurti who did not accept a proposal for “simultaneous fulfillment” of obligations. arising from the agreement reached in Brussels and Ohrid. Prime Minister Kurti announced that he has sent letters to the main capitals of Western countries to clarify the last meeting and accused Mr. Lajçak of “distorting the process by not focusing on the full and detailed, immediate and unconditional implementation of the basic agreement and the annex implementing, but allowing the cart to be put before the horse, the Association of Municipalities once and then we see”.
The leaders of the two countries met in Brussels amid high tensions and calls from Western diplomats to avoid actions that could trigger a renewal of violence in the region. Tensions erupted at the end of May, when the Albanian mayors of the northern municipalities who emerged from the April 23 elections boycotted by the Serbs, were sent to the municipal offices with the support of the police. The European Union seeks to reduce tensions through a plan that foresees the suspension of police operations in the north, the relocation of mayors to alternative offices and the announcement of early elections with the unconditional participation of Kosovo Serbs./VOA
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