Serbia agrees to consider Western proposal on Kosovo

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic discussed the issue of his country’s autonomous province of Kosovo and Metohija on Friday with representatives of the EU, the US, France, Germany and Italy in an attempt to resolve the frozen conflict between Belgrade and Pristina amid frequent tensions in the province.

The meeting here was attended by the EU Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak, the US’ Deputy Assistant Secretary overseeing policy towards the countries of the Western Balkans Gabriel Escobar, the advisors on foreign and security policy to the French President and German Chancellor, Emmanuel Bonne and Jens Plettner, respectively, and the diplomatic adviser to the Prime Minister of Italy, Francesco Talo.

“What we agree on is that a frozen conflict is not a solution and that when you have a frozen conflict, it is only a matter of time when someone will unfreeze it and when irresponsible individuals will collapse the peace and stability of the entire Western Balkans,” Vucic said after the meeting, according to the statement of the President’s office.

In 2022, the fragile dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina was interrupted by tensions around the validity of Serbian identity documents, travel documents and license plates, which resulted in Serbs quitting Kosovo’s institutions and protests, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Serbian President expressed Serbia’s willingness to consider the “plan proposed in September 2022” in light of “problems and challenges that would be put before our country if we did not agree with the proposed plan”.

According to the version leaked to the media, the aim of the proposed plan is to achieve “full normalisation” of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

“We are ready to accept the concept and work on the implementation of the proposed plan, with the fact that I made one thing very clear and showed all care and reserve on one important issue,” Vucic said, without fully disclosing his concern.

Vucic added that consultations will be held “with members of government, members of parliament and all significant social groups” regarding the proposed plan.

Lajcak said that the meeting was “intensive and open,” and that Vucic demonstrated a responsible approach and will to make difficult decisions in the interest of peace and the European perspective for Serbia.

Lajcak added that the “plan presented in September is the best way to normalise relations between Belgrade and Pristina and the European integration of the region”.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province.

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